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Preparing for Pregnancy

By March 30, 2014 January 6th, 2015 No Comments

Making the decision to start a family can be thrilling, inspiring, and overwhelming all at once. With so much information at our fingertips, and so opinions from friends and family, it can be difficult to sort the facts from the hype in ensuring the best start for your little one.

Get Healthy
First things first. Healthy parents tend to make healthier babies. Now is the time to get your body ready for a baby – give up smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, and optimise your nutrition. The coffee and crackers diet that might sustain you through a busy day at work won’t cut it with a baby on board. Adopt healthy habits now, and sustain them throughout pregnancy and beyond. Your body – and baby – will thank you.

Vitamins
“It is becoming clear how important the first few weeks of a pregnancy are to the baby’s future,” says Dr Michael Flynn, a specialist in fertility management and pregnancy care. “Eating healthily, taking antenatal vitamins and being conscious about medications can give your baby a real advantage.”

Folic Acid
Watch any TV ad for pregnancy vitamins and you’ll know how important folic acid is to foetal development. Dr Flynn says, “Folic acid is probably the simplest thing you can do to help your baby. Spina bifida is intimately related to low folic acid intake and if you take folic acid (contained in most antenatal multivitamins) you can almost eliminate spina bifida.”

Exercise
Carrying extra weight before pregnancy can not only affect your ability to conceive, it can make it so much harder to lose the weight once your baby is in your arms. “Pregnancy often takes its toll on your body and women who have a level of fitness before becoming pregnant seem to recover quicker,” says Dr Flynn. Work towards your optimal weight, and continue with daily exercise (modified during pregnancy) to boost blood flow, oxygenate your body, and get that pregnancy ‘glow’.

Immunity
A quick check to test your immunity to rubella, chicken pox and whooping cough before conception is important. If necessary, a simple immunisation will decrease any risk to your baby.

Get Informed
Do you know when you ovulate? How long your cycle is? When is the ‘right’ time to have sex to conceive? The window for conception is small, given a 28 day cycle – only two to three days. Ovulation charting can be helpful to determine your ideal time to ‘try’ each month, but don’t obsess about it.

“The first thing when trying to get pregnant is not to get stressed – it should not be a chore,” says Dr Flynn. “Identifying the right days to conceive has become a lot easier with the many ovulation apps available on your smart phone, but unless you know you have an existing health issue, just relax and let things happen naturally.”

Get Advice
Now is a great time to look at your pregnancy and birth care options. When reviewing obstetricians, look at the services they offer such as continuity of care, from pre-pregnancy, fertility management and gynaecological care through to pregnancy and post-birth support . Many women find they prefer one doctor who will be with them throughout, as opposed to a team of varying doctors at each stage.

Dr Flynn suggests doing your research, and asking for referrals from friends. “Many women ask their friends about their experiences and word of mouth is important,” he says. “Pregnancy and having a baby is both the most exciting but occasionally the most stressful time of your life. Be comfortable with your birthing care options and never be afraid to ask questions.”

Now is really the time to treat your amazing body as a ‘temple’. You will soon be creating life – make the investment in your health and body now to prepare for this incredible work.

For more information, visit www.drmichaelflynn.com.au.

Next month: Dealing with difficulties in conceiving

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.