Preconception care can improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and having a healthy baby. If you are sexually active, talk to your doctor about your preconception health now. Preconception care should begin at least three months before you get pregnant. But some women need more time to get their bodies ready for pregnancy. Be sure to discuss your partner's health too. Ask your doctor about:
• Family planning and birth control.
• Taking folic acid.
• Vaccines and screenings, you may need, such as a Pap test and screenings for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
• Managing health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease, obesity, depression, eating disorders, and asthma. Find out how pregnancy may affect, or be affected by, health problems you have.
• Medicines you use, including over the counter, herbal, and prescription drugs and supplements.
• Ways to improve your overall health, such as reaching a healthy weight, making healthy food choices, being physically active, caring for your teeth and gums, reducing stress, quitting smoking, and avoiding alcohol.
• How to avoid illness.
• Hazards in your workplace or home that could harm you or your baby.
• Health problems that run in your or your partner's family.
• Problems you have had with prior pregnancies, including preterm birth.
• Family concerns that could affect your health, such as domestic violence or lack of support.
Bring a list of talking points (PDF, 182 KB) to be sure you don't forget anything. If you run out of time at your visit, schedule a follow-up visit to make sure everything is covered.