For Women: Ten tips for healthy living

1. Make sure to get your annual visits. Pap smears, mammograms, STD testing — they are all important and can identify serious health issues.

2. Find out your Body Mass Index — calculated by your height and weight — using a BMI calculator and learn how to aim for healthy weight.

3. Make health a family priority. Teach your children basic safety measures (like wearing a helmet and washing your hands) and make sure they get their annual  well-child visits.  Make sure your partner is Prepare for emergencies (like hurricanes).

4. Take folic acid. Doctors recommend 400 micrograms per day. To get this important vitamin that can help prevent defects of the brain and spine, take a multivitamin (check the labels) and eat foods like leafy vegetables and whole grains.

5. Practice safe sex to avoid STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Learn more about the different contraceptive methods and which best suits your lifestyle.

6. Develop a Reproductive Life Plan. Are you thinking about having a baby? If the answer is yes, then now’s the time to start planning and preparing. When you and your partner do to get ready even before you get pregnant will help your baby get the best start possible.

7. Get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Many women get less than seven hours per night; often life and hormonal changes can affect sleep.  A good night’s sleep will help your body rest and allow you to better prepare for the day.

8.  Good health encompasses more than just physical health —  mental health is just as important. The CDC recommends these tips for staying mentally healthy: 1. Get support from family and friends. 2. Find time to take care of yourself and relax. 3. Have a healthy lifestyle, with regular exercise. For women who just had a baby, learn the signs of postpartum depression and find resources to help.

9. Quit smoking. A smoke-free life will improve your health and can also impact your family: Smoking during pregnancy is linked to low birth weight and other poor birth outcomes, while babies who are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke are at an increased risk for a sleep-related death and developing diseases like asthma. Visit the Quit Smoking Now — First Coast website for more information or to sign up for classes. Any person living in Florida who smokes can also call the QuitLine: 1.877.U.CAN.NOW

10. Always remember how important it is to take care of yourself, for both you and your family. Pledge to make your health a top priority for a longer, healthier and happier life!