a special place in a special time

Once you have decided that you want to have a baby, you and your partner should concentrate on getting yourselves fit and healthy before you try to conceive. Ideally, you should begin preparing for pregnancy at least three months before conception so that you can be sure that your child will get the best possible start in life. If your pregnancy is unplanned, then start taking extra care of yourself as soon as you suspect that you might be pregnant. This may involve some basic changes in your lifestyle.

There is evidence that suggests that smoking by either partner can delay conception, so if you or your partner smoke you should stop now. In addition, smoking during pregnancy will put the baby at risk and can also affect your well-being; giving up before conception will benefit you and your child. Alcohol can inhibit fertility, so both you and your partner should keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or avoid drinking altogether while trying to conceive. Once you are pregnant, alcohol, if taken in excess, can restrict fetal development and can even cause malformation. It is advisable to drink no more than one unit of alcohol a week during pregnancy.

Medication

Fertilization and the early development of a baby are controlled by delicately balanced chemical process­ es in the body. Additional chemicals entering your body as medication can upset this development, so if possible you should avoid taking any medicines before conception and during pregnancy. If you are on long-term medication, you will need to talk to your doctor about your options. Medicines that are available over the counter, natural remedies and vitamin supplements should also be avoided, unless they have been recommended by your doctor.Oral contraceptives rely on chemically-produced hormones to control fertility. If you are taking the pill, change to a barrier method , such as the condom or diaphragm, for three months before trying to conceive.

 

Once you have decided that you want to have a baby, you and your partner should concentrate on getting yourselves fit and healthy before yo u try to conceive. Ideally, you should begin preparing for pregnancy at least three months before conception so that you can be sure that your child will get the best possible start in life. If your pregnancy is unplanned, then start taking extra care of yourself as soon as you suspect that you might be pregnant. This may involve some basic changes in your lifestyle.

 

There is evidence that suggests that smoking by either partner can delay conception, so if you or your partner smoke you should stop now. In addition, smoking during pregnancy will put the baby at risk and can also affect your well-being; giving up before conception will benefit you and your child. Alcohol can inhibit fertility, so both you and your partner should keep alcohol consumption to a minimum or avoid drinking altogether while trying to conceive. Once you are pregnant, alcohol, if taken in excess, ca n restrict fetal development and can even ca use malformation. It is advisable to drink no more than one unit of alcohol a week during pregnancy.

can upset this development, so if possible you should avoid taking any medicines before conception and during pregnancy. If you are on long-term medication, you will need to talk to your doctor about your options. Medicines that are available over the counter, natural remedies and vitamin supplements should also be avoided, unless they have been recommended by your doctor. This allows your body to clear itself of synthetic hormones and to re­ establish its own cycle.

Immunizations

An unborn baby exposed to rubella (German measles) during its early development can be born severely handicapped. Don't assume that because you were vaccinated in your teens, or you have had the infection, that you are automatically immune. Ask your doctor to give you a blood test to check. If you are not immune you can be vaccinated, but you should not get pregnant until the vaccine virus has cleared from your blood, which takes about three months. If you have been given vaccines for tropical diseases, you should also wait for three months before getting pregnant.

Nutrition and exercise

A well-balanced , healthy diet is essential for both your well-being and that of your baby. Everything you eat will also become your unborn child's nourishment, and what you store before pregnancy is important for early fetal develop­ment when all the major organs are formed. One of the B vitamins, folic acid, helps prevent neural tube defects (NTD), such as spina bifida , in unborn babies. It is recommended that all women planning a pregnancy should increase their average daily intake to 0.6 mg by taking a 0.4 mg supplement before attempting conception, and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. This is the time when your baby's organs and body systems are forming. If you are epileptic and take drugs to control your epilepsy you should consult your doctor before taking folic acid. Regular exercise is important as it will not only help you get fit before conception, it will also strengthen muscles in your lower back, stomach, and legs, which will help your body cope better with the demands of pregnancy.

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