About Planning for Pregnancy

What to know

  • There are things you can do before and between pregnancies to increase the chances of having a healthy pregnancy.
  • Getting your body ready for pregnancy may look different for different people.
  • The following are important steps to help you get healthy for yourself and any future children.
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Why it's important

Your health before pregnancy is very important and can affect the health of your future baby. By making a plan before getting pregnant, you can take steps to a healthier you and baby-to-be.

Planning for pregnancy

1. Talk to your healthcare provider

Before getting pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about your health history and any medical conditions you currently have.

Take a list of talking points so you don't forget anything. Be sure to talk to your doctor about

2. Get 400 micrograms of folic acid daily

Folic acid is a B vitamin. Having enough folic acid in your body at least 1 month before and during pregnancy can help prevent major birth defects of the developing baby's brain and spine (neural tube defects).

3. Stop drinking alcohol, smoking, and using certain drugs

Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using certain drugs can cause problems during pregnancy, such as premature birth, birth defects, and infant death.

If you are trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, smoking, or using drugs, contact your healthcare provider, local Alcoholics Anonymous®, or local alcohol treatment center.

4. Avoid toxic substances and contaminants

Avoid harmful chemicals, environmental contaminants, and other toxic substances such as synthetic chemicals, some metals, fertilizer, bug spray, and cat or rodent feces around the home and in the workplace. These substances can hurt the reproductive systems of men and women.

5. Reach and maintain a heathy weight

People who are overweight or obese have a higher risk for many serious conditions, including complications during pregnancy. People who are underweight are also at risk for serious health problems.

6. Learn your family history

Collecting your family's health history can help you identify factors that might affect your baby or your ability to become pregnant.

Based on your family health history, your doctor might refer you for genetic counseling. Other reasons for genetic counseling include having had several miscarriages, infant deaths, or trouble getting pregnant (infertility), or having a genetic condition or birth defect that occurred during a previous pregnancy.

7. Get mentally healthy

Mental health is how we think, feel, and act as we cope with life. To be at your best, you need to feel good about your life and value yourself. Everyone feels worried, anxious, sad, or stressed sometimes. However, if these feelings do not go away and interfere with your daily life, get help. Talk with your healthcare provider about your feelings and treatment options.

Healthcare professionals can also help with counseling and other support services if you are in a stressful or abusive environment.


Health Resources

MyHealthFinder Tool

This tool can show which screening tests and vaccines you or your loved ones need to stay healthy. The website also has health tips and information on many health topics, including pregnancy.

Pregnancy Planner

This PDF helps you make goals and take steps toward getting healthy before pregnancy.

Alcohol and Drug Resources

Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a treatment facility locator. This locator helps people find drug and alcohol treatment programs in their area.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of people who come together to solve their drinking problem. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem. Locate an A.A. program.

Smoking Resources

1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669)