If you’ve decided it’s time to start thinking about having a baby, there are a number of things you can do to ensure you’re in the best of health for both you and your baby.
If you are not up to date with your pap smear or cervical screening, now is the time to do it. Remember if there are no complications, you’ll only need to do this every five years from now on.
The Cervical Screening website can tell you all about the new changes
Check in with your weight and what you’re eating.
You should work to maintain a normal weight. If you are overweight it is safe to minimize weight gain or lose a small amount of weight, but don’t go on any crash diets.
Being underweight can also be a problem. Chat with me or your GP, and if needed, we can refer you to a dietician if you need some extra help.
If you’re not already exercising, now would be a good time to start a program. You could start with half an hour of brisk walking each day and take up yoga or pilates. Strength training is a great thing to do for your own general health.
Eat a balanced diet – good food is better than multivitamins.
What about coffee?
It’s probably sensible to limit coffee/caffeine containing drinks to 200mg or less (equivalent to 2 espresso shots) per day.
Stop smoking. That includes your partner and any other family members. It might not be easy, but there is a lot of help to support you.
Alcohol and drug consumption:
Reduce the number of alcoholic drinks you’re having now and once you’re pregnant, you should avoid all alcohol.
Don’t take any illicit drugs and check any prescription drugs you are taking with your GP. You’ll find that some may be unsafe to continue taking during your pregnancy, however there might be an alternative that is safer for your baby.
Don’t forget your teeth!
Make sure your dental checkups and teeth cleaning are up to date.
Start building your support team.
Find yourself a good local GP who you are comfortable speaking with about any health issues.
Private Health Insurance.
Check your health insurance levels. Do you have full obstetrics cover? If not, now is the time to upgrade.
Get yourself some folate. Start taking a folate supplement with 400 micrograms of folate (or more). It is best if you can be taking this at least one month before you conceive, to reduce the risks of birth defects. Some women need a higher dose so make sure you chat with me or your GP about folate.
Add in some Iodine. Many people lack iodine so i-folate is a great choice.
Discuss any other supplements you are already taking or thinking about taking with me or your doctor.
Are your immunisations up to date?
Ask your GP to check that you are immune to chicken pox, rubella and measles.
Get your fluvax every year, even if you are already pregnant; it’s safe and protects you and your baby.
Consider getting genetic testing done, it’s possible for all of us to carry serious diseases even if there’s no family history. Some sites with more information can be helpful.
Learn about CMV so you know what it is.
CMV is the highest cause of developmental delay in children in Australia.
Know the foods to avoid.
To protect you and your unborn baby there are certain foods you should avoid while you are pregnant. You can see the list of things that are not safe for pregnancy on this link.
Thinking about a holiday? Sounds fun.
Ideally you should avoid holidays to Zika Virus endemic areas. The risk persists even after you return home. If you do take any trips when you are pregnant, make sure your health insurance is adequate for birth in a private hospital wherever you go.
You should also be aware of any DVT risks associated with long trips, either by car or plane. Let me know if you are planning a trip and we can discuss how to reduce your risks of DVT complications.
Your fur babies are lovely, but be careful around cats, use gloves or avoiding having to change the cat litter when you are pregnant.
WASH YOUR HANDS.
Always wash your hands before you eat, it’s one of the best hygience practices you can do to avoid spreading germs.
When you should seek additional advice.
Some women need to see a professional sooner than others.
You should ask for an earlier appointment if you have any of the following.
- You have history of medical disorders, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clotting, transplant, epilepsy.
- You have a personal or family history of serious genetic conditions.
- You have been trying for more than six months, or are over the age of 35yo.
- Your menstrual cycle is very irregular.
- You’ve had a history of PID, ruptured appendix, major abdominal surgery.
- Your partner has a history of undescended or twisted testes, hernia, varicocoele or is on meds for ulcerative colitis or is taking anabolic steroids.