Your countdown to conception

Check out this get-ready-to-get-pregnant guide to ensure that you’re as healthy as possible before trying to conceive.

Three months before

Check it out

Schedule a preconception checkup for yourself and your partner. Address any health or lifestyle issues that might interfere with your ability to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy sooner rather than later.

Pick a date

If you’re using barrier contraceptive methods like condoms and diaphragms, you can continue to use them until the day you start “trying.” But if you’re using a hormonal method of contraception like the pill, you might want to switch to another method of contraception now. If you do, make sure you’ve lined up a back-up method (such as a condom or diaphragm) until you’re ready to conceive.

Put your money where your mouth is

Gum disease increases has been associated with the risk of a preterm delivery, so you want to make sure that you’re in good dental health before getting pregnant. Schedule a good oral cleaning and take care of dental treatments, x-rays, or medications before you start trying to conceive.

Two months before

Eat your veggies and vitamins

Give your diet a pre-pregnancy makeover. Start eating a variety of whole grains, fruits and vegetables each day and reduce your intake of fat. Boost your intake of foods that are rich in iron and calcium and—if your doctor recommends it—consider taking a multivitamin supplement or prenatal vitamin, especially one that contains folic acid. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with vitamins A or D, which are potentially hazardous during pregnancy.

Don’t weight

If you’re significantly under- or overweight, two months may not be enough time to get yourself to an ideal weight, but it is enough time to lose or gain a few kilos—and sometimes that’s enough to increase fertility and up the odds for a healthy pregnancy.

Get a fitness routine

If you’re a couch potato, this is a great time to start working out. Choose a sport that you can continue throughout your pregnancy, since being physically active will help with many pregnancy symptoms, such as backache, leg cramps and breathlessness.

One month before

Kick some butts

A woman who smokes is less fertile and faces an increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery and giving birth to a low birthweight baby. If you don’t smoke but your partner does, it’s time he or she quits too. Once you’re pregnant, your exposure to secondhand smoke will be just as harmful to your developing baby as if you smoked yourself. Plus, male fertility is also affected by smoking.

Don’t party hard

No one has ever been able to determine a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy. Just about every expert and doctor recommends that that you stop drinking once you start trying to conceive.

Your journey to pregnancy begins with healthy choices. Give yourself (and baby-to-be) the best start possible by following these proactive steps to getting your body ready for motherhood.