Preconception Checklist

A healthy pregnancy starts long before you test positive. Here's what to do before you get pregnant:


See your doctor several months before you want to conceive—and bring your partner. Doing so may help you prevent birth defects, pregnancy complications or prematurity, the March of Dimes reports.

Tell your doctor about any prescription or over-the-counter drugs or herbal remedies that you are taking.

Begin taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid daily.

Keep a calendar of your menstrual cycle. It may help you conceive sooner and estimate your due date more accurately. Make sure your vaccinations, especially for chickenpox and rubella, are up to date.

Have any necessary dental work done: Gum disease has been linked to premature labor; and you'll want to avoid X-rays when you're pregnant.

Stop smoking (your partner should, too) and drinking alcohol.

Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages to just 24 ounces a day.

Get any chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, under control.

Have your thyroid checked. "Both hyper- and hypothyroidism can be associated with pregnancy loss," says Dallas OB-GYN Susan Watts, M.D.

If you're very over- or underweight, you may not ovulate normally; try for a healthier weight.

Try our Ovulation Calculator to find out when you're most likely to conceive >>