(CNN) – For many mothers, a complicated pregnancy is unavoidable.
However, there are ways to minimize your chances of having one.
Brittany Pope’s first pregnancy began like any other pregnancy, until she started having contractions at only 23-weeks.
After a tough delivery, her baby daughter spent 16 weeks in the hospital before she was able to go home.
“We really describe it as a roller coaster ride,” Pope said.
The chances of having a complicated pregnancy can be reduced by making a few lifestyle changes.
“You know, you want to avoid things like smoking leading up to a pregnancy, excessive alcohol intake, certainly drug use, illicit drug use. Meeting with a dietitian who can review your eating habits and try to tweak them so that you can become healthier and more fit prior to pregnancy. You can also start physical activity and it doesn’t have to be a lot, it can be things just like walking or dancing around the room,” said Stacey Ehrenberg, MD, Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist, University Hospital Cleveland.
Even though Pope maintained a healthy lifestyle, complications still occurred, but with the close care of a trained medical team, a safe delivery is possible.
“Although it’s not ideal to have a premature baby, I knew that she was going to be okay,” said Pope.