You should start taking care of yourself before you start trying to get pregnant. This is called preconception health.
It means knowing how health conditions and risk factors could affect you or your unborn baby if you become pregnant.
For example, some foods, habits, and medicines can harm your baby — even before he or she is conceived. Some
health problems also can affect pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor before pregnancy to learn what you can do to prepare your body. Women should prepare for
pregnancy before becoming sexually active. Ideally, women should give themselves at least 3 months to prepare before
The ﬁve most important things you can do before becoming pregnant are:
- Take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day for at least 3 months before getting pregnant to lower your risk of
some birth defects of the brain and spine. You can get folic acid from some foods. But it’s hard to get all the folic acid
you need from foods alone. Taking a vitamin with folic acid is the best and easiest way to be sure you’re getting
- Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Ask your doctor for help.
- If you have a medical condition, be sure it is under control. Some conditions include asthma, diabetes,
depression, high blood pressure, obesity, thyroid disease, or epilepsy. Be sure your vaccinations are up to date. You
may need higher dose of folic acid in certain conditions.
- Talk to your doctor about any over-the-counter and prescription medicines you are using. These include dietary
or herbal supplements. Some medicines are not safe during pregnancy. At the same time, stopping medicines you
need also can be harmful.
- Avoid contact with toxic substances or materials at work and at home that could be harmful. Stay away from
chemicals and cat or rodent feces.