What should you do before getting pregnant?
Consider these 5 changes before getting pregnant to help increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy—for both you and your baby. If you can, start at least 3 months in advance.1
1. Take folic acid every day
It’s recommended for women to take 400–800 micrograms of folic acid daily. Some prenatal vitamins could have more, so talk to your doctor about how much you should be taking.
2. Limit intake of potentially harmful substances
It’s usually suggested that women quit smoking and limit, or stop, drinking prior to pregnancy and throughout. Smoking can reduce fertility in both men and women, and exposure to secondhand smoke can also affect your chances of getting pregnant.2
3. Avoid toxic substances
Household cleaners and air fresheners are a few examples of common items you might have around that could affect your chances of pregnancy. You’ll want to be careful of spray and aerosol cleaners and avoid using them when possible. Also, avoid anything that could cause a serious infection or is known for releasing harmful fumes, like painting or changing your cat’s litter box.3 If your partner isn’t around and you have to do these chores yourself, make sure you have good ventilation as you work and wear protective clothing.
4. Assess your existing medical conditions
Pre-existing health conditions can both affect your pregnancy or be heightened by it. Make sure any pre-existing medical conditions are under control and check in with your doctor to make sure they won’t affect you or your baby during pregnancy.
5. Review your medications
Many people take medicine regularly and rely on it to stay healthy, but not all medicines are safe to take during pregnancy. From prescriptions to over-the-counter pain relievers, you’ll want to be mindful of what you take before and during pregnancy. Go over your medications and prescriptions with your doctor.