14 Things to Consider When Planning for Pregnancy

November 4th, 2023 | 6:22 am


Planning for pregnancy is an essential step that lays the foundation for a healthy and joyful journey into parenthood. Preconception planning not only increases the chances of a successful pregnancy but also ensures the well-being of both the mother and the child. Even before the first pregnancy test shows a positive result, preparing to have children is a monumental task. When trying to conceive, there are many things to consider, from making lifestyle adjustments to choosing the best prenatal vitamins, and it can all seem overwhelming.

If you’re currently preparing for pregnancy, we’re here to support you. We will delve into the importance of preconception planning and outline 14 critical factors to consider when preparing for pregnancy.

Preconception Planning – Why Is It Important?

Preconception planning, also known as preconception care, refers to the steps taken to prepare for a healthy pregnancy before conception occurs. It is a crucial aspect of reproductive health, as it can significantly impact the health of the mother and the baby. Here are some reasons why preconception planning is of paramount importance:

  • Optimising Fertility – Planning for pregnancy involves understanding the woman’s menstrual cycle, tracking ovulation, and identifying the most fertile period. This knowledge can improve the chances of conception.
  • Identifying Health Issues – Preconception planning includes a thorough health assessment for both partners. This helps in identifying and addressing any underlying health issues, such as diabetes or hypertension, which can affect pregnancy.
  • Minimising Pregnancy Risks – By addressing health concerns and making lifestyle changes, preconception planning can help reduce the risks of complications during pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
  • Healthy Lifestyle Choices – It encourages adopting a healthier lifestyle through proper nutrition, exercise, and stress management, which are essential for the well-being of both mother and baby.
  • Mental and Emotional Preparation – Preparing mentally and emotionally for parenthood is crucial. Couples can discuss their expectations, parenting styles, and emotional readiness during this stage.

14 Things to consider while getting ready for pregnancy

  1. Consult a Healthcare Provider – The first and most crucial step in preconception planning is to consult with a healthcare provider. Doctors can offer advice, conduct health checks, and prescribe any required immunizations or lifestyle modifications. Prior to conception, both partners should undergo a comprehensive health check-up. This ensures that any underlying health issues are identified and addressed. It also allows the healthcare provider to tailor advice and guidance based on the individual health status of each partner.
  2. Track Menstrual Cycle – Understanding the menstrual cycle is crucial for identifying fertile days. A woman can narrow down when she may ovulate and when the viable window may be by knowing the duration of her cycle and noting the date of her menstruation. This can assist in determining when the optimal moment to have conception sex is. Several methods and apps are available to help track ovulation and improve the chances of conception.
  3. Stop using contraceptives – Even though it may seem apparent, a woman who is using any method of contraception (such as the intrauterine device (IUD), the pill, or an implant) may wish to consult a doctor about the best approach to stop using it. She may be able to become pregnant again right away depending on the kind she is taking. Some individuals’ cycles may not return to normal for several months, though.
  4. Use a pregnancy dietary supplement – When preparing the body for pregnancy, choosing the appropriate vitamins, minerals, and supplements can be challenging. However, folic acid is one to become familiar with. Folic acid is crucial for preventing neural tube defects in the baby. It’s recommended that women of childbearing age take a folic acid supplement, ideally starting three months before conception, at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily.
  5. Enquire about the family’s medical history – Discuss potential hereditary disorders or chronic illnesses that have run in one’s family with the parents and other family members. The couple should ask their relatives whether they have ever had problems conceiving and how long it took them to do so. Although it might seem like a private conversation, it can help you understand the process of conception. If there is a family history of genetic disorders, consider genetic counselling to assess the risk and explore available options.
  6. Vaccination – Ensure that you are up-to-date on vaccinations. Some vaccinations, like the rubella vaccine, should be administered before conception to protect both the mother and the baby. To protect against the flu and certain types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), you might also choose to receive additional vaccinations.
  7. Dental Health – Oral health is often overlooked but can affect pregnancy. Gum disease has been linked to preterm birth, so maintaining good dental hygiene is essential. The body’s response to plaque may be affected by the higher levels of hormones in women, which can result in bleeding and swollen gums. Regular checkups are essential for maintaining good oral hygiene. If you experience gum pain or persistent bleeding that does not improve with brushing and flossing twice a day, consult a dental professional.
  8. Nutrition and Diet – A well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, including folic acid, iron, and calcium, is crucial for a healthy pregnancy. Women should consider taking prenatal vitamins to ensure they meet their nutritional needs. It may also be a good idea to mentally prepare for any dietary adjustments that may be required before attempting to conceive.
  9. Exercise Regularly: It should come as no surprise that exercise is strongly advised during early pregnancy and when attempting to conceive because moving and stretching the body on a daily basis benefits both the body and the mind. Regular physical activity can help with weight management and stress reduction. However, it’s essential to discuss the appropriate level of exercise with a doctor.
  10. Reduce Stress: It may be thrilling and daunting at the same time to start preparing for pregnancy. As crucial as maintaining one’s physical health is, maintaining one’s emotional wellbeing is equally important. High levels of stress can affect fertility. Incorporating stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, or counselling can be beneficial during preconception planning.
  11. Financial Preparedness: Parenthood comes with financial responsibilities. Preconception planning includes budgeting and financial preparation to ensure that parents are ready for the costs associated with pregnancy, childbirth, and raising a child. To reduce out-of-pocket expenses, research your medical insurance to find out which clinics or organisations are covered.
  12. Maintaining a Healthy Weight – For fertility, it’s important to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Being underweight or overweight can affect hormone balance and disrupt the menstrual cycle, making it more challenging to conceive.
  13. Alcohol and Smoking – Both partners should quit smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Smoking and excessive alcohol intake can reduce fertility and increase the risk of pregnancy complications. Smoking, among other things, can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Additionally, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of issues, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and miscarriage. Moreover, it increases your baby’s chances of developing SIDS.
  14. Reducing Caffeine Intake – According to some experts, a woman should consume no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine per day while attempting to conceive and during pregnancy. If you are currently consuming more than this amount, try gradually reducing it. Consider using warm and spiced milk as an alternative.


Preconception planning is the cornerstone of a healthy and successful pregnancy journey. It empowers prospective parents with knowledge and strategies to optimise their fertility, address health issues, and minimise risks. By following the 14 factors discussed in this article, couples can significantly enhance their outcomes. Seek the guidance of healthcare professionals and stay committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle to ensure a happy and healthy pregnancy.

Choosing the right healthcare provider to guide you through this journey is paramount. Giggles Hospital is a leading institution renowned for its exceptional care for women and children. With a team of expert obstetricians, gynaecologists, and paediatricians, Giggles Hospital is dedicated to providing the best medical care and support for expectant mothers and newborns. From preconception planning to postpartum care, Giggles Hospital is a trusted partner, ensuring the health and happiness of both mother and child.