Preconception Care

Preconception Care: Planning for a Healthy Pregnancy

Preparing for pregnancy, whether you’re actively trying to conceive or considering starting a family, is a vital step in ensuring a healthy pregnancy and positive reproductive outcomes. This preconception journey involves optimizing a woman’s well-being before conception, taking into account her existing health conditions and potential risk factors for both her and her future child. It entails preconception care and counselling, offering health-focused education and guidance, with the ultimate goal of facilitating a complication-free, safe, and healthy pregnancy, regardless of whether it’s the first or subsequent pregnancy. The timeline for getting your body ready for pregnancy can vary, but it’s never too early to start this essential preparation. Regardless of whether this is your initial, subsequent, or sixth pregnancy, the following steps are crucial in readying yourself for the healthiest pregnancy possible.

Who Should Consider Preconception Care?

Preconception care is relevant to anyone who is considering becoming pregnant. Whether it’s your first pregnancy or you’ve been through this journey before, these steps are crucial in readying yourself for the healthiest pregnancy possible.

List of Components of Preconception Care:

1. Establish a Plan and Initiate Action

Chances are, you’ve already considered your intentions regarding parenthood, whether or not you’ve formally written them. You’ve likely considered how to realize these goals. For instance, when you wanted to avoid becoming a parent, you made use of reliable contraception methods. Now that you’re thinking of starting a family, it’s crucial to proactively take measures to actualize your desired outcome.

2. See Your Doctor

Before embarking on your journey to become pregnant, it’s essential to engage in a conversation with your healthcare provider regarding preconception care. Your healthcare professional will want to delve into your medical history and any existing medical conditions that might impact a potential pregnancy. They may also inquire about prior pregnancy complications, your current medications, necessary vaccinations, and proactive measures you can take before conception to reduce the risk of specific birth defects.


The majority of individuals planning a pregnancy will encounter decisions regarding medication use both before and during pregnancy. It’s crucial to engage in conversations with your healthcare providers prior to initiating or discontinuing any medications. Make sure to have detailed discussions regarding the following with your healthcare providers:

  • All the medications you are currently using, which include prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal supplements, and vitamins.
  • The most effective strategies for managing any existing health conditions you may have.
  • Your personal objectives and preferences concerning the well-being of both you and your baby.

If you currently have any medical conditions, it’s important to confirm that they are well-managed and being properly treated. These conditions may encompass sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), diabetes, and thyroid disorders.

Vaccinations (shots)

The majority of vaccines are considered safe for pregnant individuals, and certain ones, like the flu vaccine and Tdap (adult tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccine), are specifically advised during pregnancy. It’s essential to educate yourself about vaccinations during pregnancy and to acquire more information about COVID-19 vaccines if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Ensuring that you receive the appropriate vaccinations at the recommended times can contribute to your well-being and safeguard your baby from certain diseases during the initial months of life.

3. Ensure a Daily Intake of 400 Micrograms of Folic Acid 

Folic acid, a type of B vitamin, plays a crucial role in prenatal health. Adequate folic acid levels in your body, starting at least a month before and during pregnancy, can significantly reduce the risk of severe birth defects in the baby’s developing brain and spine, such as anencephaly and spina bifida. The CDC strongly recommends that anyone capable of becoming pregnant should aim for a daily intake of 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid. This can be achieved through fortified foods, supplements, or a combination of both, in addition to maintaining a diverse diet that is naturally rich in folate.

4. Stop Drinking Alcohol, Smoking, and Using Certain Drugs

Engaging in smoking, alcohol consumption, and the use of particular drugs can lead to a host of issues during pregnancy, including premature birth, birth defects, and infant mortality.

If you are attempting to conceive and find it challenging to discontinue drinking, smoking, or using drugs, it is advisable to seek assistance. 

5. Avoid Harmful Substances and Environmental Pollutants

It’s essential to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals, environmental contaminants, and other toxic substances like synthetic chemicals, certain metals, pesticides, insect repellents, and the presence of cat or rodent faeces in your living environment and workplace. These substances have the potential to harm the reproductive systems of both men and women, making conception more challenging. Even minimal exposure during pregnancy, infancy, childhood, or adolescence can increase the risk of developing diseases. 

6. Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight

Individuals who fall into the categories of being overweight or obese face an elevated risk of various serious health conditions, including complications during pregnancy, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and specific cancers such as endometrial, breast, and colon cancer. On the other hand, those who are underweight also confront significant health risks.

The key to achieving and sustaining a healthy body weight doesn’t rely on short-term dietary changes; it hinges on adopting a lifestyle that incorporates wholesome eating habits and regular physical activity.

If you find yourself in the categories of underweight, overweight, or obese, it’s advisable to have a discussion with your healthcare provider about strategies to attain and uphold a healthy weight before embarking on pregnancy.

7. Familiarize Yourself with Your Family’s Medical History

Gathering information about your family’s health history can be valuable in identifying potential factors that could impact your baby’s health during infancy or childhood, as well as your own fertility. It might not be immediately apparent that conditions such as your sister’s heart defect or your cousin’s sickle cell disease could have an impact on your child, but sharing this familial health history with your healthcare provider holds significance.

Based on your family’s health history, your doctor may suggest genetic counselling. Genetic counselling may also be recommended for other reasons, including experiencing recurrent miscarriages, infant fatalities, infertility, or having encountered a genetic condition or birth defect in a prior pregnancy.

8. Prioritize Your Emotional Well-Being

Mental health encompasses our thought processes, emotions, and behaviours as we navigate life’s challenges. To function optimally, it’s vital to experience contentment with your life and have healthy self-esteem. It’s natural for everyone to experience occasional worries, anxieties, sadness, or stress. However, if these emotions persist and disrupt your daily life, seeking assistance is crucial. Don’t hesitate to discuss your feelings and potential treatment options with your healthcare provider.

Proudly powered by CLIO Mother and Child Institute

Scroll to Top