Planning a pregnancy

Pregnancy Plan

Once you and your partner have decided to try for a baby, careful planning can assist in your countdown to conception

Have a relationship chat
Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your relationship, and that you both want to become parents.

Private health insurance
Do you want to be cared for by the public or private health system during the pregnancy and birth? If you plan to have your baby as a private patient, you’ll generally need to be insured for at least 12 months before you become pregnant.

Doctor, doctor
A visit to your doctor is a great place to start your baby-making journey. Your GP will be able to check your general health, along with ensuring that your Pap smear and vaccinations are up to date. You can also speak to your GP about the conception process, and discuss any concerns you may have.

Weight matters
A normal body mass index, or BMI, of between 20 and 25 is an important factor in conception. If a woman is underweight or overweight, ovulation is less likely, making conception tricky. Talk to your GP if you’re concerned.

Avoid the nasties
Quitting smoking, cutting out alcohol and minimising your caffeine intake are simple steps that can improve your chance of conceiving. Smoking has a severe impact on both male and female fertility, lowering a man’s sperm count and disrupting regular ovulation for women. Heavy alcohol consumption before conception can lead to a lower birth weight in new babies. You can still enjoy one cup of coffee per day but limit your intake of other caffeinated drinks.

Vitamins and minerals
Taking a daily supplement containing folic acid, like Elevit with Iodine, in the month before you fall pregnant and during your pregnancy can significantly lower the risk of neural tube defects, like spina bifida. Upping your iodine is also beneficial, as this nutrient is responsible for baby’s normal development of the brain.

Say sayonara to contraception
While cutting out contraception is the logical first step when trying to conceive, longer term birth control options, like the Depo-Provera injection, can linger in your system. If you’ve been using a long-term form of contraception, speak to your GP about its effect on conceiving.

Get the timing right
Knowing when to have intercourse can be half the battle. The day before ovulation is commonly thought to be the best day to have intercourse to ensure the freshness of both sperm and egg. If you’re unsure about when you ovulate or have an irregular cycle, turn to page 15 of this magazine for more information on observing bodily changes during ovulation.

Easy exercise
Gentle, regular exercise plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Walking, swimming or exercising at the gym all contribute to your general wellbeing and ultimately improve your chance of getting pregnant by lowering the risk of diseases thought to be caused by inactivity and obesity. Over-exercising, however, is not advisable as this can affect your hormones and restrict ovulation. Take it slow and steady and you’ll be able to maintain your routine from conception through to birth.

Food for fertility
While changing your diet won’t guarantee fertility, it’s important to eat a selection of healthy foods, including fresh fruit, vegetables (especially leafy greens, rich in folate), whole grains, lean meats and protein. Reduce your intake of refined sugars, caffeine and white bread and try to drink two litres of water a day.

Make love more
You’re both physically healthy and mentally prepared for the exciting journey ahead. Now, it’s time to relax and enjoy yourselves.

Stress less
Trying to conceive can be a stressful time for couples so focus on relaxing during the baby-making experience. Research shows that women who are under constant stress produce the hormone prolactin, which can interfere with regular ovulation. And studies have shown that the semen quality of male medical students declines at exam time.

Try these tips to reduce stress:
  • Keep up the intimacy by talking and confiding in each other
  • Get romantic and go on a day trip or out for dinner.
  • Spend some time apart occasionally and look forward to seeing each other again.
  • Eat well and maintain a regular exercise routine.

What is Spina Bifida?

What is Spina Bifida?

Making Babies

Making Babies - Preparing for Pregnancy
Article content written and reproduced from 'Making Babies', published by ACP Magazines, a division of PBL Media Limited