As mothers juggle many responsibilities, we often forget to take care of ourselves. But moms cannot afford to get sick, and the best way to stay healthy is through prevention, early intervention, and management of chronic conditions. That’s why an annual checkup is so important.

Dr. Stuart Pickell, internal medicine doctor and pediatrician of the Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, says taking care of yourself is imperative for staying healthy. It also sets a good example for your children. Wellness exams are essential to monitor your health. Moreover, regular checkups and preventive screenings will tackle potential health issues before they get out of hand. Additionally, annual checkups also strengthen the patient-doctor relationship and foster a deeper knowledge of your health history and needs. Furthermore, greater damage and complications from chronic diseases can be managed with early intervention.

What to Expect in Your 20s & 30s
• Physical Exam
• Blood Pressure Screening
• Cholesterol Test
• Breast Exam
• Pap Test
• STD Screening

What to Expect in Your 40s
All of the above, plus:
• Eye Exam
• Mammogram

What to Expect in Your 50s & Beyond
All of the above, plus:
• Bone Density Screening
• Colonoscopy

Read Related: The 5 Health Tests You Must Have This Year (For Real!)

Throughout your life, you should follow a healthy lifestyle. Diet, exercise, effective stress management, and reproductive healthcare should all be part of your routine. Also, in your 40s (or earlier if you have symptoms), you should have screenings for your thyroid function, especially if you experience fatigue, weight-gain, hair loss, depression, anxiety, and feeling cold or hot for no apparent reason. Cardiovascular health should always be monitored and early detection of things like lumps in the breasts may save your life; hence do self-breast exams.

You cannot be too busy to schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. If you don’t have a primary care provider yet, check with your health insurance for a list of physicians in your network. If you don’t have health insurance, find out about free health screenings available in all states and major cities throughout the country.

Remember, the best remedy against disease is prevention. Stay healthy by cutting down on simple carbs such as sugars and refined grains, drink adequate amounts of water, limit alcohol and soft drink intake, quit smoking, manage stress, get enough restorative sleep, and visit the doctor at least once a year.