Allow me make my argument here, just like most other major decisions in life, pregnancy is something that benefits from careful planning. To provide the best care for both yourself and your baby, being well-informed and prepared can make the experience much more enjoyable.
Your best chance at conception and safe pregnancy is by having a healthy body:
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Check your private health insurance policy. You may not be covered for maternity-related care and there could be a waiting period for eligibility.
Save money each month in a high interest bearing account. Be realistic about what you can afford to save and try to stick to it. At the end of your pregnancy, use the money to help with those extra ongoing expenses, such as nappies, baby wipes and baby clothes.
Having a well-balanced and nutritious diet is great for you and your baby. Remember: a high-fibre, low-fat diet, with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, is the best basis for great health.
Getting into the habit of regular, non-contact exercise is a good thing to do pre-pregnancy. Try to avoid high-level workouts that leave you overheated and exhausted. Aim to be as close to your recommended ideal weight as possible before conceiving.
In the very early stages of pregnancy, your developing baby can be affected by infections and food-borne illnesses such as rubella, syphilis, toxoplasmosis and listeria. Safe, hygienic food preparation is essential. Your doctor can advise you regarding checking your rubella immunity levels. If your levels are low and you do need to be immunised, you will need to wait at least 28 days before conceiving.
Folic acid reduces the risk of having a baby with a neural tube defects such as spina bifida. Those at high-risk include anyone who has been previously affected, as well as anyone with a family history, diabetes or on anti-epileptic medication.
Folic acid supplements are advisable for all women. Those at risk should take 5mg daily at least one month before pregnancy, but ideally for three months before conceiving. All other women should have 0.5mg tablets daily three months before conception, continuing for three months.
Genetic or developmental disorders need to be considered if there is a past obstetric history, a family history or advanced maternal age (generally considered over 35).
If you have concerns or questions about getting yourself and your partner tested, speak to your doctor for further advice. Read more on genetic testing.
It is also a good idea to know the blood groups of both you and your partner. If your blood group is negative but your partner’s is positive, conception will need careful attention.