Before you even start to think about conceiving, it might be best to get your body – and your partner’s – in tip-top condition so that your chances of conception are higher.
Eat Yourself Pregnant
Nutrition is crucial for a happy, healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby, so make sure you are getting a good diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables that is low in saturated fats, salt and sugar. Avoid crash or faddy diets and if you are concerned about your weight, talk to your doctor about losing some weight slowly and carefully.
It is very important to take a daily supplement of folic acid even before you conceive. This is because it lessens the risk of your baby having spina bifida (a neural tube defect). As the spinal column develops very early on in pregnancy, taking folic acid before you even start trying for a baby lowers your risk. You should take 400mcg per day. It is also found in broccoli, brussels sprouts, liver, spinach, asparagus, peas, chickpeas, brown rice and fortified breakfast cereals.
You should also take a 10 micrograms Vitamin D supplement throughout your pregnancy and when you are breastfeeding too. As well as in tablet form, it can be found in oily fish and fortified breakfast cereals; your body also creates it when you are exposed to sunshine.
Cut Back The Baddies
Smoking can lower the quality of your eggs and damages your ovaries and it also causes babies to be born with low birth weights, which can lead to other health problems. It brings on the menopause more quickly too. It also affects sperm quality in men so if you both smoke, give it up for your baby.
Too much alcohol also makes for bad quality sperm and eggs. So limit it when you’re trying to conceive and cut it out altogether when you’re pregnant.
Avoid recreational drugs too, as they not only affect fertility, but can cause miscarriage, low birth-weight and premature babies.
Have a quick check up to ensure your have an immunity to rubella or German measles. Even if you had the jab as a teenager, immunity can wear off.
Keep Taking The Drugs?
If you are on regular medication or take a variety of herbal preparations, check with your doctor to see if they might have an impact on your ability to conceive. Don’t stop taking prescribed drugs without checking with your doctor.
Some women have a condition that might impact on your fertility or that might make it difficult for your body to carry a baby full term. These include Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, thyroid dysfunction, inflammatory bowel disease, epilepsy and diabetes. The good news is that most conditions, as long as they are managed carefully by you and your medical team, should not prevent your having a healthy baby.