My Pre-Pregnancy Checklist

A healthy pregnancy begins long before that stick turns pink. Get baby-ready with these smart steps for your life, health, and finances.

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  • Butt out: Beyond kicking your cigarette habit, steer clear of smoky bars -- inhaling secondhand stuff is just as dangerous to a developing fetus.
  • Butt in: On that note, convince your partner to stop smoking. For real. Draw a line in the sand and pick a "must-quit-by" date.
  • Party less hard: Research shows that heavy drinkers may have a harder time conceiving than sometime sippers.
  • Take to the treadmill: Moderate exercise will keep you and baby healthy during pregnancy.
  • Step on the scale: Women who weigh too much or too little may trouble conceiving
  • Kick your latte habit: Drinking three or more cups of coffee a day may raise your miscarriage risk.
  • Make sure your daily multivitamin is the prenatal kind. The extra-large dose of folic acid helps baby's nervous system develop properly.
  • Give up birth control a few months before you want to start trying so you can determine when you ovulate (the short window of time when you can actually get pregnant).
  • Find an ob-gyn you love: Ask friends for recommendations. (Don't mention the "ob" part if you're keeping your plans a secret.)
  • Make a date: A head-to-toe check-up will reveal any conditions that may impact your pregnancy, from diabetes to chlamydia.
  • Tote your meds: Have your doc review all prescriptions and OTC drugs, and suggest alternatives if any are not safe.
  • Boost your immunity: Ask your doctor if all your vaccines are up-to-date. Many are unsafe to receive once you're expecting.
  • Get molecular: If you've never been tested for genetic disorders, consider whether this is right for you.
  • Visit the dentist: Pregnancy hormonal changes make many gals prone to gingivitis. Learn whether you need to beef up your oral hygiene routine.
  • Call your insurance provider: Get the full rundown on how the company handles prenatal care. You may need to opt for an in-network MD or choose a specific hospital.
  • Phone a financial planner: It's always a good idea to chat with a pro about childcare or other expenses you anticipate.
  • Ponder your post-baby work plans: If one of you may make a career change, you'll want to start planning now.

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