Pregnancy doesn’t only start at conception. If you’re planning to have a baby, start preparing early to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Thinking about trying for a baby soon? The good news is there, there are some things you can do beforehand to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby. If you are already in the midst of baby-making, it’s not too late to make these lifestyle changes.
Read on to find out how to prepare your body for pregnancy.
Both you and your partner should go for a preconception checkup, also known as fertility screening, which allows your O&G specialist to review any existing health conditions either of you has, your families’ medical history, assess your ovarian and sperm reserve, as well as the overall health of your pelvis and hormonal levels. This will enable your doctor to help you control any existing conditions or manage any possible health risks.
If you have been pregnant before, your doctor can also discuss with you on your past pregnancy issues such as premature birth or preeclampsia, and how it might affect your next pregnancy.
Your specialist will also check that you and your partner are up-to-date on your immunizations as you should ideally be vaccinated 3 months before trying to get pregnant. An important vaccination that your doctor will check for is the chickenpox and rubella vaccination as they are not recommended during pregnancy.
Ask your specialist if the over-the-counter medications you take for headaches or constipation are safe when you’re trying to get pregnant.
If you’re on any prescribed medication, you may need to change or stop your medication before trying to conceive. Do check with your specialist before making any changes.
If you are on birth control pills or some other form of hormonal contraception, it may take time for your fertility cycle to return to normal and for ovulation to start again. You may want to start switching to other forms of contraception 3 months before trying to get pregnant.
If you are using barrier birth control methods such as condoms or a diaphragm, you can continue to use these methods until the day you start trying to conceive.
Premature delivery has been linked to gum disease. A dental check-up can ensure that you get any medication or treatments you need for healthy teeth before getting pregnant.
If you have chronic health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or epilepsy, you will need to work with your doctor to manage your conditions carefully before getting pregnant. Your doctor can also discuss any medications you’re taking for your chronic conditions and whether you need to switch to other medications before getting pregnant.
If you are exposed to harmful chemicals at work or you are working in a highly stressful environment, you may want to discuss with your manager about your family plans to reduce stress or exposure to harmful substances. This might require you to change teams or roles.
It’s important to start eating a healthy diet to boost fertility and have a healthy pregnancy. Eat lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein-rich food such as chicken. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and start cutting down on your caffeine intake.
You may want to start taking multivitamin supplements and increase your iron and calcium intake. Many women start taking 400 mcg of folic acid supplements daily to reduce the risk of a neural tube defect in their baby. If you are on anti-epileptic medication or you have had a baby with a neural tube defect such as spina bifida, your doctor may advise you to take a higher dose of folic acid.
Your partner should also increase their vitamin C, zinc and folic acid intake which can boost fertility.
Your doctor can give you an idea of the recommended weight you should be before getting pregnant. Overweight mothers can face increased health risks such as gestational diabetes, high blood pressure and oversized babies that require a Cesarean section. You may need to change your diet and exercise to achieve your recommended weight.
If you are underweight, you can also talk to your doctor about gaining weight. Underweight women are at a higher risk for fertility problems, premature labor or having a baby with low birth weight.
Smoking affects your chances of getting pregnant, where you are less fertile and face increased risks of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, and having a baby with low birth weight. The baby is also at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
If your partner smokes, he should give up smoking as second-hand smoke can be harmful to you and your baby.
For women, drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth while negatively affecting the development of a baby, leading to an increased risk of birth defects. Alcohol is also known to affect a man’s fertility, bringing down sperm counts.
Too much caffeine can lead to an increased risk of premature delivery, miscarriage and a baby with low birth weight. It has also been linked to fertility problems. Remember that moderation is key and you do not have to cut down on caffeine entirely.
If you’re planning to have a baby, start preparing early to increase your chances of conception. You often have to start preparing at least 3 months before your pregnancy so that your body has sufficient time to get into the optimal state for pregnancy. Most couples are able to get pregnant within six months to a year. If you have been trying for a baby for some time and unable to conceive, it’s a good idea to consult an O&G specialist to seek medical advice.
Established in 2011, SOG Health Pte. Ltd. (“SOG”) is a leading healthcare service provider dedicated to delivering holistic health and wellness services to the modern family.
With a long and established track record in Singapore providing Obstetrics and Gynaecology (“O&G”) services such as pre-pregnancy counselling, delivery, pregnancy and post-delivery care, the Group has since further expanded its spectrum of healthcare services to include Paediatrics, Dermatology, and Cancer-related General Surgery (Colorectal, Breast & Thyroid).
The Group’s clinics, under its four operating segments of O&G, Paediatrics, Cancer-related and Dermatology, are strategically located throughout Singapore to provide easy access to its patients.
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