Getting pregnant may be the easy part – changing your life around to prepare for baby may be a little harder. There are a number of things you need to avoid prior to even thinking about trying to conceive.


Don’t keep drinking five or six cups of coffee every day in addition to tons of soda and tea. Caffeine intake should be limited to 200 mg per day or less prior to conception.

OTC Drugs

Write down all over-the-counter (OTC) medications you are currently taking and check with your doctor for safety precautions. Not all OTC medications are safe for use during pregnancy. You need to change the medications you take or stop taking elective OTC medications before getting pregnant if the drugs pose a risk to the pregnancy or fetus.

Prescription Drugs

Changing prescription drugs can take much longer than switching your brand of OTC multivitamin. Talk with your doctor about your desire to conceive. The doctor will review all medications you are currently taking for contraindications. Remember to report all OTC medications and prescriptions from other doctors, including topical prescriptions.

Street Drugs

Stop taking street drugs before trying to conceive. Street drugs, including but not limited to heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and crack are not safe for use before, during or after pregnancy. If you need help quitting, contact your family physician or someone you trust to help you find medical assistance and/or counseling.


There is no safe amount of alcohol you can consume during pregnancy, so quit drinking before you get pregnant to be safe. Most women do not find out they are pregnant for at least six weeks into the pregnancy. During that time, if you consume alcohol you are increasing the risk of fetal complications and possibly birth defects. If you need help to stop drinking, contact your local hospital or your family physician for information on how to reach an alcohol counselor.

Cat Litter

After you conceive you will need to find someone else to change that cat litter box. A parasite present in the intestine of some cats can pass out of the body into cat litter with fecal matter. If you come in contact with the parasite you may feel mild flu-like symptoms, but the same parasite can cause birth defects or miscarriage. Infection can occur during the first few weeks of pregnancy before you know you are pregnant.

Pregnancy-Banned Foods

Why wait until after pregnancy to stop eating foods banned during pregnancy? Skip the unpasteurized cheeses, lunch meat and undercooked meats. Start washing all vegetables prior to consuming. Lunch meat and unwashed vegetables can carry the bacteria listeria, dangerous during pregnancy. Undercooked meats can carry E Coli among other dangerous bugs.

Supplements and Herbs

OTC supplements and herbs move directly from the manufacturer to the shelf. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not play a role in these products unless there is a health issue reported that concerns the FDA. It is safe to say no supplements or herbs are tested on pregnant women and thus safety is impossible to prove.

Long-Term or Elective Treatments

If you are thinking about conceiving, now is not the time to start a six-month cellulite reduction program or a three-month dental treatment. Remember you could conceive as soon as the first time, so plan for early conception and you will see just how impossible long-term or elective treatments are at this time. If you must complete a treatment regime prior to conceiving, use birth control until the treatment is complete unless your doctor approves the procedure for use during pregnancy. Signing up for three to six months of weekly massages is an excellent idea even if you are trying to conceive. Massage reduces stress – perfect for preconception health. Check with your doctor before starting long-term or elective treatment.

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