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Preparing for Pregnancy
Thinking about getting pregnant?
A developing baby is very vulnerable during the early days, often before you even know you are pregnant. Making sure that both you and your partner are healthy before you get pregnant is important in helping you have a healthy pregnancy and gives your baby a good start. Taking care of yourself before pregnancy can make a healthier baby. For both parents, changes are not always easy but making healthy choices can help increase your chances of getting pregnant and growing a healthy family.
Things you can do to help ensure a healthy pregnancy:
- Talk with your health care provider if you are planning a pregnancy
- Ensure your vaccinations are up to date
- Eat healthy & get active
- Take folic acid before getting pregnant
Nutrition Before Pregnancy
Positive health habits, including eating well before, between pregnancies, and while trying to conceive, benefit you and your baby. Follow Canada’s Food Guide to ensure both you and your baby are getting all the nutrients you need while supporting their growth and development.
Even if you are not thinking about getting pregnant now but might be someday, start taking a daily vitamin supplement with 0.4 mg of folic acid as a developing baby is very vulnerable during the early days, often before you even know you are pregnant. Taking a folic acid supplement before and during pregnancy can reduce the risks of some congenital disorders (Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada). Visit our Nutrition During Pregnancy page for more information.
The time before pregnancy is a great opportunity to develop positive health habits to help increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy for whenever you are ready to get pregnant. In addition to healthy eating, this includes physical activity, sleep, positive mental health, up to date immunizations, and practicing safe sex. Even if you are not planning on having children, these health habits are still beneficial for your overall wellbeing.
When you are ready to start planning a pregnancy, speak to your health care provider. Visit the Pregnancy section of our website to learn more about what to expect while pregnant.
Men's Health and Fertility
Practicing positive health habits can improve the quality and quantity of your sperm. Men's reproductive health plays an essential role during conception. Factors that affect sperm production include health conditions, nutrition, tobacco and cannabis use, alcohol, and heat exposure. For more information, speak to your local health care provider.
Sleep Before Pregnancy
Practicing good sleep habits benefits your overall health. Adults should aim for 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Source: 24 Hour Movement Guideline
For more tips, visit our page on Sleep or Participaction
Physical Activity Before Pregnancy
An active lifestyle improves the chances of a healthy pregnancy. Being physically active before conception and continuing throughout pregnancy is ideal, but a physically active lifestyle can start at any time.
Visit our Physical Activity for Adults and Physical Activity During Pregnancy pages for more information.
Mental Health Before Pregnancy
Positive mental health and well-being is equally important as physical health.
Pregnancy can lead to a lot of changes in your body, life and lifestyle. You may feel excited, nervous, stressed, or worried, along with a range of other emotions. Prioritizing your mental health before you become pregnant can help prepare you for this transition in life and can help you develop a strong relationship with your baby when they are born.
Take time to:
- Connect with others
- Practice mindfulness and gratitude
- Be physically active
- Try something new
- Get involved in something you are passionate about
Five Ways to Well-being –Simple Steps to Improve Your Mental Well-being developed by the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, Northern Ireland 2013.
Five Ways to Well-being’ Foresight Report developed by the New Economics Foundation 2008.
Mental Health (timiskaminghu.com)
Quitting Smoking Before Pregnancy
Quitting or smoking less before and during pregnancy can help improve fertility and the likelihood of a safe pregnancy. As often as possible, avoid second-hand smoke by making sure your home and car are smoke-free environments.
How can I quit smoking?
- Set a date to quit and a decide on a plan (e.g., nicotine replacement therapy, attend a group).
- Ask family, friends and roommates for support and understanding.
- Throw out your cigarettes, lighters, matches and ashtrays.
- Get rid of reminders of tobacco in your home, office and car.
- Be aware of your smoking triggers and plan ahead for ways to cope.
- Practise new ways to handle stress.
- Stock up on sugarless gum, hard candies and carrot sticks.
It takes planning and effort to quit smoking. The sooner you quit, the better.
You can increase your chances of quitting with help from Smokers Helpline (1-877-513-5333 or smokershelpline.ca), Pregnets (pregnets.org) or check out STOP on the Net (nicotinedependenceclinic.com/en/stop).
Visit our Quitting Smoking page for more information and resources.