The Inhealth.ie Guide To Getting Pregnant
Your pre-pregnancy checklist.
If your trying for a baby there are some things to consider that may improve increase your chances of falling pregnant and achieving a healthy pregnancy. What you eat, how much you exercise, whether your drink alcohol or exercise can all influence your ability to successfully conceive. We’ve compiled a pre-pregnancy checklist but advise when embarking on your fertility journey to consult with your G.P in the first instance for advice and direction.
Check 1: Take Folic Acid daily
Planning ahead is vital to ensure a healthy conception and by starting a folic acid supplement in the months prior to conception , this educated step can help prevent serious birth defects that can manifest even before you know you are pregnant. Start taking 400 micrograms of folic acid every day ideally for three months before conceiving and continue this for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy (first trimester).
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Check 2: Fine tune with a check-up
Talk to your doctor about how your pregnancy might be affected if you have any medical conditions such as diabetes or epilepsy, heart or circulatory problems, or if you or your partner have any hereditary conditions in the family such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassaemia, cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy. You can also discuss vaccines, scans or any tests you may need and what medicines you can and shouldn’t take during pregnancy.
Check 3: Make an appointment with your Dentist
They will assist you in keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible even before you fall pregnant. This is good for both you and the baby as pregnancy increases your risk of gum disease and gum disease may increase your risk of a premature labour.
Check 4: Be a healthy weight
It is well documented that being under or overweight can make it harder to fall pregnant. Not only is being overweight generally bad for your health it may increase your risk of gestational diabetes and high blood pressure and is a proven to contribute to longer labours! Maintaining a healthy weight will not only ensure you feel physically fit and ready for your pregnancy but may encourage you to keep at regular, moderate exercise throughout your pregnancy (with medical approval), why not consider pelvic floor muscle exercises and back strengthening exercises to help prepare for pregnancy?
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Check 5: Eating for two
One of the easiest factors to control is what you eat. Your body as it prepares for pregnancy and then when it needs to fuel both you and your growing baby will need plenty of iron, protein, calcium and folic acid. Stock up on nuts, vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, whole grains and low fat dairy products. Banish foods that deliver empty calories such as fast food, crisps and soft drinks etc.
Check 6: Stop smoking
This is a no-brainer. If you smoke, now is the time to stop. Smoking not only contributes to making it more difficult to fall pregnant but during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and even miscarriage. It also puts your baby more at risk of cot death (sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS). If your partner smokes, ask them to quit as breathing in second hand smoke is also dangerous. If you need help in stopping, consult with your GP or pharmacist.
Check 7: Avoid Alcohol
This is well documented but the reality of not having ‘a’ drink can prove really difficult. But drinking as you’re trying for a baby can make it more difficult to conceive. Actually in some cases drinking in the early weeks of pregnancy can increase the risk of birth defects and learning problems. Truly doctors don’t know how much or how little alcohol actually causes problems, so it’s safest to avoid it altogether .
Check 8: Plan Ahead
Having a baby will totally change your life, this fact is undeniable, so it is prudent to really take time to address how your life and lifestyle may change, how you see yourself and how your identity may change. From your relationship with your partner, to your career and your finances, addressing the potential for change will enable you to deal with the (lovely) upheaval a new baby can bring.
So as you take the plunge into parenthood, discuss your plans and prepare, get in the best preconception shape you can and good luck!