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Planning on trying to conceive? Before you attempt to turn that minus sign into a plus sign on a pregnancy test, you may want to take some time to ensure that you are ready, both physically and mentally, for both pregnancy and parenthood.

Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy

There are several important things that you should do before becoming pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy:

•    Optimize your weight- being too heavy or underweight can decrease your chances of becoming pregnant and/or lead to complications during pregnant. If you are planning to become pregnant, you may want to try to shed those extra pounds (or gain a little if you are underweight). You want to enter a pregnancy as healthy as you can be. If you are struggling with your weight, consider talking to your doctor or a nutritionist.

•    Eat a healthy diet- you boost your chances of becoming pregnant when you are healthy. You will also be laying the groundwork for a healthy pregnancy (and a healthy baby) by eating properly before you get pregnant. Enlist your spouse or partner’s assistance- after all, he, too, has a vested interest in helping you to eat well and healthily. And you will both need to be in peak physical condition for those long sleepless nights to come!

•    Quit smoking- smoking can lead to fertility problems, low birth weight babies, premature labor and a host of other problems for both mother and baby. If you are planning to become pregnant, throw those cigarettes away. Ask your doctor for help with quitting smoking if needed. Remember to also avoid secondhand smoke, which can be just as harmful. Ask others not to smoke around you. If your spouse or partner smokes, they should also join you in your effort to quit. Cigarette smoking can also affect male fertility.

•    Start prenatal vitamins- you can start taking prenatal vitamins before you are pregnant. Folic acid and iron are two things that your body will need in larger quantities when you become pregnant, so you can start ahead of time to ensure that you are getting enough of these by supplementing. Ask your physician about starting on a maternal vitamin regimen while you are trying to conceive.

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