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Before a couple starts trying to get pregnant, a critical look at their health and lifestyle is in order. There are many things that they can do to increase their chances of conceiving sooner, and having a healthy baby. Sometimes, making an actual preconception checklist can be helpful. What are the most important factors that will help you get pregnant, and promote your and your future baby's health?

Eliminate unhealthy lifestyle habits. This goes for both partners. Smoking and drinking are the big ones, but if your diet is less than balanced and is largely fast-food based, it is time to make some serious changes as well. Stress is bad for you too, but that is not something you can always avoid. Some women like to get in shape or lose some weight before trying to get pregnant. Start taking a prenatal supplement before you actually start trying to conceive. Folic acid is one of the most important ones, but calcium, magnesium, Vitamin D, and others are also crucial. It is possible to get all of these from foods, but difficult to do so in sufficient amounts for most people in the Western world. Taking a supplement reassures you that your future baby will get everything it will need. Start using an ovulation calendar so you have a good idea of when you are most fertile, and plan intercourse in these days in advance. Ovulation tests help you get more certainty about when you are ovulating. This is a dream combination! Talk about your feelings surrounding pregnancy and parenting with your partner. Why is this on a preconception checklist? Obviously, this does not increase your chances of getting pregnant, but it does increase your chances of having a harmonious relationship! Start planning how you will handle maternity leave, how a baby is going to impact your career, whether you want to have one parent at home with the baby or you want a two-income family, and so on. All of these are big chances that work better with advance planning.

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