The decision to have a baby is one of the biggest you will make in your lifetime. When you are ready to take this step, there are a few things you can do to have a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Schedule a preconception visit with your doctor before you try to get pregnant. During this visit, you can discuss your health and get advice on how to prepare your body for pregnancy.

If you have health problems (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, overweight or obesity), your doctor can prescribe medicines or lifestyle changes to help control these problems before pregnancy.

You will want to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take. He can determine whether they are safe to take while trying to get pregnant or during pregnancy. For example, if you are taking isotretinoin (an acne medicine), you must stop it before pregnancy. You may also be advised to avoid aspirin, some types of antidepressants, antihistamines, antibiotics, anticoagulants (used to treat blood clotting disorders), and anticonvulsants (used to treat seizure disorders). But, do not stop taking prescription medicines without talking to your doctor.

During the preconception visit, your doctor may do tests to determine whether you have had rubella or a rubella vaccination, have sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and/or hepatitis, or have other health problems, such as anemia. If you have not had all of your immunizations, especially rubella, you should have that done at least three months before getting pregnant.

Finally, if serious genetic diseases run in your family, such as cystic fibrosis or sickle cell anemia, talk to your doctor about whether you or your partner should have genetic testing before becoming pregnant.