If you’re thinking about having a baby, there are a few things you can do before conceiving to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Learn what board-certified obstetrician (OB) Cory Miller, MD, recommends as you prepare for the journey into motherhood.

How do I choose an OB?

One of your first decisions is to choose an obstetrician. It’s a very personal choice, and we want you to feel comfortable with whom you choose. Trusting they are capable to care for you in an emergency and will listen to you and hear your needs is important, but it’s also crucial to choose someone whose personality works well with yours. If you don’t have an established relationship, you can schedule a consult with an OB before becoming pregnant to see how you two connect.

Once you’ve chosen your OB, we encourage you to ask any questions you have and work together to optimize your health for the coming pregnancy.

What should I do before becoming pregnant?

Many lifestyle factors improve the chances of pregnancy and keep you and your baby healthy throughout the nine months. If you smoke, vape or use tobacco products, we encourage cessation immediately, as it can cause complications, including miscarriage. To reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and other issues during pregnancy, it’s important to eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. We also recommend beginning a prenatal vitamin before becoming pregnant, as it provides essential nutrients and can even cause less nausea and vomiting during the first trimester.

How long does it take to get pregnant after stopping birth control?

It depends on your chosen method of birth control. Women using the birth control pill, the patch or NuvaRing are typically able to get pregnant the first cycle after stopping their birth control — although it may take one or two cycles to return to normal fertility. For women coming off the Depo-Provera shot, it may take three to six months to reach normal fertility, while those who use an intrauterine device (IUD) are usually able to conceive as soon as it is removed.

Every woman’s experience with conception and pregnancy is different, but by planning ahead and working together with your trusted OB, you can better prepare your body and improve the likelihood of both a healthy mom and baby.

Cory Miller, MD, is an OB-GYN with BJC Medical Group located on the Progress West Hospital campus. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Miller by calling 636.928.WELL.