Countdown to Conception

A three-month guide to preparing yourself for pregnancy.
ByAnn Douglas
March 2, 2017
Hero Image

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.

Clean out your cabinets
Check your medicine cabinet for ingredients that could affect fertility or harm your baby-to-be. Don’t take chances. Ask your doctor about what’s safe for you and your partner to take once you start trying to conceive.

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 or Depo-Provera, 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.

Protect yourself at work
Employers are required to provide employees with details about the types of materials they’re working with on the job. If you’re concerned about anything you’re exposed to at work being potentially hazardous during pregnancy, talk to your employer now.

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 health care provider recommends it—consider taking a multivitamin supplement or prenatal vitamin, especially one that contains folic acid. Just make sure you don’t overdue it with vitamins A or D, which are potentially hazardous during pregnancy.

Related Video

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 pounds—and sometimes that’s enough to increase fertility and up the odds for a healthy pregnancy.

Get with the (fitness) program
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 hearty
No one has ever been able to determine a safe level of alcohol consumption during pregnancy, so the March of Dimes and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that you stop drinking once you start trying to conceive.

Start delegating the dirty work
Let other people handle household chores that could be hazardous to you and your baby-to-be (e.g., using paints, solvents or pesticides; changing kitty litter; and cleaning rodent cages or any messes created by wild mice).

Keep your cool
Hyperthermia (overheating) related to hot tub use has been linked to an increased risk of birth defects. The experts advise that prospective mothers avoid any activity that could cause their temperature to soar above 102°F. That includes vigorous exercise on hot days, too.

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.

young woman smiling coyly and and walking through city streets

8 Signs of Fertility to Look for Each Month

profile picture of Temeka Zore, MD
Temeka Zore, MD
OB-GYN and Infertility Specialist

10 Things to Avoid When Trying to Conceive

profile picture of Temeka Zore, MD
Temeka Zore, MD
OB-GYN and Infertility Specialist
peanut app launches ttc platform

Peanut App Launches TTC Platform to Help Women Find a Safe Community

profile picture of Nehal Aggarwal
Nehal Aggarwal
Associate Editor
couple laughing and looking at each other

How to Get Pregnant Fast

profile picture of Stacey Feintuch
Stacey Feintuch
Contributing Writer
happy woman laughing in front of plant wall

How to Boost Your Fertility in Your 30s

profile picture of Anna Davies
Anna Davies
Contributing Writer
man in bed checking the time

Men Should Go to Bed by This Time if They’re Trying to Conceive

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
woman looking at camera and smiling a little at sunset

Researchers May Have Found an Easy Way to Treat Endometriosis

profile picture of Stephanie Grassullo
Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor
Article removed.