Thinking about having a baby can be exciting and overwhelming. You want to have all the information you need – before your pregnancy – to make the best decisions for your future family.

That’s where VA can help.

VA can help you make the best decisions for your future family

VA has a number of resources, including comprehensive health, mental health and fertility care to help you as you plan for pregnancy.

Take the first step

Schedule a visit with your VA primary care provider to get started today. It’s never too early to discuss your goals with your providers. They can make sure you are up-to-date with routine tests, discuss your current health, and create a birth control plan that best fits your timeline.

Medications and pregnancy

Your health care provider will review any medications you may be taking and discuss their risks and benefits. Many medications are safe to take before and during pregnancy and lactation.

However, some medications may negatively impact the embryo or fetus. If you are taking any medications, your provider will review them and discuss the risks and benefits of each medication with you. Your provider also will work with your mental health care provider to determine the best treatment for you and your pregnancy.

VA is one of the few health care systems in the country using integrated technology to track your prescriptions to ensure you are not given medications that may be harmful before or during pregnancy or lactation.

Radiation from X-rays, CT scans and other medical treatments can also impact your developing fetus. It is important to notify your provider immediately if you are trying to become pregnant or may be pregnant.

Your current health is important

Forming healthy habits is one of the best actions you can take right now to support a healthy pregnancy. A healthy pregnancy begins long before you get pregnant. VA can help you create and maintain healthy habits:

  • Avoid smoking and smoke-filled areas.
  • Exercise. Work up to 10,000 steps per day.
  • Eat a nutritious diet and incorporate prenatal vitamins. Prenatal vitamins are available at VA.
  • Practice mindfulness and reduce stress in your life, which can also help conception.
  • Seek mental health support and treatment as needed, as an individual or as a couple.
  • Begin substance use treatment if needed.
  • Work with your partner to ensure that they are also at their best health.

If you don’t have a VA health care provider, or if you have questions about VA health care services for women Veterans, call, text or chat online with our Women Veterans Call Center at 855-829-6636.

For more information, listen to Transforming Care for Women at VA or Maternal Health podcasts.

Begin your journey to a healthy pregnancy with VA because a healthy pregnancy begins with a healthy you.

By Dr. Sally G. Haskell is deputy chief officer for Clinical Operations and director of Comprehensive Women’s Health

Share this story

Published on Apr. 13, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.4 min.

Views to date: 560

More Stories

  • Housebound Veterans are winners when they combine virtual and in-home health care visits. Susan Gallagher receives hybrid care, both virtual and in-person.

  • In 2022, VA set a goal to house 38,000 homeless Veterans. With only a few months to go, how are we doing?

  • Under the PACT Act, Vietnam era, Gulf War era, and Post-9/11 Veterans have extended eligibility for VA health care.