Although many couples begin to prepare for their new arrival after they’ve received the happy news, some couples like to begin preparing earlier than usual. Whether you’re actively trying for a baby - or still trying to decide - there are a number of ways you and your partner can help ensure that your future pregnancy is as healthy and stress-free as possible. From consulting with your doctor while you try to conceive, to reviewing and changing your pre-pregnancy diet, these simple tips will help get you on the right track. Take a look.

Schedule a Doctor’s Visit

As soon as you’ve decided to try for a baby, schedule a doctor’s appointment for you and your partner. It’s generally a good idea to schedule this appointment several months before trying to conceive, if possible. Once in the doctor’s office, you will want to discuss a number of key areas and concerns.

  • Firstly, discuss any pre-existing medical conditions you and your partner have. Although some conditions will be more relevant than others, it’s good to discuss any and all medical conditions with your doctor. If you’re currently on any medication, mention this to your doctor too. They will be able to advise you on the impact these medications might have and will be able to recommend alternatives, if necessary.

  • Next, you should request a blood test to find out whether you’re immune to childhood diseases, such as rubella, and also to screen for any other potential conditions. Your doctor might also ask you about any work-related hazards currently in your life. You should mention, for example, if you work around dangerous chemicals, or with animals, or in a job that requires strenuous physical activity.

  • You should also discuss your current diet and exercise habits with your doctor. If you’re not currently exercising, discuss whether it’s safe to start with your doctor. Also discuss what kinds of exercise are risky during the pre-pregnancy and pregnancy stage. In terms of your diet, you will also want to discuss how to improve your diet so as to make sure your pregnancy is a healthy one.

Lifestyle Changes

  • If you’re a smoker - and/or if your partner is too - you should give some serious thought to quitting. Not only will quitting early on help you kick the habit before you get pregnant, but it’s also been linked to healthier babies. Cutting down on alcohol intake is also advisable, for the same reasons.

  • In advance of your conception, you should start limiting your consumption of caffeine. A good rule of thumb is to limit your caffeine consumption to about 24 ounces a day.

  • Begin to take stock of your more unhealthy dietary habits. Keep a diet journal and begin to review how to cut back on unhealthy foods. Begin to cut back on fats, sweets and processed foods as much as possible. Aim for fresh fruits and vegetables, and good quality meats and products.

Improve your Diet

  • You should start following the recommended guidelines for a healthy diet. According to this, you will want to eat: 7 servings of fruits and veg; 2 servings of high-protein foods, like fish, poultry and lean beef; 3 servings of foods that are high in calcium; and around 6 servings of grains, such as brown rice, cereals and whole-grain breads.

  • Begin a course of prenatal vitamins. You should include folic acid with these vitamins.

  • Stay well hydrated. A good rule of thumb is 8 glasses of water per day.

Other Preparations

  • You might want to start keeping a calendar of your menstrual cycle. This can help you conceive quicker. Not only that, but it will also help you estimate your due date more accurately.

  • Believe it or not, gum disease may have an impact on the birth of your baby. According to recent research, gum disease has been associated with premature labour. Because you’ll want to avoid x-rays when pregnant, it will be a good idea to get dental work out of the way well in advance.