Allow Yourselves Time
Allow 3-6 months to prepare yourselves. If you have been pregnant before, allow 9-12 months after the birth of the last baby before trying for another. Make a note of the dates of your periods so that it will be easier to work out the date your baby will be due.
See Your Doctor about Drugs and Disorders
Most drugs that the mother takes will get through to the developing baby’s circulation so it is wise not to take any drugs in pregnancy, unless this is essential. Paracetamol seems to be quite suitable. Some conditions such as epilepsy will require treatment but many conditions can be managed without drugs. It is important to mention to the pharmacist or doctor that you are planning/or may be pregnant when you seek their advice.
Check with your mother and your partner’s mother about any family diseases which may pass from one generation to another. Also ask them about babies born into the family with anything wrong with them, or still births. Seek advice from your GP or midwife.
Protect Your Baby from Infections
Have your blood tested to see if you are immune to rubella (German measles). If not, get vaccinated and be sure to avoid conceiving in the following three months. Even if you think you are immune steer clear of anyone who may have rubella as immunity can and often does wear off.
Remember that cats and dogs carry infection which can be transmitted to the developing baby. It is advisable to keep cats down from working surfaces in the kitchen and carefully wash your hands after handling animals. Toxoplasmosis is an infection that can be passed on in this way and can be found in cat faeces, and in raw meat. It is advisable therefore not to eat raw or undercooked meat during pregnancy and to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw meat. Clean vegetables and salads carefully as they may carry the infection if fouled by cats.
In farming areas it is worth remembering that sheep infected with chlamydiosis can infect humans and this can lead to miscarriage and serious illness. Infection usually occurs when a pregnant woman is assisting in lambing and this should be avoided.
Check for Anaemia
At the same time have a full blood count done to check for anaemia and a test called CETPIA for venereal disease.
For couples of Afro-Caribbean or Mediterranean origin a test for sickle cell anaemia and thalassaemia may also be done.
Come off the pill and use a barrier method such as sheaths or the cap for a few months.
Eat Good Food
Take extra Folic Acid as a supplement or by eating spinach and broccoli.
Eat a wide ranging healthy diet. If you eat a limited range of food ask to see our dietician.
Avoid ox and calf liver as they contain excessive vitamin A.
Avoid cook chill foods and unpasteurized foods, e.g. some cheeses, pate and some ready cooked meals.
Mothers should be aware of eating large amounts of peanuts during pregnancy is inadvisable. Babies can be sensitised to the allergy in utero.
Smoking can damage a man’s sperm. It is also harmful to women before pregnancy and can damage a baby during pregnancy.
Support is available at the surgery to help you to stop smoking.
Cut Down on Alcohol
Current advice is to avoid alcohol during pregnancy.
Have Enough Exercise and Rest
Even walking and especially swimming will tone up your body.
Check on Dangers at Work
If you work with chemicals or VDU’s discuss your environment with your Health & Safety representative. (VDU’s are considered safe for limited periods now).
Be up to date with your smear checks.
Have a dental check.
Relevant Blood Tests
The midwife or practice nurse can do the relevant blood tests by appointment.
Good luck and enjoy this time. (It’s lovely to be able to forget about contraception for a while).
If you have been trying to get pregnant for over a year, but without success, please come and see the doctor for advice.