Q&A Topic: How to Prepare for a Healthy Pregnancy

Dhruti Mehta, MD

Q: What inspired you to work with pregnant women? What’s the best part of your job?

A: My job offers me the unique opportunity to counsel and guide women through all stages of their lives. Pregnancy is a unique experience for first time moms—and even seasoned moms, since each pregnancy is unique. To be a part of this exciting and positive moment in my patients’ lives is truly an honor. 

Q: What are the biggest myths about how to have a healthy pregnancy?

A: Women often ask me how much weight they should gain in pregnancy. Contrary to what you might read on the internet, there is no right exact number. Pregnant women should not feel that they need to "eat for two." Listen to your body. Make smart, healthy choices. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and limit sugar, fried foods and processed foods. Also, incorporating a moderate exercise routine of 150 minutes a week will facilitate a healthy pregnancy.

Q: What vitamin and mineral supplements do you generally recommend?

A: Pregnant women should take a folic acid supplement of 800 mcg daily. A prenatal vitamin with DHA is the most ideal, and it’s best to start this supplement prior to conception. 

Q: What can the mother’s partner do to support a healthy pregnancy?

A: Partners should be involved in the pregnancy as much as possible. They can support the pregnancy emotionally and start a relationship with the baby in utero! Find constructive ways to contribute—for instance, by organizing the house, painting the baby’s room, helping with finances and just being present emotionally. If you have children already—particularly young kids who need a lot of physical care—provide assistance, especially during the late stages of pregnancy.

Q: Are there any books, guides, videos or other resources you typically recommend to patients? Why?

A: I recommend patients reach out to their physicians for educational material. Books like Dr. Harvey Karp’s The Happiest Baby on the Block offer useful ideas about how to soothe newborns. Websites that track the growth of the baby can also be quite informative, and they can give women information on what to expect each week. It’s fun to connect with communities of moms-to-be who are due almost exactly when you are and to track your collective progress together. However, ask your doctor—and not the web—when you have medical questions about your pregnancy!

Dr. Mehta is on staff at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital and practices with NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Group Westchester in Scarsdale.

ColumbiaDoctors Obstetrics and Gynecology
696 White Plains Road
Scarsdale, NY 10583