Planning to have a baby? – 5 things you should consider
Planning the right time to have a baby can be hard enough. When you have made the decision to start or add to your family it can be confusing where to get advice about what to do before conceiving.
A pre-pregnancy appointment with one of our skilled Create Health pregnancy specialists is the perfect place to start. They will walk you through all the important considerations that will prepare you for a safe and smooth pregnancy. Our pregnancy specialists are highly experienced obstetricians that can also guide you through the birth process.
Before we see you at our clinic, here are some pre-pregnancy tips to get you started.
Let’s start with diet and lifestyle
There are many benefits from having a healthy diet even when you're not pregnant so this one is a no-brainer. Normal weight (BMI between 18 and 24) is ideal if you are heading into pregnancy because this will lower a few pregnancy risks such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia.1 You can read more about this on our preconception care page.
What supplements should you be taking?
A good amount of folate is required for early pregnancy development and this is the most important supplement that you might take just before and during the first trimester of pregnancy. Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, while folinic acid is a natural form found in foods.
Other important supplements such as iron, vitamin D and iodine can be considered if you have a known deficiency.
Pre-pregnancy screening blood tests
Some of the general screening tests include blood group, full blood count, iron studies, Vitamin D and thyroid function. These will help to individually screen for pregnancy risks and can be corrected before conceiving.
Immunity to Rubella, Chicken pox (Varicella), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Parvovirus, HIV, Hepatitis and Syphilis are also advised before pregnancy This would allow immunisations to occur but also help to plan around potential exposures during pregnancy. An extensive list of required tests can be found on our pregnancy care page.
Genetic carrier screening
This is a special pre-pregnancy test that screens for genetic conditions that might be passed to your child. Please discuss this further with your doctor because the type of genetic screening test that is right for you will be influenced by your family history and specific circumstances. 2,3
Other things to consider
There may be important factors in your personal or family history that need to be investigated before you start trying for a baby. Cervical screening tests (CST) should be up to date and normal and you should be having a regular menstrual cycle off any form of hormonal birth control.
Who can I talk to?
The specialists at Create Health are always available for advice regarding planning a pregnancy. Particularly if you think you might have risk factors for pregnancy or fertility concerns, we are experts in this area and are here to help.