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Pregnancy > Getting healthy before pregnancy > Your pre-pregnancy checklist
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Your pre-pregnancy checklist

You've made the decision to try for a baby - now what? Well, aside from the obvious, of course! Before you try to get pregnant, you'll need to "get" a few other things first:

  • Get a full workup: Be sure your body is ready for the changes to come. Visit your doctor for a full physical examination, including a Pap smear, breast exam, STI (sexually transmitted infections) screening, and any necessary updates to your immunizations.
     
  • Get a handle on your health: Hopeful moms-to-be with chronic conditions like diabetes or multiple sclerosis may need extra guidance to manage symptoms and prevent complications while pregnant. Your doctor can guide you and give you the tools you need to stay healthy throughout your pregnancy.
     
  • Get over bad habits: You (and your partner) should be smokefree. Smoking not only harms growing babies, it slashes fertility in both men and women. Cut alcohol from your life, as well as any recreational drug use.
     
  • Get fit: Moderate exercise improves your chances of getting pregnant, and keeping up your workout during pregnancy will boost your energy, help you sleep better, and help to alleviate some of the aches and pains that come with carrying the extra baby weight. Talk to your doctor about appropriate exercises for you.
     
  • Get your weight under control: Being overweight can reduce a woman's (and a man's) fertility. Consult with your doctor to plan for a sensible, healthy weight loss.
     
  • Get the nutrients you need: Eat a healthy and balanced diet and add a prenatal vitamin to your routine. Be sure your supplement contains folic acid, also known as folate, a B vitamin that helps to prevent birth defects. You can also find folate in foods like lentils, beans, asparagus, and spinach. Ask your doctor how much folic acid you should be taking.
     
  • Get your dental work done: Pregnancy makes a woman more prone to oral health problems, and you might not be able to have certain dental procedures done once you're pregnant.
     
  • Get an answer to the caffeine question: Women who hope to get pregnant should cut their caffeine consumption to no more than 300 mg per day - the equivalent of about 2 cups of filter-drip coffee. Phase out caffeine from your day, and be aware that it hides not only in coffee but also in tea, chocolate, and in unexpected places like coffee-flavoured yogurts.
     
  • Get contraception tips: Ask your doctor about the ideal time to stop using your preferred method of birth control.
     
  • Get to know your cycle: You might have a vague idea of when to expect your period, but if you want to get pregnant, get better acquainted with your cycle. Know when you're ovulating.
     
  • Get your head right: Ask yourself if you're ready for the commitment of pregnancy and parenthood. Spot potential stressors in your life and devise strategies for relieving the tension. Stress can affect your ability to conceive.


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