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 to:
  • 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.
By planning your pregnancy, you will know that during this important early stage you were taking the best possible care of yourself and your baby.

Inside Planning Pregnancy:

Body Awareness

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 planning pregnancy

Caregivers & Birth Settings

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 planning pregnancy

Dental Care

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 planning pregnancy

Drugs, Alcohol & Tobacco

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 planning pregnancy

Emotions & Stress

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 planning pregnancy

Environment: Home & Work

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 planning pregnancy

Exercise & Fitness

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. More planning pregnancy

Finances & Insurance

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 planning pregnancy

Genetic Counseling & Testing

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 planning pregnancy

Healthy Lifestyle Habits

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 planning pregnancy


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 planning pregnancy


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 planning pregnancy

Pre-Pregnancy Checkup

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 planning pregnancy


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.
More planning pregnancy


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 planning pregnancy

Most recent page update: 11/16/2012

© 2016 National Partnership for Women & Families. All rights reserved.

Founded in 1918, Childbirth Connection has joined forces with and become a core program of the National Partnership for Women & Families. Together, these two women's health powerhouses are transforming maternity care in the United States.
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