Advice on changes you should make to you lifestyle when you are planning for pregnancy, with information on the influence of your diet, weight, and exercise regieme on your overall health and fertility.
About half of pregnancies are planned. If you are thinking about having a baby then this is a really good time to think about your own heath, and that of your partner. Making some changes to your life style for a period of time could improve your health, increase your fertility and reduce the risks of miscarriage and fetal abnormality.
Things to consider
- Diet - Try to eat fresh, whole foods when possible and avoid highly processed foods. If your diet is well balanced you should not need dietary supplements.
- Weight - Being underweight can cause infertility and reduced birth weight or abnormalities in the baby. Being overweight can increase your risk of pregnancy complications. It is best to opt for a sensible eating plan and wait until your weight is within normal limits before trying to conceive. Crash dieting should be avoided as you will not be getting all the nutrients you need.
- Exercise - Some regular exercise is a really good idea. If you do not usually exercise then swimming, yoga or simply walking a little more would help improve your fitness.
- Smoking - Please try to give up! The less you smoke the better. You are much more likely to be able to become pregnant and have a healthy baby if you and your partner don?t smoke.
- Alcohol - We know that alcohol can have damaging effects on the unborn child, but it is unclear just how much is safe. The best plan in order to be sure that your baby is safe is to stop drinking alcohol before pregnancy.
- Drugs - Try to take only essential medication and check if it is safe to use in pregnancy. If you are on any regular prescription drugs let your GP know that you are planning for a baby incase the prescription needs to be changed.
- Environmental hazards - Try to minimise your exposure to traffic fumes, chemicals and pollutants. This is important for perspective fathers as well. Pollutants have been linked with lots of problems including miscarriage and congenital abnormalities.
- Infections - It is wise to have your immunity to rubella checked before becoming pregnant and be vaccinated again if your immunity is low. If you are concerned that you may have an infection, especially if you think you could have a sexually transmitted infection please seek treatment right away.
- Contraception - If you have been using hormonal methods of contraception most sources advise that you switch to natural family planning for three months before trying to conceive.
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