Becoming a new parent is great, but it’s also great to plan for your new role as a mother. That’s why you should be aware of the many things you should consider doing in preparation for a pregnancy. The possibilities include to-dos related to your health, your finances, your marriage, your career, and much more. Perhaps the most important of all of these factors though, is your health. Not only will it make it easier to conceive, but your baby will also be healthier in the womb, and you’ll reduce the possibility of complications in delivery. Here are some important health-related items to consider before you get pregnant.

You already know that smoking and drug use is negative for your health, but if you’ve been putting off trying to quit, now’s the time to do it. Your baby could suffer many adverse health effects if you are smoking cigarettes or taking drugs near conception or during pregnancy. Also, while alcohol during pregnancy is a definite no-no, it’s not necessarily off-limits while you’re trying to get pregnant. However, if you know when you’re at your most fertile each month, it’s wise to avoid drinking while you’re trying to conceive in earnest.

It might seem counterintuitive to lose weight right before you’re going to start putting on baby weight, but doing so will reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes while pregnant. In addition, you’ll be in better health overall, which can only be a positive for your baby. Of course, if you underweight, your physician may recommend adding a few pounds to increase your chances of conception.  Ideally, you need to be at the most healthy weight possible.

There’s nothing inherently bad about fish or seafood, but due to the high mercury content in today’s bodies of water, it’s safest to avoid seafood, or at least limit it to 12 ounces per week. The heavy metal accumulates in fatty tissue, so it’s a good idea to avoid foods that could contain mercury even while trying to conceive. Caffeine is something else you should go ahead and cut out of your diet now. It is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and blood pressure, and therefore, it’s not something you should take while pregnant or trying to conceive. If you happen to be in a place where you can’t go without it, use moderation and try to limit it where you can.

Perhaps the number one adjustment to make is taking folic acid supplements. You want sufficient folic acid in your system from day one, so be sure to take folic acid and/or multivitamins before you try to conceive.

Ultimately, preparing for a pregnancy is about taking care of yourself. None of the things you do to get ready for pregnancy are only helpful for the baby. You’ll be healthier by losing weight, watching what you put in your body, and getting tested for STD’s. By adopting these habits, you help improve the odds of having a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby.