Preconception checklist

Here’s a simple checklist to help you plan for a healthy pregnancy. You can download it or print it out so it’s easier to use.

Nutrition

  • Follow a healthy eating plan

    • A well-balanced and varied diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables will help get you both in good shape for starting a family.
  • Start taking pregnancy supplements

    • The first 6-8 weeks after conception are critical for your baby’s development including development of its vital organs. Yet most women, don’t know they are pregnant until after their baby starts to grow and develop.

      It can take time to build the higher level of nutrients your body will need to support you and your growing baby, and it’s difficult to guarantee you’ll get sufficient quantities through diet alone. Taking a pregnancy multivitamin and mineral supplement, such as Elevit, can help build up the essential nutrients required and help cover the needs of both mother and baby. It’s important to start taking a pregnancy multivitamin and mineral supplement such as Elevit, from at least 1 month before you try to fall pregnant.

    • Men can also take positive steps to support conception by adopting a healthier lifestyle, and being aware of sperm health in particular. Menevit is a supplement specifically formulated for male fertility to maintain sperm health for couples planning pregnancy. Ideally, Menevit should be taken daily from 3 months before trying to conceive until your pregnancy is confirmed.

Lifestyle

  • Age and fertility

    • Fertility declines for both women and men as you get older. If you have a choice about when to have a baby, consider you and your partner’s age when planning to conceive. You may wish to discuss this further with a healthcare professional.
  • Manage your weight

    • A healthy weight is essential for both of you as being over or underweight can affect your chances of conceiving. Aim for a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 18.5 and 24.99. If you’re not there yet, your doctor can suggest the best way to get to your ideal weight for planning pregnancy.
  • Quit smoking and avoid alcohol

    • The safest option is to avoid alcohol and smoking completely whilst you are trying to conceive, throughout pregnancy and when you’re breastfeeding.
    • Whilst trying to conceive, men are recommended to avoid smoking and consumption of excessive alcohol to help promote and maintain healthy sperm.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake

    • Try to keep your consumption of caffeine to a maximum of 200 mg per day, which is equivalent to about 2 espressos. Remember that caffeine can also be found in chocolate, tea, some soft and energy drinks too.
  • Reduce stress levels

    • Stress can affect your relationship and reduce your sex drive. Try stress management techniques like yoga and meditation if you need to relax.
  • Track your ovulation

    • Knowing when you’re likely to ovulate will help you work out the best time for baby making. Use our simple ovulation calendar or buy an ovulation predictor kit from your local pharmacy to help identify your fertile window and increase your chances of conceiving. If you’ve been using contraception like an implant, the pill or an injection, it can take a while for your fertility to return. Ask your doctor for the right advice when you want to stop using contraception.

  • Develop a good exercise habit

    • An active lifestyle and regular, moderate exercise will help you both get in good shape for starting a family. Why not do it together!

Important checks

  • Visit your doctor

    • It’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare professional about trying to conceive. They can advise you on important areas like tests that may be required, current medications you may be taking and vaccinations that are recommended when planning pregnancy. They can also help you take into consideration any important information from your family medical history. If you are taking contraception, ask about advice before discontinuing use.
    • It’s also a good time for your partner to talk with their healthcare professional for advice on the things they can do to help with planning for pregnancy.
  • Visit the dentist

    • See your dentist for a check up to ensure you’re in good oral health and have any necessary treatments before you try to conceive.
  • Review your private health cover

    • If you intend to use private health during pregnancy and birth, check your policy entitlements. You may need cover for at least 12 months before you become pregnant.
  • Check your maternity leave conditions

    • It’s a good idea to understand your maternity and paternity leave entitlements at work, and any responsibilities you may have to your employer.
  • Claim Government financial benefits

    • The Government has a number of financial benefits you may be able to claim. Check your eligibility for Paid Parental Leave or the Family Tax Benefit with the Department of Human Services or call Centrelink on 13 61 50.

  • And finally...

    • Good luck with your pregnancy plans! Remember to try to relax and have fun together. It’s an exciting time and there’s an amazing journey ahead.

*As of September 2014.

Always read the label. Use only as directed. If you have had a baby with a neural tube defect / spina bifida seek specific medical advice. If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional.