Preparing for Pregnancy

Chinese paramilitary police close off the roads to a hospital where the injured are kept after riots in Urumqi, western China's Xinjiang province, Monday, July 6, 2009. Police sealed off streets in parts of the provincial capital, Urumqi, after discord between ethnic Muslim Uighur people and China's Han majority erupted into riots. Witnesses reported a new, smaller protest Monday in a second city, Kashgar.
AP Photo/Ng Han Guan
When a couple becomes pregnant, the responsibility usually rests on the mother to maintain a healthy lifestyle to insure the baby is healthy. But doctors have found just like the mother, the father can also affect the baby's health, even before conception. So they're recommending that couples thinking about having a baby put their plans on hold for three to six months to prepare their bodies for a healthy conception that can significantly decrease the chance of birth defects and give the baby the best chance for a healthy start in life.

CBS News Up to The Minute anchor Melissa McDermott discussed the Preconception Checklist for potential parents with Dr. F. Sessions Cole. Dr. Cole is the Director of the Division of Newborn Medicine at St. Louis Children's Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. He is an expert in neonatal care and one of several physicians to identify the genetic defect that causes a fatal lung disorder. That knowledge led to a way to test for the disorder in newborns.


1) Control your weight.
2) Stop smoking, avoid second-hand smoke
3) Stop drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs.
4) Discuss prescription drugs with doctor
5) Start taking pre-natal vitamins
6) Check out your immunity to Rubella, German Measles and Chicken Pox
7) Find out your HIV and Hepatitis B status
8) Know your blood type.
9) Know your family history.


1) Stop smoking, avoid second-hand smoke.
2) Stop drinking alcohol and taking recreational drugs.
3) Discuss prescription drugs you're taking with doctor
4) Discuss your workplace toxic exposure risk(s) with doctor.
5) Know your HIV status and Hepatitis B status.
6) Know your blood type
7) Know your family history.