Some strategies recommended for prospective mothers are as follows: * reviewing all medications to assess their potential danger to the fetus. * getting tested for diabetes, the human immuodeficiency virus (HIV) or AIDS, hepatitis, high blood pressure, and thyroid disorders. * undergoing a general physical examination, including a Pap smear. * beginning folic acid supplementation, at least 400 micrograms (meg.) a day, to prevent certain birth defects. * getting counseling to establish a healthful diet and exercise program. * stopping smoking and drinking alcohol. * avoiding dangerous chemicals at work and rodent or feline feces at home.