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Planning a pregnancy

Planning a pregnancy
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Planning a pregnancy is a big decision. You have to both be 100% on board with the idea of having a baby and also need to take finances, work and family conditions into account.

While you think about all of that it’s a good idea to give your health and lifestyle a bit of a makeover to boost your chances of becoming pregnant. If you and your partner feel the time is almost right to begin trying to conceive, there are some things you can do help nature run its course and prepare for pregnancy.

Stopping contraception

First things first, if you want to start a family you need to stop using contraception. If you’ve been using hormonal contraception, such as the pill or an implant, you may find that your body takes some time to begin ovulating regularly again. Most women’s cycles settle down after around three months and if you wait until you’ve had one proper period before you start trying for a baby, it will help your doctor or midwife calculate your due date. But should you fall pregnant straight after coming off contraception then there is absolutely nothing to worry about, you may just have to wait until your dating scan to be given an accurate due date.

Folic Acid

It’s widely known that expectant mothers should take folic acid supplements during the first three months of pregnancy. However, it’s also recommended that women should start taking the vitamin before they become pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk of a baby being born with a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. You should take 400 milligrams of folic acid from the time you start trying to conceive until you are 12 weeks pregnant.

Sensible weight

Being either overweight or underweight can affect your chances of conceiving so if you’re planning to try for a baby then it’s a good idea to strive to reach your ideal weight. A healthy diet and enough exercise will help you cope with the demands pregnancy can place on your body. Also, it will aid your body in providing nourishment to the foetus when you do become pregnant so it’s a great habit to get into beforehand.

Stop smoking

Babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from health problems including low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Stopping smoking before you become pregnant will help reduce the risks and means you won’t spend the first few weeks or months of your pregnancy craving a cigarette. Smoking also reduces fertility in both men and women so if you’re planning a baby it’ll happen sooner if you both quit smoking.

Cut out alcohol

Doctors recommend that couples trying for a baby cut out alcohol as it reduces fertility in both men and women. Department of Health guidelines advise pregnant women and those trying to conceive to avoid alcohol completely. If you do drink you should limit your enjoyment to one or two small glasses once or twice a week and you should not get drunk.

Whether it’s your first child or your sixth, planning a baby is an exciting time. By making a few simple lifestyle changes and getting into a healthier routine you can boost your chances of becoming pregnant sooner rather than later.

 

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About Maria Brett

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About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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