What Should I Do Prior to Getting Pregnant?

Medically Reviewed on 5/10/2022
What should I do prior to getting pregnant?
Prepare for pregnancy by making the 15 following lifestyle changes to ensure you stay healthy while pregnant.

You may start making healthier choices to prepare your body for pregnancy. Preconception care is a fantastic approach to ensure that your pregnancy is as healthy as possible.

You may not be pregnant yet, but getting a full preconception checkup is the best approach to care for your future pregnancy.

  • A comprehensive checkup during your pregnancy planning will make it easier to address health concerns before the infant arrives.
  • Taking steps to enhance your health before and after getting pregnant will increase your chances of having a healthy child.

Planning ahead of time can help you have a healthy pregnancy and infant now or in the future.

15 preconception tips for healthy pregnancy

Fifteen preconception tips for a healthy pregnancy include:

  1. Work on your weight:
    • Carrying extra pounds may make it more difficult to conceive. Women who are overweight are less likely to ovulate regularly.
    • Obesity can result in an aberrant hormonal profile, which can impair fertility.
    • Excess weight can affect insulin sensitivity, affect egg development even more, and increase the risk of miscarriage and pregnancy-related problems such as preeclampsia, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cesarean delivery.
    • In addition, underweight women may experience difficulty conceiving. Being underweight during pregnancy may cause complications such as low-birth-weight babies, fetal growth restriction, and a high risk of miscarriage. 
    • Because it might take months to lose or gain weight the healthy way through the right food and exercise, start your efforts at least six months before attempting to conceive.
  2. Abstain from alcohol:
    • Alcohol stimulates the generation of free radicals, which can inhibit egg production. It doesn't take much liquor to harm while you're carrying a baby.
    • Fetal alcohol syndrome can occur even if you drink in moderation during pregnancy.
    • Alcohol has a negative influence on embryo and fetal development in the early stages.
    • If you're trying to conceive, avoid alcohol totally because you might be pregnant way before you realize it.
  3. Give up smoking:
    • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking during pregnancy can damage the fetus and increase the likelihood of pregnancy problems. However, it makes it more difficult to become pregnant in the first place.
    • When you get pregnant, smoking reduces the quantity of oxygen accessible to the fetus and obstructs blood flow across the placenta, resulting in low birth weight and potentially miscarriage or stillbirth.
    • Avoid cigarette smoke exposure, whether active or passive smoking.
  4. Consider preconception appointment:
    • A preconception appointment is a visit with your healthcare provider (general practitioner, obstetrician-gynecologist, or midwife) during which you can get answers to all of your questions about fertility, getting pregnant, the early stages of pregnancy, and anything else you need to know based on your medical history.
    • This session guarantees you're obtaining medically correct information from a reliable source, as well as the opportunity to discuss anything you need additional information about or don't completely understand. 
    • In a preconception appointment, not every healthcare professional will discuss the same topics. Feel free to ask questions about anything you'd want to learn more about.
  5. Preconception checkup:
    • A pre-pregnancy checkup comprises a series of tests that your doctor may do on you and your partner to confirm that you are both clear of conditions that might jeopardize your chances of becoming pregnant or cause any pregnancy-related complications. 
    • Based on the findings of these tests, your doctor will give you recommendations for things such as exercise, nutrition, lifestyle, and supplements.
    • They will advise you to quit certain behaviors, such as smoking and drinking alcohol, to have a safe pregnancy, and have a healthy kid.
  6. Track your period:
    • Tracking your menstrual cycle can help you know when you are most likely to get pregnant.
    • The usual cycle is 28 days, with ovulation occurring 14 days after your period begins although these figures can vary greatly depending on the woman. 
    • If your cycle is shorter than 21 days, longer than 35 days, or changes dramatically from month to month, it might be a sign of ovulation problems, which could reduce your chances of getting pregnant. 
    • However, don't panic, talking with your doctor can help you figure out the best possible solutions.
  7. Figure out exactly when you're ovulating:
    • Some individuals only take this step if they are still having difficulty conceiving after a year of trying because it increases concerns about infertility.
    • Others want to get started as soon as they decide to have a kid. Either way is fine.
    • The good news is that no matter what you select, there are a plethora of techniques to track your ovulation and determine when you're most likely to conceive, such as testing your basal body temperature or purchasing an ovulation kit.
