Preparing for a baby is an exciting stage in life – yet there are many factors to consider.
With the right pre-pregnancy care, you can help to maximise your chance of a healthy pregnancy, birth and beyond.
What is pre-pregnancy care?
A woman’s health prior to getting pregnant is crucial to the outcome of her pregnancy and the lifelong health of her baby.
Pre-pregnancy care is about identifying and making changes to modifiable or adjustable risk factors, such as lifestyle, behavioural, medical and social risks that may affect a woman’s health and pregnancy.
When you decide you are going to try for a baby, it’s important to make an appointment with your GP who may recommend that you are referred to Dr Hong who is a specialist in obstetrics, gynaecology and laparoscopic surgery. At this consultation, we will talk to you about your health and answer any questions you have about trying to conceive.
Some of the topics you may wish to discuss at your consultation include:
- Existing medical conditions – some medical conditions can impact your health, and the health of your baby.
- Contraception – if you are currently using any contraception, you will need to decide when and how to stop.
- Family history, age and risk factors – you may need tests to identify any genetic risks.
- Previous pregnancy – a previous pregnancy complication or outcome can impact future pregnancies, so it’s important to discuss your medical history.
- Medications – certain medications can be harmful to a developing baby and need to be stopped before a woman tries for pregnancy, so talk advise us Dr Hong your consultation if you are taking any medications.
- Supplements –Dr Hong may recommend a pre-conception supplement, especially folic acid and iodine.
- Your diet – a healthy diet helps to ensure a healthy body and conception, so aim to eat plenty of fresh, whole foods, and cut out junk foods.
- Alcohol and drugs – as there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy, it’s best to avoid drinking and drugs altogether.
- Smoking – smoking is dangerous to your health and your baby’s health, so phone 13 QUIT (13 7848) or seek help from your GP or Dr Hong about taking the first steps towards quitting.
- Exercise and your weight – maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly are key components of your pre-pregnancy planning.
- Your partner’s health – the health of your partner is equally important, so you may wish to consider a health check for your partner too.
During the pre-pregnancy planning stage, you may also wish to start thinking about tracking your menstrual cycle to predict the optimal time for conception to occur. There are plenty of apps that can help you to track your period and ovulation and Dr Hong can answer any questions you have about this too.
A pre-pregnancy care plan not only helps to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy, it also helps to prevent serious health issues such as birth defects. Some birth defects can be avoided or prevented with pre-pregnancy care.
Dr Hong will provide you with an individual pre-pregnancy care plan. Your plan may include tests and treatments as well as suggestions on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle to give yourself the best chance of a healthy conception.
Read next: Early pregnancy care