Trying to Conceive? 10 Tips for a Healthy Start to Your Pregnancy

You and your partner have decided it's time to begin trying to conceive. How exciting! But, what now?

Learn 10 ways to get the best start for a healthy, happy pregnancy

1. Share your dreams and visions with your partner. Ask your partner about his hopes for the future. Spend time with children and babies and couples with babies. Talk about childspacing and discipline styles. Talk with your partner about what is important in your life and what will become important when you are parents. Talk about religious upbringing, family rituals, family finances, your own parenting and childhood issues.

2. Plan your pregnancy. Use a contraceptive and protect yourself against unintentional pregnancy and against sexually transmitted infections until you and your partner are sure -- or as sure as anyone ever is -- that you want to be parents.

3. Give yourself some time. Consider spacing your pregnancies by three years or more. Babies need to be babies and deserve parents’ attention for a few years before sharing you with another sibling. Mothers are more rested, have better nutrient stores and have fewer pregnancy and postpartum complications when childbearing is intentionally spaced.

4. Start taking folic acid. Start supplementing with around 400 micrograms of folic acid each day while you are trying to conceive and for the first three months of pregnancy. This can significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

5. Care for your body. Begin a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day is an excellent way to get into shape, and is a routine that can be extended into pregnancy. Remember that the use of illicit drugs, alcohol, smoking, prescription medications and even misuse of over-the-counter drugs may harm your baby or impair your ability to conceive.

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