Thinking about getting pregnant or trying to? Congratulations! Making sure you and your partner are in good health before you get pregnant can help improve the health of your future baby.
There are many things you can do to get yourself ready to have a baby. Visit Health Before Pregnancy: Is There a Baby in Your Future? to learn how to get yourself ready to start a family.
When pregnancies are planned, you have time to make sure you are healthy and ready to have a baby. One way to do this is to create a reproductive life plan. These life plans help you to set goals and see where children may fit into those goals.
Reproductive life plans get you to think about:
- Your general medical health and your family health history
- Your mental health
- Who is there to support you
See your health care provider if you are planning on having a baby within the next few years.
Make an appointment to speak to your health care provider about planning for a healthy pregnancy and what you can do to prepare. Your health care provider will ask a series of health questions about you, your partner and your family history. Questions may include topics such as:
- Medical conditions you and your partner may have
- Your family and genetic history
- Your immunization status
- When you were last tested for sexually transmitted infections
- Your reproductive history
- Your job and any risks
For more information:
- Reproductive Options for Trans People – Rainbow Health Ontario
- Waiting for Baby: Pregnancy After Age 35 – Best Start Resource Centre
- Men’s information – How to Build a Healthy Baby – Best Start Resource Centre
- Work and Pregnancy Do Mix – Best Start Resource Centre
- PregnancyInfo.ca (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada)
It is best to quit smoking before you try to get pregnant, as smoking can affect your ability to have a baby and the overall health of your baby. Keeping your own and car smoke-free also has its benefits for everyone around you.
If you are planning to become pregnant, it is safest not to drink any alcohol at all. There is no known safe level of alcohol use during pregnancy and alcohol can affect the health of your growing baby.
Avoid using recreational/street drugs because they can have serious effects on your ability to have a baby and will have serious effects on a developing baby. If you are taking prescription medication, over-the-counter medication or herbal products, speak to your health care provider to see if they are safe to take when trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy.
To help you quit drugs and/or alcohol, there are many local services that offer support:
- Addiction Services Thames Valley – 519.673.3242
- Connex Ontario – 1.800.565.8603
- Narcotics Anonymous – 1.855.562.2262
- Alcoholics Anonymous – 519.633.0430
For more information on smoking, alcohol and drugs before/during pregnancy:
Live a healthy lifestyle
Good nutrition during pregnancy ensures that your baby gets the nutrients they need to grow and develop (not about weight!).
It is recommended that you eat a well-balanced diet following Canada’s Food Guide, choosing to eat “twice as healthy” and not twice as much. 30 minutes of light daily exercise – including walking, gardening, housework and swimming – are safe activities during pregnancy that can help keep you healthy.
For more information:
It is recommended that woman take a daily multivitamin with 0.4 mg folic acid. Since so many pregnancies are unplanned, it is helpful if women take folic acid daily, just in case. Talk to your health care provider to find out if you need more than this recommended amount.
Take care of your mental health. If you or your family have experienced mental health issues, talk to your health care provider about where to find support and medicated that are safe to use during pregnancy.
Take time to relax. High levels of stress can affect your ability to have a baby. There are many ways to help you reduce stress in your life, including getting at least seven hours of sleep every night and connecting with friends and family for support.
If you are concerned about your mental health:
- Talk to your health care provider
- Call the Canadian Mental Health Association – Oxford: 519.539.8055 Elgin: 519.633.1781
- Call Connex Ontario’s mental health helpline – 1.866.531.2600
For more information:
- Mental Health While Pregnant or Planning a Pregnancy – Best Start Resource Center
A healthy relationship is respectful, trusting and supportive. This is important for your overall health, as well as the health of your future baby.
Abuse often starts or gets worse during pregnancy. There are many forms of abuse within intimate relationships that can be harmful to you and your baby.
If you have previously experienced a pregnancy loss or are thinking of trying again after a loss, this can be a difficult time for you and your partner. It is important to allow yourself the time to grieve the loss. The support of others around you is very important during this period. Only you and your partner will know when you are ready to try again.