Pre-pregnancy planning checklist:

  • See your doctor for routine blood tests and health check
  • Stop smoking
  • Stop alcohol and other social drugs
  • Reduce caffeine intake if heavy
  • Review your medications and make sure they are safe for conception
  • Follow a healthy diet and develop a good exercise routine
  • Take iodine and folic acid
  • Ensure Rubella and Varicella immunity
  • Ensure cervical screening test and STI checks are up to date
  • Understand your menstrual cycle and fertile time of the month
  • Consider family history and genetic counselling/screening
  • Ensure your dental health is in order
  • Ensure you eat freshly cooked and prepared food and know what food to avoid
Vitamin supplements:

There are many pregnancy multivitamins on the market to choose from. Make sure you are these two vitamins, either in a pregnancy supplement or on their own:
  • Folic Acid: 0.4mg daily (tablets generally come in 0.5mg strength) at least one month before falling pregnant and for the first 3 months of pregnancy. This reduces the risk of having a baby with neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
  • Iodine: Pregnant women need 150mcg iodine daily for production of thyroid hormones which are essential to the development of the fetus.
What about omega-3 fish oil supplements?

There’s no official recommendation that pregnant women should take a fish oil supplement but some research suggests that babies born to women taking omega-3 long-chain fatty acids weigh a little more, are less likely to be born early, but more research is needed. If you eat some oily fish each week, you probably don’t need to take a supplement. If fish is not part of your diet, you may consider taking a supplement that fits these criteria:


Rubella (German Measles): Rubella infection in pregnancy can be harmful to your baby. Most Australian women have been vaccinated but immunity can wear off with time and the vaccine is not recommended during pregnancy. Have your Rubella level checked when planning pregnancy and if you need a booster then avoid falling pregnant within one month of your vaccination.

Varicella (Chicken Pox): Chicken Pox in pregnancy can also be harmful to both you and your baby. Like Rubella, you can have your levels checked and if you are not immune there is a vaccine available but you will need to have it at least a month before getting pregnant.

Listeria is a common bacteria which can contaminate food and can be dangerous to your fetus if contracted during pregnancy. Remember to carefully wash raw vegetables, thoroughly cook all foods of animal origin and avoid the following:
  • Unprocessed foods such as unpasteurised milk
  • Soft cheeses
  • Cold processed meats
  • Raw and smoked seafoods
  • Pates
  • Pre-cut fruits and salads that are not fresh

More information

For more information about planning a healthy pregnancy including work & career, pregnancy without a male partner and lifestyle considerations, chat to us or visit the Royal Women’s Hospital website :

The Royal Women's Hospital

Preparing for a healthy pregnancy