A Preconception Checklist

Lifestyle and Relationship Issues

____ Say good-bye to alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. If you can't kick the habit alone, get help from your doctor, your company's Employee Assistance Program, or support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

____ Get some sleep. All-nighters can wreak havoc on your health -- and possibly, your fertility.

____ Minimize stress. If possible, postpone stressful situations such as moving or changing jobs.

____ Confront your demons. Childhood traumas, like losing a parent or being emotionally or physically abused, can profoundly impact your ability to parent. Unpack your emotional baggage now -- preferably with the help of a therapist, clergyman, or other professional -- to avoid passing it on to your kids.

____ Address issues in your relationship. While babies can make a happy marriage even happier, they don't cure unhappy ones. If you're dissatisfied with your relationship, get help now.

____ Discuss expectations with your partner and other family members. Expecting your mom to take care of the baby while you go back to work? Make sure she knows it. Similarly, talk with your partner about splitting child-care and household responsibilities after the baby comes.

Originally published in the November 2010 issue of Parents magazine.

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others

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