Planning to conceive

Planning to conceive


A healthy pregnancy takes planning. If you are thinking about getting pregnant, you should consider the following:

  • Your diet – is it healthy and well-balanced?
  • You and your partner’s medical history
  • You and your partner’s lifestyle

Your pre-conception plan should include a visit to your doctor. Your doctor will usually take into account your diet, lifestyle and medical history, and make any recommendations that may help you to conceive and minimise problems during pregnancy. Take your partner along as well! There are many factors that affect fertility in women and men. A pre-conception check needs to cover the following health areas:

Current health

Some medical conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and epilepsy can increase your chance of developing problems during pregnancy. Likewise, if you have any infectious conditions, the infection or virus could be passed onto your baby. You should discuss your health with your healthcare professional.

Certain medications, either prescription or over-the-counter (OTC), can affect your fertility and/or harm your unborn child. Unless advised otherwise by your healthcare professional, you should avoid taking any medication if you are attempting to become pregnant, are pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Some medical conditions require continuing treatment and there are some medications that have been used safely during pregnancy and breastfeeding. If you have a medical condition, consult your healthcare professional to determine suitable treatment.

Genetic or inherited conditions

Some conditions may be inherited through your genetic make-up. These can be passed onto your baby. Examples of genetic diseases include haemophilia, cyctic fibrosis, thalassaemia and Huntington’s disease. Down’s syndrome is another example of a genetic condition, the risk of which is higher for women over the age of 35.

If you have any concerns, you may wish to discuss these with a genetic counselor or other suitable healthcare provider.

Vaccination updates

Some viral infections can be potentially harmful to your baby. If you have not already done so, you should be immunised against German measles (rubella) – and possibly other viral conditions – prior to conception,. German measles can cause your baby to develop abnormalities such as deafness, eye problems, and/or a mental handicap. Discuss any vaccinations you may require with your healthcare professional.

Other issues

other_issuesYour healthcare practitioner can provide further information about diet and lifestyle choices that will help you to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. These may include weight management, quit smoking and alcohol programs, exercise recommendations, stress management, your mental health and relationship support. In some cases, your healthcare provider may refer you to other specialists for further advice