A women’s health and wellbeing prior to conception can have an impact on her baby’s health and development. To give yourself the best chance of a risk-free pregnancy and a healthy baby, it’s best for you (and your partner) to try and be as healthy as possible leading up to conception. We’ve put together a list of helpful hints for pre-pregnancy, but please remember that it’s always important to speak with your trusted healthcare professional if you have any doubts.
1. Put Down Your Plan on Paper
First things first…writing down your pregnancy goals (and how you plan to achieve them) can help manage the pre-pregnancy process. Some women take 1-2 months to prepare for pregnancy, some may take more than that. What’s important to keep in mind is that everyone is different, and planning out the to-do’s may help you through the planning phase.
2. Consult a Healthcare Professional
There’s plenty of information online, but the reality is that you should really consult a healthcare professional to ensure your plan is accurate, realistic and safe. General Practitioners and Obstetricians are perfectly qualified for this, and they’ll be able to guide you and assist with any potential complications e.g pre-existing health conditions that may impact your ability to fall pregnant, diet, vaccination status, family history etc.
3. Get Healthy
There’s a number of things you can do in pre-pregnancy to increase the likelihood of falling pregnant. Please note, however, that everyone is different and you should always consult your healthcare professional for tailored advice:
- Diet: It’s important to have a balanced diet. Try eating different types of coloured fruit and vegetables, grains, lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and diary products. Try to avoid processed foods as they may be high in salt.
- Vitamins & Supplements: Some women may require supplements such as folic acid and iodine to assist with fertility and the development of the baby. There are also supplements that may be beneficial for men.
- Weight: Women who are underweight or overweight have a higher risk of complications in pregnancy. We understand that weight can be quite a sensitive topic, however it’s recommended that you try and be at a healthy weight to improve outcomes for your baby.
- Exercise: Moderate exercise has been proven to increase fertility, particularly for people who are overweight or obese. Implementing a regular exercise regime could also be beneficial for baby, but also your mental health during a time that can be stressful.
- Smoking, Illicit Drugs & Alcohol: Women trying to fall pregnant should not be smoking or doing illicit drugs. Both are known to reduce fertility and can harm the baby. Alcohol can be ok in moderation, however the best option would be to not drink alcohol at all.
4. Know Your Environment
It’s important you’re aware of any toxins in your living space (i.e. cleaning products, facial care or makeup) or working space (i.e. radiation) that may have an impact on fertility. Travel may also be a risk, as exposure to different infections may cause fertility issues.
5. It’s Not Just About You
The health of your partner is also important. Obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, illicit drugs, medications, stress and more can have an impact on fertility. Working together with your partner on this can be mutually beneficial.