Pre Conception Guidelines
Planning for a baby? Follow these guidelines to help improve your fertility and the health of your new born baby.
Be at a healthy body fat level
Carrying both too much and too little body fat can affect fertility. Aim to be at a healthy level of body fat to both improve chances of conception and also ongoing good health.
Eating well prior to conception can not only improve fertility, it also ensures your nutritional stores are optimal. Ideally get into good eating habits three months before you try to conceive. Eating well also means that when you fall pregnant, you are giving your baby the nutrients it needs, without compromising your own stores.
Choose from a wide range of fresh foods and minimise the amount of processed, and deep fried foods you consume. Increase your intake of vegetables and fruit and eat fresh fish, especially cold water fish such as salmon and tuna to obtain the essential fatty acids which are beneficial to the baby’s brain.
Get into a regular exercise habit
Regular exercise before conception will help with your weight loss/maintenance goals and once pregnant, regular exercise helps reduce the risk of gestational diabetes. Inactive, overweight women are much more likely to develop gestational diabetes than active women who are at a healthy weight.
Folic Acid and supplements
Women who are trying to conceive are advised to take 500mcg of folic acid daily. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are also advised to take 150mcg of iodine daily. Pregnancy multivitamins are available which usually incorporate these, as well as other micronutrients.
Avoid or Limit Alcohol
Excessive alcohol intake (for males and females) can affect fertility and during pregnancy can harm the unborn baby. No amount of alcohol in pregnancy has been declared safe, so the best advice is not to drink alcohol while pregnant.
If you consume a large amount of caffeine (coffees, teas, Cola, chocolate, energy drinks, etc) it is advised to cut back when you decide to conceive.
Smoking can reduce fertility in males and females and women who smoke are at higher risk of miscarriage, premature babies and lower birth weight babies.
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