How to help your body prepare for pregnancy
All women of childbearing age should be mindful of their health, whether or not they are planning to become pregnant. This is because many pregnancies are unplanned and certain foods, lifestyle choices and medications can all affect the health of your pregnancy and unborn baby.1
Planning a pregnancy allows you the benefit of dealing with any relevant medical concerns and making sure you are as healthy as possible ahead of time. Ensure you speak with your healthcare provider before becoming pregnant. Preconception care can increase your chances of falling pregnant and having a health pregnancy and baby. Ideally, most women should begin seeking medical care at least three months before they conceive. Questions you should speak to your doctor about may include:1
- The safety of any over‐the‐counter, prescription and herbal medicines in pregnancy. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking some medicines prior to pregnancy or recommend an alternative that is safe to use.
- Any health conditions you have and their possible effects on pregnancy. You may need to change the way you manage or monitor certain conditions.
- Healthy lifestyle choices, such as weight management, following a healthy diet, reducing stress and cutting out smoking and alcohol use. These changes are ideally made even earlier than three months before falling pregnant.
In addition to following a healthy diet, it’s recommended to start taking a folic acid supplement as soon as you begin planning for one. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps to prevent spine and brain defects in the developing foetus. It is found in leafy green vegetables, fruits, dried beans, peas and nuts. Certain breads, cereals and other grain products also contain added folic acid.2
Vitamin D and calcium plays an important role in helping to build your baby’s bones and teeth and iodine is important for normal healthy cognition as well as hearing. A prenatal multivitamin supplement taken from at least three months prior to conception can help ensure you are getting enough of these vital nutrients.3