What to do before getting pregnant
1. Make a preconception counseling appointment
Kick off your road to parenthood by making an appointment with your OB-GYN or general practitioner for a preconception counseling visit. Seeing your doctor at least three months—or as early as a year—before you start trying to conceive can help ensure your body is pregnancy-ready. Your appointment may include the following.
- Discussions about:
- You and your partner’s health and family medical history
- Current medical conditions
- Your medications
- Lifestyle and habits, such as alcohol use, smoking, and exercise
- Vaccinations you’ve had and ones you may need
- Health conditions or genetic issues that may affect pregnancy
- Lab work and physical exams:
- Blood tests, including checking your hemoglobin count, as well as screening for issues that may impact fertility, your pregnancy, or your baby-to-be, such as your thyroid function or Rh factor
- Urine test to screen for kidney infections and diabetes
- Height, weight, and blood pressure check
- Pap smear to screen for abnormal cell changes on the cervix
- Breast and gynecological exam
- Screenings for sexually transmitted diseases
- Guidance on:
- Tracking ovulation once you stop using birth control
- Prenatal vitamins and key nutrients such as folic acid
- Reducing pregnancy risks
2. Start tracking your cycle
You’re probably already super in tune with your body. But now that you’re planning a family, you’ll want to become even more aware of what’s going on with your menstrual cycle. Identifying that all-important ovulation time can help you pinpoint your most fertile days.
- Write down when you begin and end your period.
- Look for ovulation signs, such as a rise in your basal body temperature and clear and stretchy cervical mucus.
- Ovulation calculators and predictor apps, tools, and kits may help make it easier to track your cycle.
3. Visit your dentist
Try to maintain good oral health habits and keep up with your regular dental checkups before and during your pregnancy. It’s about more than having a beautiful smile. Oral health contributes to your overall health and wellness. Plus, when you’re pregnant, changing hormones and eating habits can make a mama-to-be more prone to cavities and gum disease. Gum disease has also been associated with some pregnancy complications, such as preterm labor.1
4. Eat as if you’re already pregnant
A nutritious, well-balanced diet helps provide a healthy foundation that can benefit both you and your baby.
- Eat a variety of nutritious foods. Load up on veggies, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy.
- Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can affect a baby even during the earliest days of pregnancy before you know you’re pregnant.
- Take folic acid. Getting enough folic acid during pregnancy is critical to your baby’s healthy cognitive development. Women who take 400 micrograms (mcg) of this B vitamin daily before conception and during early pregnancy can help reduce their baby’s risk of being born with a severe brain or spinal birth defect.2Experts recommend taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily as soon as you consider trying to get pregnant.
5. Maintain good habits
Now’s a perfect time to commit to maintaining or building good habits. Whether it’s quitting smoking or exercising more, adapting to a healthier lifestyle will be easier and less stressful before you’re pregnant.
6. Limit exposure to toxins
Try to minimize your exposure to toxins that could be detrimental to your reproductive health.
- Opt for natural cleaners, air fresheners, cosmetics, and pesticides.
- Avoid smoke from cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and drugs.
- Minimize the use of aerosol sprays.
- If you’re exposed to chemicals and toxins at your workplace, talk to your supervisor about ways to reduce potential hazards.
7. Reduce stress
For some couples, trying to get pregnant can be an emotional and sometimes stressful experience. These are a few healthy strategies that may help reduce stress, relax your mind, and promote calmness.
- Exercise. Get those endorphins going with regular exercise. Physical activity is good for your body and mood.
- Meditate. Meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you focus in the present and promote relaxation and a sense of calm. There are several meditation apps that can help you practice on your own.
- Reach out to others. Whether you hang out with your best friend or call a family member, connecting with supportive people can provide much-needed stress relief.
- Prioritize. Your time is valuable, and trying to do too much or meet others’ expectations can be overwhelming. Say “no” when you need to.
8. Involve your partner or support person
Involve your partner or other support person as you embark on this exciting journey.
- Go to doctor appointments together. You’ll both have the opportunity to ask questions, learn what to expect, and gain insights as you share in anticipation of this life-changing event.
- Take a team approach to health. If you both need to stop smoking, lose weight, or eat better, tackle your goals as a twosome.
Pregnancy doesn’t just affect your body. That adorable tiny baby can have a big impact on your budget. That’s why you may want to add a few financial-related to-dos to your pre-pregnancy checklist.
- Understand your health insurance coverage for prenatal, inpatient, postnatal, and newborn care. All major health insurance plans must cover routine pregnancy-related expenses. If you don’t have insurance and become pregnant, you may qualify for government health insurance programs.
- Check your company’s family medical leave policy.
- If you haven’t already, build a savings fund to cover unexpected expenses and costs not covered by insurance.
- If applicable, consider childcare costs.
More preconception health resources
Preparing for pregnancy now can help the health and wellbeing of you and your baby later. Explore our Tips and Resources section for more baby planning articles and videos, including:
- What Is Preconception Health Why Does It Matter?
- What To Expect at Your Preconception Counseling Appointment
- How to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy: Your 3-Month Plan
As you take this initial first step toward pregnancy, Enfamil is with you. We understand that everyone's journey is different. We're happy to provide educational resources to help support you through whichever path leads you to parenthood.