Before Becoming Pregnant

Begin with the end in mind . . . a healthy baby

Planning to become pregnant?

Things you can do to be nutritionally ready to have a baby. 

Talk to your healthcare provider about: 

  1. Any health concerns or lifestyle issues you have before you become pregnant
  2. Medications or nutritional/herbal supplements you take either prescribed or over-the-counter. Ideally, talk to them before you become pregnant in case there are any concerns with anything you take that would affect a developing baby.
  3. Taking a multi-vitamin that includes iron and folic acid.

Eat a variety of foods in moderation.

Adding variety to your diet—think about eating foods that are different colors.  Foods vary in their color according to the nutrients they contain.  The more colors of food you eat the more variety of nutrients you consume.  Try for 1-2 colors of food at snack time and 3-4 colors of food at meal times.  Moderation is usually one serving of something (roughly ¼ of your dinner plate).  The following website is an additional reference:

Avoid alcohol intake.

Avoiding alcohol intake (1) includes beer, wine and hard liquor. Also, be sure to check cold medicine and any other medications you take for alcohol content.

Limit caffeine intake to 200 milligrams or less per day.

In order to limit your intake to 200 mgs of caffeine per day during pregnancy (1), check labels of beverages, food and medicine for caffeine content.  Also consider, there might be a non-caffeinated version of that beverage, food or medicine.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Have a conversation with your healthcare provider about the best weight for you to conceive and achieve a healthy pregnancy.

Ideally, make these suggestions part of your life before becoming pregnant.

Otherwise, try to make these changes as soon as you can after becoming pregnant to be in the best nutritional shape for your pregnancy.



  1. Position of the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics: Nutrition and Lifestyle for a Healthy Pregnancy Outcome, J. Acad of Nutr & Dietetics. 2014; 114:1099-1101.

Written by Sherri L. Gartner, RD, IBCLC, Copyright 2015

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