Trying to Conceive – A ladies quick guide to preconception preparation
A ladies quick guide to preconception preparation
For those of you who are planning to get pregnant, there are a few simple steps you can take to optimise the pregnancy you are planning.
Having a baby is a life changing decision but the joy and love of children is tremendous. As with every parent, you would want the best for your child and to make sure that everything goes smoothly from the very start of the pregnancy including preconception, as there are certain measures within our control that can enhance this.
1. Screening for preventable diseases
Screening for preventable diseases such as rubella, varicella, and hepatitis B is a simple process but very beneficial prior to conception. Those who are found to be susceptible or non-immune to the above can be offered proven vaccinations.
However, please note that women are advised not to become pregnant for at least 1 month following rubella or varicella vaccination.
2. Folic acid supplementation
Supplemental folic acid is of great benefit when taken at least 2 months prior to conception and up to 12 weeks gestation.
Why is it important?
Folic acid has been proven to reduce the risk of developing neural tube defects in babies.
The recommended dose of folic acid is 0.4mg per day. However, for women who are currently taking anti-epileptic medication or who have previously had an infant with a neural tube defect, a higher dose of 5mg per day is recommended.
This is Level 1++ evidence.
3. Optimising other chronic medical conditions.
Should you have other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, or thyroid disease, optimising these conditions with the help of your doctor will be beneficial to both mother and baby.
Early discussion with your doctor, if you are thinking of getting pregnant, will aid in the preparation and implementation of an individualised management plan, which also may involve a change of medication.
So early planning is key!
4. Cervical screening.
Just an extra bit of information; cervical screening is quick and easy and is of proven benefit regarding cervical health. It is important for women to be up to date with regards to the national cervical screening program guidance. This applies to all and not just those thinking about starting a family.
So I wish good luck to all those wishing to start a family! But remember preconception health is very important and can be the foundation for a healthy pregnancy. A final echo of other important issues brought up by my colleague, Dr Tan, please remember to avoid high risk lifestyle activities; don’t smoke, don’t drink, and don’t take recreational drugs.
That’s all for now. Take care.
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