The information below outlines the steps you can take to plan for a healthy pregnancy.

A visit to your doctor

Book in to see your doctor 3-6 months before trying to become pregnant. Your doctor will help you plan for your pregnancy, including talking about:

  • health issues that may need to be managed
  • conditions that can be passed from parent to baby, and any recommended tests
  • vaccines you may need.

Talk with your doctor about any prescribed or herbal medication you are taking and whether they are safe to take when planning a pregnancy.

It's also a good idea to ask about when your next cervical screen is due and breast self-examination during and after pregnancy.

Smoking, alcohol and other drugs

Cigarette smoking, excess alcohol and other drugs (e.g. marijuana) can affect women and men's fertility, making it harder to become pregnant.

Smoking, drinking alcohol and using drugs can also harm the baby in pregnancy. If you or your partner need help to quit smoking, alcohol or other drugs, contact your doctor who can offer advice and refer you to support services.

As caffeine can affect fertility, it's recommended that women planning pregnancy drink no more than 1 to 2 cups of coffee each day. Caffeine is also in tea, cola and energy drinks.

A visit to your dentist

Pregnancy hormones and morning sickness can increase the risk of having dental problems. A dental check-up is recommended before you become pregnant to correct any existing problems.

The dentist can also talk with you about how to keep your teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy.

At home and work

Check with your doctor and workplace about any health risks in your home or at work.

Wear masks and gloves when using chemicals like cleaning products or pesticides and when touching used cat litter and gardening soils.

Washing your hands can also help you avoid viruses that may be harmful in early pregnancy.

You can contact MotherSafe if you are concerned about exposures during pregnancy.

Mental health and wellbeing

Looking after your mental health and having the support of people you love and trust (partner, family or friends) are important when planning for pregnancy.

If you have experienced mental health issues in the past or you are taking medication, talk with your doctor, mental health worker or psychiatrist about your plans to become pregnant.

You can also contact Beyond Blue or COPE.

Domestic and family violence

Domestic and family violence has a big impact on the health of families, especially on women and children.

Domestic and family violence can affect a baby before birth. If a pregnant woman is injured, the baby can also be harmed. The stress of living with violence also has a major impact on pregnant women that can affect how the baby develops.

If you are concerned for your safety call the police, talk with a health professional or someone you trust, or call the Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 656 463 (free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week).


If you are planning to become pregnant, before you travel check the latest advice about recommended vaccines and ways to avoid infections. Some viruses and infections can cause miscarriage or harm to your baby.

Nutrition, weight and exercise

Regular activity and a well-balanced diet including fresh fruit and vegetables will help you prepare for a healthy pregnancy.

Being above or below a healthy weight may make it harder to become pregnant. Ask your doctor to check if you are a healthy weight. If you need to lose or gain weight, talk with your doctor about the best way to do this

Pelvic floor exercises are recommended before, during and after pregnancy as they can protect against weak bladder, a common problem for women after childbirth.

Folic acid and iodine supplements

Folic acid and iodine are needed for the healthy development of your baby's brain and nervous system. It can take time to build up these nutrients.

A daily supplement containing folic acid and iodine is recommended when you are planning pregnancy. You can buy these supplements at most pharmacies and supermarkets.

Be sure to check the supplement contains at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folate and 150mcg of iodine.

It's also a good idea to have your iron levels tested to see if supplements are needed. Low iron levels can reduce your chances of becoming pregnant.

Getting care early

As soon as you are pregnant, or think you are, book in to see your doctor who will help you plan for your pregnancy.

And finally, good luck with your pregnancy plans!


You can find all the information above in the Thinking of having a baby brochure. Translations of the brochure are also available:

Contact page owner: Maternity, Child and Family