    • Because sperm may survive in the female body for three to five days, having intercourse a few days before ovulation, on the day of ovulation and the day following can help increase the chances of pregnancy.
  8. Start taking prenatal vitamins:
    • Prenatal vitamins will not increase your fertility, but they will ensure that you are well-nourished for a good pregnancy. Important prenatal vitamins for your pregnancy include:
      • Folic acid and choline: A common prenatal supplement is very critical for the growth of the fetus. It helps avoid neural tube defects, which is an issue with spine fusion that can result in paralysis and other long-term difficulties. The neural tube forms within the first several weeks of pregnancy, often before a woman even knows that she is pregnant.
      • Vitamin D: It is essential for fertility and healthy pregnancy, so you may want to have your vitamin D level checked when you start trying to conceive. Consult with your doctor to determine a regimen that is best for you.
      • Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) for egg quality: CoQ10 is essential for energy synthesis in all cells of the body, including egg cells. Meat, poultry, and fish are good sources of CoQ10.
      • Inositol: Numerous studies have reported that inositol promotes healthy menstrual periods and ovarian function. Research has revealed that inositol may help maintain good egg and embryo quality and promote a healthy pregnancy. Inositol is naturally created by your body and may be found in fruits, beans, grains, and nuts.
    • Apart from the above, doctors may recommend other prenatal vitamins during your preconception and post-conception appointments.
  9. Monitor your blood pressure:
    • If you already have high blood pressure or have had high blood pressure during a prior pregnancy, you must do all possible things to manage it before becoming pregnant.
    • High blood pressure affects up to 15 percent of all pregnancies and, unfortunately, can contribute considerably to the baby and mother's death.
    • During pregnancy, be sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly by your healthcare professional.
    • You may need to take medication to control your blood pressure during pregnancy. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding blood pressure monitoring and treatment.
  10. Be active:
    • Being at a healthy weight can improve your chances of conceiving, and regular exercise can help you control your weight before trying to conceive. 
    • Prenatal exercise can help you and your baby avoid some issues.
    • Women who exercise before becoming pregnant had a decreased risk of pregnancy-related inflammation, which can contribute to gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
    • Furthermore, if you were a regular exerciser before having a kid, exercise should continue to be a post-pregnancy habit to help you maintain a healthy weight and enhance your mood.
    • A combination of strength training and aerobic exercises will help you get more fit and better prepared for a pregnancy.
  11. Discuss caffeine with your doctor:
    • Caffeine has been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage and has been linked to lengthening the time it takes to get pregnant.
    • Other research suggests that taking less than 200 mg per day when attempting to conceive may be beneficial.
    • However, determining how much caffeine you're taking might be difficult. When it comes to caffeine, always listen to your doctor's advice.
  12. Manage your stress:
    • High stress is undoubtedly associated with lower odds of conception; however, doctors do know that lowering stress promotes both fertility and pregnancy.
    • Several studies report that mind-body training can enhance infertility treatment results.
  13. Prioritize nutrients:
    • Consume a variety of antioxidant-rich, colorful fruits and vegetables to combat free radicals and underlying nutritional deficiencies that can impede conception.
  14. Get underlying illnesses under control before pregnancy:
    • If you have any high-risk chronic conditions, it is critical to control them before becoming pregnant.
    • Because certain drugs are detrimental to the unborn baby, a change in therapy may be required before pregnancy begins.
  15. Start thinking about egg freezing:
    • This increases your future fertility. You currently have the most and highest-quality eggs you will ever have.
    • However, the process can be costly, and it is not always guaranteed. Consult your doctor about the possibility of freezing your eggs.


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Medically Reviewed on 5/10/2022
Image Source: iStock Image

Getting Ready For Pregnancy: Preconception Health: https://www.marchofdimes.org/pregnancy/getting-ready-for-pregnancy-preconception-health.aspx

Preconception planning: Is your body ready for pregnancy? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/getting-pregnant/in-depth/preconception/art-20046664

Good Health Before Pregnancy: Prepregnancy Care: https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/good-health-before-pregnancy-prepregnancy-care

Preconception health: https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/you-get-pregnant/preconception-health