Preparing for Pregnancy:
planning before you get pregnant
Planning before you get pregnant is very
important. Simply put, the healthier you are as you are planning your
pregnancy, the more likely you are to have a healthy baby. We hope
you'll start planning for pregnancy as soon as you begin to have
thoughts about having a baby.
A baby's organs begin to form in the first few weeks of pregnancy,
before you may know that you are pregnant. As this is a
critical phase of development, the more planning you do, the greater
the pay off can be in terms of the health of your baby. Unfortunately, there are no foolproof methods for having a healthy
baby, but there are many things you can do that may improve your
chances of a good outcome.
Planning your pregnancy may help you
By planning your pregnancy, you will know that during this important
early stage you were taking the best possible care of yourself and your
- conceive more easily
- have a healthier pregnancy
- avoid or minimize pregnancy complications
- give birth to a healthier baby
- recover more quickly and easily after giving birth
- have a more pleasant postpartum (post birthing) experience
- minimize your child's risk of future adult health problems.
Inside Planning Pregnancy:
Experts recommend that women start preparing for pregnancy one to three
months before trying to conceive (get pregnant). Learn about
preparing your body for pregnancy, getting off birth control, how
you'll know if you are pregnant, special issues for women over 35, and
more here. More
Two important decisions that you will need to make as you are planning
your pregnancy are who will provide your prenatal care and where you
will give birth. Here is a good place to start that will help you
to make an informed decision. More
It is important to have good oral health during your pregnancy.
You should try to have a thorough dental checkup and take care of
dental health issues before you get pregnant. Read about how oral
health affects your fetus here. More
How do these substances affect my fetus? Why should I stop?
We explain the risks to you and to your baby from prescription
medication, recreational drugs, alcohol, and smoking. More
How should I expect to feel when I am pregnant? Why can pregnancy
be stressful? Read about the importance of getting enough sleep,
developing effective stress management skills, and more. More
Your home and work environments can impact on your ability to get
pregnant or could expose your fetus to harmful substances. Learn
how to identify these hazards and what you should do to reduce or
remove them before you become pregnant. More
Staying active and being fit should be a vital part of your planning to
become pregnant and throughout your pregnancy. Here's more on the
types of training you can do and the simple ways you can be active.
Can you afford to have a baby? Do you have adequate health
insurance? There are many financial and insurance related issues
that you (and your partner) should investigate while you are planning
your pregnancy. We discuss what you need to know in this section. More |
You may need to consider genetic testing if there is a history of
certain health conditions in your family or in your partner's family
and if you are over 35 years old. Here is an overview of what a
genetic counselor is, what you can expect at your appointment, how one
can help, and more. More
Before and throughout your pregnancy you will need to make many
decisions about how you will take care of yourself. Making
appropriate lifestyle changes and starting new good habits while you
are planning to conceive can help you to have a healthier
pregnancy. Learn how to make these important changes here. More
It is prudent to review all medications you are taking, including all
prescription, over-the-counter, and alternative remedies in the
planning pregnancy stage. We will give you guidance here. More
What is folic acid? What foods should I avoid while I am
pregnant? Making informed decisions about what you eat and when
you should eat can help you have a healthier pregnancy. More
The healthier you are, the greater the likelihood that you'll have a
healthy baby. Learn more about how you can establish a health
status baseline and determine if you have any risk factors that should
be addressed before you become pregnant. More
Are you and your partner emotionally ready to have a baby? How
will you handle the stress? Pregnancy and a new baby will mean
changes in your family dynamics and interpersonal relationships.
Read more about the issues you may face.
Having and maintaining a healthy body weight is important as you are
planning pregnancy, just as it is central to achieving overall good
health. Some information you need to know before you become
pregnant can be found here. More
Most recent page update: 11/16/2012
© 2013 Childbirth Connection. All rights reserved.
Childbirth Connection is a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1918 as Maternity Center Association. Our mission is to improve the quality and value of maternity care through consumer engagement and health system transformation. Childbirth Connection promotes safe, effective and satisfying evidence-based maternity care and is a voice for the needs and interests of childbearing families.
News and Features
Listening to MothersSM III: New Mothers Speak Out
(June 2013) reports on new national surveys about issues women face in the postpartum period and their views about maternity care.
Access the full report and supplementary materials
Listening to MothersSM III
(May 2013) is the third national survey exploring women's experiences in pregnancy and childbirth.
Commissioned by Childbirth Connection, conducted by Harris Interactive, and
funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the survey polled 2,400 women who gave
birth in U.S. hospitals from 2011 to 2012. Results show that medically
intensive experiences are typical, and evidence-based practices are
underutilized. Childbearing women need better support and knowledge to
navigate their maternity care.
Access the full report and supplementary materials New Report: Maternity Care and
report and supporting materials New Report: The Cost of Having a Baby in the United
StatesGo to report
and supporting materials New Cesarean Resources:Go to Best Evidence Report Go to web pages and booklet for women
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