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My husband and I are ready to start our family. How can I increase my chances for a healthy pregnancy?

“You and your partner should take an active role in getting you in the best shape possible and to help reduce the risk of a complicated pregnancy,” says OB/GYN specialist Dr. Holli Smith, who lists five key areas to focus on.

Dr. Smith’s prenatal checklist

  • Medical. See your obstetrician to check for unhealthy medical conditions, such as hypertension or diabetes, needing to be brought under control before conception.
  • Lifestyle. Quit unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking or overindulging in alcohol.
  • Nutrition. Get your partner on board to support your food choices for maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Vitamins. Some studies suggest that multivitamin supplements with folic acid can help reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Ask your doctor for advice.
  • Exercise. Exercise regularly, but check with your doctor before starting any exercise regimen.
  • Sleep. Getting adequate sleep is important to your overall health.

“Appropriate medical care combined with a healthy lifestyle and proper nutrition can help you toward a healthier pregnancy,” concludes Dr. Smith, who is accepting new patients at Kelsey-Seybold’s Clear Lake Clinic and Pasadena Clinic.