Preconception Care

Preparing your body for pregnancy

Hands of woman holding a pregnancy test

Special care during the time leading up to your pregnancy can improve your chances of getting pregnant and delivering a healthy baby. We are here to:

  • Support you through the process of fertility testing and treatments.
  • Offer guidance in health choices that can improve your chances of conception.
  • Carefully follow your health as you begin fertility treatment.
  • Connect you to other services such as nutrition, mental health counseling and acupuncture, which have shown positive effects on fertility.
  • Help you obtain and understand genetic testing and options related to your fertility concerns and challenges

Things you can do

Vitamin supplements

Start taking a daily prenatal vitamin with 0.4mg folic acid. Larger doses of folic acid may be recommended if there is a history of neural tube defects.


Try to limit caffeine while undergoing fertility treatments. In some studies, drinking more than three servings per day has been associated with reduced fertility.

Smoking and alcohol: stop

Smoking will hurt your fertility. It also adversely affects babies during their development. Smoking also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Children of smoking parents have more problems with asthma and other lung and breathing-related illnesses.

Alcohol use is associated with reproductive, fetal, and pregnancy-related complications. If you really want to be safe, don’t even drink a little alcohol during pregnancy.

Physical exam and screenings

We recommend that you have a complete physical exam with your primary care doctor before your appointment with OHSU fertility consultants. We suggest that you get the following screening tests:

  • Pap smear (cervical screening)
  • Clinical breast exam, mammogram after age 40
  • Serologic testing: testing for blood type and Rh factor, immunity to rubella, varicella, and various STD tests (chlamydia trachomatis titer [blood test], HIV, hepatitis-B surface antigen, hepatitis-C antibody, RPR)
  • Complete blood count, thyroid function tests and glucose and/or insulin levels may be recommended in select cases. We can provide these in our office.