Thinking about becoming pregnant?

If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, there are some important things to consider to ensure that you are taking good care of yourself and your unborn baby once you are pregnant. Being healthy before conception is important. Here is a list of things you can do to help during the preconception period:

  • Learn about pregnancy.
  • See your Physician before becoming pregnant.
  • Know your past or current medical problems and review them with your Physician.
  • If you are overweight, make lifestyle changes to lose weight before you get pregnant to help ensure you have a healthy diet and good exercise habits during pregnancy.
  • Make a list of prescription and non-prescription drugs, herbs and vitamins and review them with your Physician before you become pregnant.
  • Check to make sure your immunizations are up-to-date and if vaccinations are needed to get them done and wait at least three months before you become pregnant.
  • If there is the possibility that you may have been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, discuss this with your Physician, as treatment may be required prior to becoming pregnant or during pregnancy.
  • If you have been pregnant before, knowing about any previous problems during a previous pregnancy will alert your healthcare provider to potential problems during this pregnancy.
  • Keep track of your monthly menstrual cycle as this will help your healthcare provider calculate your due date.
  • If you are using hormonal birth control, as the "pill", the "patch" or the "ring", wait to have at least one normal menstrual cycle before you try to get pregnant.
  • Using Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide, try to eat well before becoming pregnant to be able to meet the nutritional needs of your developing baby.
  • Be sure that you are getting the right amount of folic acid in your diet or through multivitamins before you become pregnant to decrease the risk of neural tube defects. It is recommended you take prenatal vitamins for 3 months before getting pregnant.
  • If you or your partner smoke, stop smoking to reduce to risk of a small or preterm baby. Ask your healthcare provider for support to help you quit smoking.
  • Avoid alcohol while trying to get pregnant and abstain alcohol during pregnancy.
  • If you are using street drugs, you need to stop before you get pregnant to avoid the harmful effects on baby.