Tips for planning a pregnancy

Tips for planning a pregnancy

Stopping smoking, cutting out alcohol, and keeping to a healthy weight are some tips to improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.

You can improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy by following steps.

1) Take folic acid supplements:

It is recommended that you take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day before you get pregnant, and every day afterwards for up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect (spinal cord defect).

You need to take a 5 mg supplement of folic acid if:

  • Your previous baby had a neural tube defect

  • You have diabetes

  • If you are on anti-epilepsy medicine

2) Stop smoking:

Smoking during pregnancy can cause:

  • Premature birth

  • Low birth weight in baby

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death

  • Miscarraige

3) Cut out alcohol: 

Do not drink alcohol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Alcohol can be passed to your unborn baby and lead to long-term harm to your baby.

4) Keep to a healthy weight: 

Being overweight (BMI over 25) or obese (BMI over 30) raises the risk of high blood pressure, deep vein thrombosis, miscarriage, and gestational diabetes. Calculate your BMI before getting pregnant. Having a healthy diet and doing moderate exercise is advised while planning pregnancy and during pregnancy. It is important not to gain too much weight.

5) Know which medicines you can take:

Not all medicines are safe to take when you’re pregnant or planning a pregnancy. Talk to your doctor if you have questions.

6) Vaccination and infections: 

Many vaccine preventable diseases may have serious consequences for both the mother and foetus during pregnancy. Some vaccines should be considered for all women who are planning to conceive, for example, influenza, MMR, and varicella zoster virus.

7) Talk to your doctor if you have a long-term condition: 

If you have a long-term condition such as epilepsy, hypertension or diabetes, discuss it with your doctor. After discussion, you can change over to safer medication during pregnancy. It could affect the decisions you make about your pregnancy, for example, where you might want to give birth. If you’re taking medicine for any condition, do not stop taking it without talking to a doctor.

8) Testing for sickle cell and thalassaemia:

Sickle cell disease (SCD) and thalassaemia are inherited blood disorders. Screening is offered to find out if you’re a carrier of a gene for sickle cell or thalassemia and therefore likely to pass it to your baby.

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