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Important Habits to Start Now Before Pregnancy

Read Time: 6 minutes 

Many women start new, healthier habits when they find out they are pregnant, which is a wonderful thing. However, it’s recommended to start building healthy habits and taking the necessary supplements for fetal health before conceiving.

It’s never too early to change your lifestyle for the better, but if you are planning or trying to conceive within the next couple of years, it’s especially important. 

Adopting healthy habits doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Work your way up to lifestyle changes so that they don’t completely alter your life in a matter of days. It’s better in the long run to take small steps that will make a lasting positive impact on your health and the health of your baby.

Here are the top five to-dos to add to your pre-pregnancy checklist (we also included a handy printable checklist from the CDC at the end of this article).

Talk with your medical care team on how to incorporate these safely, depending on medications, lifestyle, and health conditions.

Stop Alcohol Consumption, Drug Use, and Smoking 

This one is talked about a lot, but because it is so important, we had to include it! Here’s why: alcohol, illegal drugs, and smoking cigarettes can lead to severe birth defects, pregnancy, birth complications, and even fetal death, not to mention they negatively impact your quality of life.

If you find it difficult to stop using drugs or alcohol for whatever reason, please talk to a medical professional you trust about how to reduce and stop these habits well before getting pregnant (think at least a year before).


Preconception Health Appointment

Preconception appointments with your medical specialist are meant to help you and your partner prepare for the changes ahead while increasing your chances of conceiving.

If you are conceiving or raising your future children with someone else, it’s important that both people reflect on their health habits, lifestyle, and mental preparedness. 

Your doctor or midwife will be able to take a holistic view of your habits and health to determine the next steps in your journey to becoming pregnant. They may talk to you and your partner about supplements, running blood tests, and your family history to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. 

Always consult a doctor before altering or stopping any prescription or routine. Doing it by yourself in order to get pregnant can cause damage to your body and be worse for conception in the long run.


Be Active in 10 Minute Intervals

Exercise is one of those habits that doesn’t provide a lot of instant gratification (besides those wonderful endorphins) until you get into a groove and work out regularly.

But here’s the good news: you don’t need to be an athlete to enjoy and benefit from physical activity. It’s recommended that you get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which is equal to exerting yourself but still being able to hold a conversation.

This may sound like a lot, but if you were to incorporate small bursts of physical movement into your already established routine, you’ll be getting the benefits from 150 minutes in no time.

Try this out: take a ten-minute break every two hours during the day to stretch and speed walk around your office, neighborhood, or house. Do that for a total of 30-60 minutes a day, and you’ll have your new routine down in no time. You may even decide to incorporate more physical activities once your body is used to getting the exercise it needs.


Talk to Doctor and Stop Birth Control Before Trying to Conceive

People will often make the decision to become pregnant and stop taking birth control pills, get their IUD out, or stop other methods of contraception right before trying. Some of these methods alter your hormones which can take some time to get back to normal.

It’s said that you ovulate and can conceive a month or so after getting an IUD taken out at your gynecologist’s office or stopping the pill, however, some people find it takes six months to a year for conception to happen. It really depends on your lifestyle, your health, and your partner’s reproductive health as well. Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have.


Start a Prenatal Supplement Before Pregnancy

People always ask an expectant parent: are you taking a good prenatal vitamin?

Quality prenatal supplements, in addition to a well-rounded, nutrient-dense diet, is crucial to your health and fetal health. During pregnancy, your body is rapidly changing and creating new life, so it needs extra nutrients to support you and your baby.

However, many people don’t start taking a prenatal before conception, which is also extremely helpful in preparing your body for pregnancy and childbirth. It is now recommended to take a supplement at least a month in advance of trying to conceive.

Whichever you choose, make sure it has natural, quality-sourced ingredients and 400 mcg of daily folic acid, which, especially when taken in advance of getting pregnant, can reduce problems with fetal brain and spine development

What should be included in a good prenatal vitamin?

  • Folic Acid
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Iodine
  • B-Complex or B vitamins
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin A

If you are looking for a complete checklist to start planning your pregnancy journey, click here and print out this free preconception guide.


Written by Annie-Eliza Stevens