Time to Get Pregnant?
A Year in Advance
For the best possible pregnancy, set up an appointment with your doctor for preconception planning a year prior to pregnancy.
If you've been taking birth control pills, your doctor may recommend you use an alternate form of birth control for several cycles prior to conception in order to give your reproductive system a chance to restore itself and allow for easier determination of ovulation and your due date.
Some diseases can pose a risk to an unborn child. In the event that your immunizations aren't up to date, you may need to receive vaccines and wait a month or longer before attempting to conceive.
Preexisting ailments like asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure need to be under control before you become pregnant. Your doctor may need to adjust your medication before you conceive.
Tell your doctor about any medications, supplements, and herbal treatments you use. Your doctor may want to change your dosage or have you stop taking these before you conceive.
Since a baby's neural tube develops during the first trimester of pregnancy, you will want to start on prenatal vitamins in advance of conception. You want to be taking these vitamins from the get go, since such supplements may prevent neural tube defects.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may increase chances for infertility and complications of pregnancy. Your doctor will recommend screening for STDs and maybe order treatment for such a disease before conception.
Your family medical history will be reviewed. Certain medical conditions can cause birth defects. If your doctor suspects the possibility of a genetic disorder, he may refer you to a genetic counselor for an assessment before you conceive.
After the age of 35, your risk increases for fertility issues, miscarriage, and some chromosomal disorders. Certain pregnancy related conditions, such as gestational diabetes tend to occur more often in the pregnancies of older women.
The doctor will want to review any past pregnancies. This is the time to discuss concerns or fears you may have about getting pregnant. Your doctor may be able to increase your chances of having a healthier pregnancy, this time around.
Your doctor may recommend healthy lifestyle changes to make in advance of conception and for the duration of the pregnancy. You may need to lose weight, quit smoking, stop drinking, learn to exercise on a regular basis, eat the right foods, and reduce stress.
Bring your partner with you to a preconception planning, since your partner's health and lifestyle, including medical history, are important in planning the healthiest possible pregnancy.