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Preconception Planning: Essential Steps Before Fertility Treatments

Preconception planning is a crucial phase for any couple or individual considering fertility treatments. It's about preparing your body, mind, and life for the journey ahead—increasing your chances of a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. Here are key steps to take during this vital preparation period.

1. Schedule a Preconception Checkup with your OBGYN or Family Physican
Begin with a comprehensive preconception checkup. This includes both partners and involves a detailed medical history review, physical examination, and possibly genetic screening. The goal is to identify any health issues that could affect fertility or pregnancy outcomes. Addressing these concerns early can improve the effectiveness of fertility treatments. Make sure your PAP smear and mammogram is up to date.

2. Understand Your Fertility Status
Understanding your fertility status is essential. For women, this might involve tests to assess ovarian reserve, such as an anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) test, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) test, and an ultrasound to evaluate the ovaries and uterus. These tests can be performed by your gynecologist. Men should consider a semen analysis to evaluate sperm count, motility, and morphology. These assessments help tailor the most appropriate fertility treatment plan. You can call the office to schedule the Semen analysis.  
3. Achieve a Healthy Weight
Body weight significantly impacts fertility. Being underweight or overweight can affect hormone levels and ovulation in women and sperm production in men. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight through balanced nutrition and regular exercise can improve the chances of conception and support a healthy pregnancy.

4. Optimize Your Diet
Nutrition plays a critical role in fertility. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can boost fertility. Certain nutrients, like folic acid, zinc, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids, are particularly beneficial. Consider speaking with a nutritionist who can provide personalized dietary advice to enhance reproductive health. Make sure to start a prenatal vitamin daily.

5. Limit Caffeine and Avoid Harmful Substances
High caffeine intake, smoking, alcohol, and recreational drugs can all negatively affect fertility and should be minimized or eliminated. These substances can also harm a developing fetus, so it's best to avoid them in the preconception period and throughout pregnancy.

6. Manage Stress
Stress management is an often-overlooked aspect of preconception care. High stress levels can interfere with ovulation and reduce sperm quality. Techniques such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, counseling, or simply allocating time for relaxation can help manage stress levels.

7. Review Medications and Supplements
Some medications and supplements can affect fertility and pregnancy. Review all your current medications and supplements with your healthcare provider to ensure they're safe to continue during preconception and treatment phases. You may need adjustments or alternatives to support your fertility journey.

8. Consider Environmental Factors
Exposure to certain environmental toxins and chemicals—like pesticides, solvents, and heavy metals—can impair fertility. Minimize exposure by choosing organic foods when possible, using natural cleaning products, and avoiding known toxins in your environment.

9. Financial Planning
Fertility treatments can be expensive, and insurance coverage varies widely. Early financial planning can help you manage the costs associated with treatments, medications, and potential fertility preservation options like egg or sperm freezing. Call your health insurance to check your fertility benefits. 

10. Emotional Preparedness
Fertility treatments can be emotionally taxing. Consider seeking support from counselors, support groups, or online communities familiar with the fertility journey. Emotional preparedness and resilience are invaluable resources throughout this process.


Preconception planning is a comprehensive approach to preparing for fertility treatments. By taking these steps, you're not only improving your chances of a successful pregnancy but also ensuring the healthiest start for your future child. Remember, every journey to parenthood is unique, and seeking guidance from fertility specialists can provide personalized advice and support tailored to your needs. 

Deborah Smith, MD For over 30 years Dr. Smith and her dedicated team have been helping couples realize their dream of having a child. At RMFC, the success rates of the fertility therapies offered are among the highest in the nation, that is why RMFC is the premier fertility clinic Denver and Rapid City trust. Dr. Deborah Smith is one of the most experienced board certified infertility doctors in Colorado and South Dakota with 30 years’ experience as a fertility expert. Dr. Smith and her team offers patients a combination of excellent clinical expertise, strong research experience and warm personal care.

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