March 2023

How to prepare your body for pregnancy

Being healthy increases your chances of getting pregnant, having a complications-free pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy baby. Many women realize that their lifestyle habits may need to change in order to conceive a baby easier and faster, as well as to carry to term. However, not that many are aware that preconception checks of their health are equally important. [1] An interesting but not surprising fact is that half of women who attend doctor’s consultation before trying to conceive are more likely to adopt a healthy lifestyle before their pregnancy. [2]


How early to start preparing 

Preconception health starts with a full checkup and a doctor consultation when you can ask about any chronic conditions that can affect pregnancy. This checkup can be done as early as three months before starting to try to get pregnant. If you have any conditions that can affect your pregnancy you may have to begin preparing earlier. It is a good idea to do this consultation even if you already had a child as your body might have changed since then. 


body for pregnancy


What does a preconception checkup involve

At the preconception checkup your healthcare provider will make sure that your body is in optimal condition to sustain a pregnancy. They will do some blood work to make sure that you don’t have any vitamin or mineral deficiencies or undiagnosed illnesses. The doctor might also check that your vaccinations are up to date and will most probably prescribe you to take folic acid to prevent the formation of any prenatal defects. [3]

Folic acid, or folate is a vitamin from the B group that is essential for cell division and growth and therefore is extremely important for the normal development of a baby. Folic acid can prevent birth defects in the brain and spinal cord. For this, all women who want to get pregnant should take 400 mcg of folate daily for 3 months before and during the first 12 weeks of their pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may also prescribe prenatal multivitamins in conjunction with folate to provide your body and the baby with additional nutrients.

The healthcare provider may ask you about your family health history, which includes any previous conditions you, your partner and your family may have had. This might help the doctor prepare for any possible problems in conceiving a baby, and for complications of your pregnancy brought up by hereditary diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure or Lupus. 

What to do to prepare for a pregnancy by yourself

Stop taking birth control pills. This may sound obvious, but sometimes we act on autopilot and when something has become a habit we cease noticing it. You can potentially get pregnant right after you have stopped taking the pill so make sure you are ready first. 

Start recording your ovulation cycle. It is important to be aware of when your most fertile time of the month is. Nowadays, there are many apps and calendar features that make it very easy to keep track of the ovulation period.

Achieve an optimal weight. Both being overweight and underweight may prevent you from conceiving. Having a normal BMI [body mass index] and a healthy diet, rich in nutrients and vitamins with an increased intake of protein and healthy fats, are the optimal conditions for getting pregnant and carrying to term. [4]

Get your stress levels under control. This may not be directly related to getting pregnant but it is proven that elevated stress affects the regularity of menstrual cycles and can delay the process. [5]




[1]Khan, N. A., Boyle, J., Lang, A. Y., & Harrison, C. L. (2019). Preconception Health Attitudes and Behaviours of Women: A Qualitative Investigation. Nutrients, 11(7), 1490.
[2]Stephenson, J., Patel, D., Barrett, G., Howden, B., Copas, A., Ojukwu, O., Pandya, P., & Shawe, J. (2014). How Do Women Prepare for Pregnancy? Preconception Experiences of Women Attending Antenatal Services and Views of Health Professionals. PLOS ONE, 9(7), e103085.
[3]How to Prepare for Pregnancy. (2022, February 8). Johns Hopkins Medicine.
[4]Steps to take before you get pregnant: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.).
[5]Kaput, K. (2023, January 19). How To Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy. Cleveland Clinic.