The first eight to ten weeks of
pregnancy are vital to baby's development. This is a vulnerable time for the
fetus as many women may not yet be aware of their pregnancy.
Ideally you should plan for
your pregnancy three to six months before you conceive. Don't worry if you
do not conceive immediately - it may take several months and it is normal.
If you are trying for a baby
and do not conceive after a year or so, you may wish to see your family
medical practitioner or gynecologist to rule out any possible fertility
Continue with your usual method
of contraception until you and your partner are ready for pregnancy.
If you have been using a cap or
condom, you can stop using these and start trying for a baby at any time.
If you have been using the pill
it is best to wait two to three months after stopping the pill, to allow
your periods to re-establish a regular pattern.
Do remember to use a condom or
cap until you are ready to conceive.
You are most likely to conceive
14 days before the start of a period.
Keep a note of the dates of
your periods, as your baby's due date will be calculated from the date of
your last period.
has been recommended that all women who are planning to have a baby take a
daily 400 micrograms supplement of folic acid from the time that they start
trying for a baby until the end of the twelth week of pregnancy. This can
help to reduce the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
Foods which are rich in folic
include...raw or lightly cooked green vegetable, green salad, fresh fruit,
fortified breakfast cereal and wholemeal bread.
Drinking alcohol regularly,
even in small quantities, can affect fertility in both men and women.
Heavy drinking, especially in
the first three months of pregnancy can affect your unborn baby's
Research clearly shows that
smoking during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight babies, and may have
other harmful effects.
Even passive smoking can have
an effect , so try to stay away from people who are smoking.
As part of a healthy
pre-conceptual routine it is a good idea to try to stop smoking and reduce
the amount of alcohol you drink.
Your body will need the right
balance of nutrients and vitamins so eat a wide variety of healthy foods. If
you're overweight it's a good idea to get your weight down to a healthy
level, before you conceive. Dieting during pregnancy is not recommended, as
it may have a harmful effect on the growth and development of your baby.
Foods to avoid include
unpasteurised cheese, soft or blue cheese and pate, raw or soft boiled eggs,
and raw or lightly cooked meats, as these may contain harmful bacteria such
as salmonella and listeria. Foods containing high levels of vitamins A such
as liver and cod-liver oil should also be avoided.
Take care to ensure food is
hygienically stored and prepared, and that all reheated food is piping hot.
Rubella or German Measles is
normally a fairly mild illness, but if caught during pregnancy it can result
in a seriously handicapped child.
Although most girls are
vaccinated in school it is safer to have a blood test to check your immunity
before you become pregnant. If you are not immune, you should have a rubella
vaccination as soon as possible.
Toxoplasmosis is a dangerous
parasitic infection which can cause blindness in an unborn baby. Avoid
handling cat litter, wear rubber gloves when gardening, and thoroughly wash
hands before and after handling meat products, and avoid all unpasteurised
milk and products.