Planning before trying to conceive can help increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. It helps reduce risks to you and your baby. Preparing a plan can be confusing as there are lots of dos and dont’s. Here is a preconception checklist for women who are planning to have a baby.

1. Get a complete physical checkup

Before you try to conceive, it is very important that you get a complete physical checkup done, so that any issues can be identified and if found, treatment can be done as early as possible.

2. Include folic acid in your diet

Folic acid helps lower the risk for certain birth defects, thus take 0.8 mg of folic acid every day. Your doctor would prescribe to you a prenatal vitamin for this. If a woman has any genetic mutations, she may need a higher dose of folic acid.

3. Exercising regularly and a healthy diet plan

You should reach your goal weight before conception if you are underweight or overweight. Developing a regular exercise routine before you try to conceive is essential. This is healthy for you as well as your baby, but make sure that you do not indulge in any intense form of exercise. Avoid intense heat during pregnancy. Thus, do not sit in hot tubs or saunas for a long period of time.  

Include lots of fruits, whole grains and vegetables in your daily healthy diet. Also, avoid eating fried food, processed food and foods that contain fats. Keeping yourself hydrated is also very important, prior to conception, so drink lots of water and fluids throughout the day but avoid caffeinated beverages.

4. Talk to your doctor if you have any medical conditions

If you have any medical conditions that could affect conception and pregnancy, you should talk to your doctor about it as it is best to be safe than sorry. Diseases such as diabetes, seizure disorders, high blood pressure and depression can affect your baby’s health. Also, talk to your doctor about immunization. Infections like Rubella and Chickenpox can pose a risk to your pregnancy, which is why it is important that you receive the vaccinations before conception. You should try to conceive a month after you get vaccinated.

5. Avoid alcohol and smoking

One of the most important things you need to do prior to conception is to quit smoking. It can make it difficult for you to conceive and it is also dangerous for the baby when you get pregnant. Avoiding this can improve the quality of eggs during ovulation, leading to better chances of conception.

If you don’t quit smoking, you may experience problems during pregnancy and childbirth, such as a premature birth or an underweight baby, which is why it is best to quit this habit before you try to conceive.

Follow this preconception checklist and you’re already on your way to conceiving and having a healthy baby.