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When you’re pregnant, your body has a very important job to do for 9 months. If you’re planning to have a baby soon, there are some simple things you can start doing now to make sure you’re physically ready for a healthy baby bump.

Get to a Healthy Weight

If you’re overweight or underweight, it may be harder to get pregnant. Your weight affects whether your ovaries will release an egg, or ovulate, each month. Extra pounds also make you more likely to have some health problems during pregnancy, like gestational diabetes or preeclampsia, a type of high blood pressure.

You should get pregnant more easily if you lose or gain weight before you start trying for a baby. Be sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. If you are very overweight, don’t worry about trying to slim down to half your size. Losing at least some weight will help.

Take Vitamins

Prenatal vitamins are important for pregnant women, but you should start taking them before you get pregnant.  Many women don't find out that they're pregnant until they miss a period, which is weeks after a baby starts to grow. If you wait that long to take vitamins, you may miss out on important protection.

Make sure you take at least 400 micrograms daily of folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects in the brain and spine. Prenatal vitamins also have iron, which is good for you and your baby. It helps a baby's muscles grow and helps you avoid anemia, when your body has too few red blood cells. Calcium is key for your and your baby’s bones, muscles, nerves, and heart.

Before you start taking any supplements, though, check in with your doctor about which ones and how much are right for you.

Think About Chemicals

Some chemicals, like pesticides, solvents, and fertilizers, can make it harder for you to get pregnant or could harm your baby after you conceive. Think about your environment at home and at work, and talk to your doctor about what’s safe and what you should avoid. If your job involves radiation, mercury, or lead, ask your employer about how you can protect yourself or see if you can change your duties.

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