5 “To Do’s” before falling pregnant
If you are planning to fall pregnant in the near future, here are a couple of pieces of advice I’d like to share which will help to ensure you are as ready as possible for the physical challenges pregnancy can bring.
- Folate supplementation – I recommend taking folate supplements for 3 months before you conceive in order to minimise the risk of problems for your baby such as spina bifida. The recommended dose is 0.5 mg daily unless you are at higher risk of problems, in which you should take 5 mg daily).
- I would recommend you have your iron levels checked and start an iron supplement if you are deficient. It is nearly impossible to replace your iron stores from dietary intake alone during pregnancy (there’s only so much a good steak can do!). The normal blood changes in pregnancy along with your growing baby and developing placenta put pressure on your iron stores. Low iron can put you at risk of developing anaemia (low blood count) which can lead to increased tiredness and other problems around the time of labour and delivery.
- It is a good idea to have your ‘routine’ antenatal serology checked to confirm your immunity to rubella, hepatitis and other infections. This would be a great time to make sure your immunisations are up to date (see next week when I’ll talk about which immunisations are safe in pregnancy).
- If you have any ongoing medical conditions, make sure your treatment is “optimised” and that you discuss with your doctor the implications of falling pregnant. Sometimes pregnancy can have an impact on pre-existing conditions (e.g. kidney disease) and pre-existing conditions and their treatment can have an impact on your pregnancy (e.g. high blood pressure, diabetes).
- Now is a great time to optimise your physical fitness, not just for yourself, but also for the little ones to come into your life in the years to come. Please consider the ”usual suspects” of weight, smoking and aerobic fitness, as well as pelvic floor exercises.
Please seek advice if you need assistance in any of these areas, and all the best in your future pregnancies.
The above information doesn’t take the place of a medical consultation so please seek further advice if your symptoms continue to concern you.