Thinking of getting pregnant soon? Make sure you and your spouse are ready for your baby by getting off on the right foot for a healthy pregnancy. 

See a Doctor

Couples trying to get pregnant should see a doctor for preconception guidance and support, especially if one or both of the parents has a history of medical issues that might affect fertility (such as high blood pressure, asthma, and diabetes). A doctor can make sure that any medications either of you might be taking doesn’t affect fertility and are safe for conception and a developing baby. The doctor will also assess your overall health and wellbeing and may discuss any potential lifestyle changes he or she thinks might be necessary for the success of a pregnancy or health of a child. 

Make Regular Appointments

Work with your health-care provider to monitor fertility and general health as a means to help ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy, especially once you’re successful at conceiving. 

Take Folic Acid

Women looking to become pregnant should supplement their daily multi vitamin with 400 to 800 micrograms of folic acid or look for a multi with added folic acid—many of these vitamins are labeled as “prenatal.” Folic acid has been shown to decrease the risk of certain birth defects and miscarriage. Women should start taking the supplement at least one to two months prior to beginning trying to conceive, though taking it for several months or years longer has shown no harm. 

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Being under or overweight can dramatically reduce fertility and your chances of getting pregnant. Work with your doctor or a nutritionist to achieve a more optimal weight. This will also help get the mother on a good footing for the weight she will gain as a result of the pregnancy.

Exercise

Exercising for 30 minutes five to seven days a week is a good way to help maintain or lose weight, build physical health, and reduce stress. Besides walking or jogging, other cardio activities, such as swimming, tai chi, or tennis, may be a fun outlet for you—and even your partner!

Eat Well

Your body is going to need all the vitamins and nutrients it can get while you’re pregnant. Get a head start on eating well—before you’re even crossing your fingers for the pregnancy results. (Take a daily multivitamin to make up for what your food leaves out).

Cut Back on the Vices

In men, increased alcohol intake, use of illegal drugs, and smoking can decrease sperm production and sperm count in semen. For women, the best time to stop smoking is before you are pregnant—smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications and birth defects. The same goes for use of illegal drugs. For example, women who use cocaine or methamphetamines are at a higher risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, birth defects, and pre-term labor. Drinking alcohol can also make conception more difficult.