Planning for a Baby: 10 Things to Do Before You Get Pregnant

Congratulations on making the exciting decision to start a family! The anticipation and excitement of planning for a baby can be overwhelming, but it’s important to take some time to prepare yourself both physically and mentally for this life-changing journey.

Before you start trying to conceive, it’s vital to take certain steps to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. These steps not only improve your odds of getting pregnant quickly but also help you feel confident and empowered throughout the process.

To help you on this journey, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things to do before you get pregnant. From taking prenatal vitamins to scheduling a preconception checkup with your healthcare provider, we’ll guide you through the most important steps you should take to ensure a smooth and healthy pregnancy.

So, whether you’re a first-time mum or adding to your family, take a deep breath and get ready to start your journey to motherhood armed with the knowledge you need to have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Planning for a Baby: 10 things to do before you get pregnant

1. Start taking folate

When it comes to pre-conception, folate is undoubtedly a key nutrient. It is widely known for its role in guarding against neural tube defects such as spina bifida, particularly during the period of trying to conceive and the following first trimester of pregnancy. Folate is a B group vitamin needed for healthy growth and development. Unfortunately, an estimated 1 in 3 women struggle to absorb folic acid due to the presence of MTHFR gene variants, so ensure the folate is activated.

If you’re trying to conceive or in the early stages of pregnancy, it’s essential to find supplements that provide a minimum of 400 micrograms of folic acid. You can choose supplements specifically designed for pregnancy or those containing only folic acid. While some multivitamins for pregnant women may contain folic acid, it’s crucial to confirm that you’re taking the recommended dosage.

To ensure that you’re getting enough folic acid, the best course of action is to take a daily folic acid supplement for at least one month before and up to three months after conception. After that period, you don’t need to continue taking folic acid supplements.

2. Quit smoking

Smoking while pregnant increases the risk of health problems such as ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, premature labour, and sudden unexpected death in infancy, which includes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

3. Quit alcohol

As it is unknown how much alcohol is safe to drink while pregnant, the National Health and Medical Research Council recommends women abstain from drinking if they are pregnant as the safest option, so it’s a good idea to quit, or at least reduce, drinking while trying to conceive.

4. Improve your diet 

Get your body in optimal condition for conception by enjoying a balanced diet with plenty of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables, protein and dairy (or calcium-rich alternatives).

The following are good sources of natural folate:

  • vegetables – (broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, English spinach, green beans, lettuce, mushrooms, parsnip, sweet corn, zucchini)
  • fruit (avocado, grapefruit, oranges, berries, bananas)
  • legumes (chickpeas, soya beans, lima beans, red kidney beans, lentils, haricot beans)
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • juices (many apple and orange juices)
  • Vegemite

5. Get to a healthy weight 

Having a healthy weight can help increase your chances of conceiving. Being overweight or underweight can affect fertility, so maintain a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise. Speak to your doctor about your weight to improve fertility.

6. Organise your finances

Having a plan in place for expenses like childcare, health care, and other costs associated with having a baby will help to ensure that you and your family are financially secure during this time. This can also help to reduce stress, allowing you to focus more on the joy of your pregnancy and the anticipation of becoming a parent.

7. Visit the dentist

It’s a good idea to visit your dentist before you conceive. Studies have suggested that bad oral hygiene can impact your ability to fall pregnant and increase complications. Gum disease has been linked to a higher risk of preterm labour, low birth weight, and other pregnancy problems.

8. Get a pre-pregnancy check-up

Your doctor can assess your overall health and provide advice and guidance on the best ways to maximise your chances of a successful pregnancy. Your medical history is important in helping to assess your current health and any potential risks or complications that could arise. Additionally, a doctor can review any medications that you may be taking and offer advice on the safest and most effective way to conceive.

9. Ensure your work and home environment is safe

Make sure you’re not working in a toxic environment with high exposure to chemicals or smoke, and try to avoid heavy lifting. The same applies to home – avoid handling cat litter due to the risk of toxoplasmosis and wear gloves if gardening.

10. Make sure you have access to quality care

Quality pre- and postnatal care is comprehensive, evidence-based care that women and babies receive before and after birth. Do your research on your chosen hospital and healthcare providers. This includes physical and mental health care, nutritional advice and education, and support for breastfeeding. Quality care should be tailored to the individual needs of each woman and her baby and should be provided by health professionals with experience in maternal and infant care.


X click to search