Pre-Pregnancy Health

1. Take your vitamins every day

It is recommended that women take 0.5mg folic acid supplements daily for at least three months before pregnancy and for three months into the pregnancy. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects (most commonly spina bifida) in babies. Other supplements are usually not necessary if your diet is adequate, however taking a multi-vitamin specifically for pregnancy or ovulation may benefit your overall health. Some of these multi-vitamins include folic acid.

2. Watch your diet

A balanced diet is important for your overall health – make sure you include plenty of leafy green vegetables for folic acid.

3. Check your weight

If you are significantly overweight or underweight, it can adversely affect your chance of getting pregnant. Use a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to check if you have an appropriate body weight. If you have a high BMI, you can improve your fertility dramatically with just a 5-10% reduction in weight.

4. Regular moderate exercise

Walking, jogging and other moderate exercise, are good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, there is evidence that you should not do strenuous exercise more than four times a week during pregnancy.

5. Quit smoking now

Active and passive smoking is detrimental for your health, and can affect fertility in both men and women. Women who smoke tend to reach menopause earlier than non-smokers. There is also strong evidence that female smokers not only have reduced fertility, but also have a higher miscarriage rate. Smoking during pregnancy has adverse effects on the growing baby, and can contribute to many childhood illnesses. There is also strong evidence that a child born to a male smoker is four times more likely to develop cancer in childhood. It is strongly recommended that you do not smoke during treatment or throughout pregnancy.

6. Alcohol

The impact of alcohol on a woman’s reproductive system is unknown, however heavy intake in men is known to affect sperm production. Reduce your alcohol intake during the second half of your menstrual cycle, where pregnancy could be a possibility. The weeks following a positive pregnancy test are an important stage of development for the baby, and abstinence from alcohol is recommended.

7. Caffeine

High caffeine intake has been linked with female infertility in some research studies, but the reason for this is not obvious. It is worth considering a moderate coffee intake (no more than two cups per day) if you are trying to get pregnant. Be aware that caffeine is present in other beverages and food, such as Cola drinks and chocolate.