Trying for a baby
Congratulations you and your partner have decided that you are ready to have a baby… Now what?
Below are a few of the things you can do in preperation for trying to conceive.
In This Section
Start Taking Folic Acid
It is recommended that women planning to get pregnant should take a folic acid supplement containing 400micrograms of folic acid every day. This is to help prevent neural tube defects in your baby such as spina bifida. Ideally you should start taking folic acid three months before you conceive so make this the first thing you do once you start planning for a baby.
The next step is to stop using contraception. If you have been using condoms (male or female), the cap, the diaphragm or natural family planning, then your menstrual cycles and fertility will not be disrupted by stopping to use your contraception and you can start trying straight away. If you have been taking the contraceptive pill or have been having injections then stopping will take a little bit longer as your body adjusts and your menstrual cycles return to normal. If you have an Intrauterine device (IUD), otherwise known as a “coil” or “copper coil” fitted; you will need to make an appointment at your local PYB surgery to have it removed by a specially trained doctor or nurse. Once the IUD has been removed it will be possible to get pregnant straight away.
Understand your menstrual cycle to have sex at the right time
When you are trying to conceive, understanding at what point in your menstrual cycle you are ovulating will help you to maximise your chance of getting pregnant. The average cycle is 28 days long and ovulation occurs around day 14 (this is only a guide) but having sex on the day that your boy releases an egg (ovulation) or for a few days before will increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Pay attention to the food you are eating
It is important to eat healthy foods so that not only do you look after your own body in preparation for getting pregnant that you also give your baby the best start. Try to eat regular well balanced meals with lots of fresh ingredients and cut down on processed and junk food. There are also quite a few foods that you should avoid when trying to conceive and whilst pregnant such as:
- Foods that may contain salmonella like raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat or shellfish
- Foods that could contain Listeria like unpasteurised dairy products, liver or liver pâté and leftovers
- Foods that contain high levels of vitamin A like liver/liver products
For a more in-depth list of what foods to avoid in pregnancy as recommended by the NHS click here
Stay fit with a healthy body weight
Ideally being fit and active before you conceive will help you to get pregnant. Achieving your ideal weight before you conceive will help you to be healthy and to keep moving through your pregnancy. Your body will go through a lot of changes whilst pregnant so doing plenty of exercise will help reduce the stress, improve your mood and increase your energy levels.
Stop smoking, recreational drugs and drinking alcohol
If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum. Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to the baby, with the more you drink, the greater the risk.
Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to a variety of health problems, such as premature birth, low birth weight, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death, miscarriage, breathing problems or wheezing in the first 6 months of life.
You can find useful information on the dangers of smoking during pregnancy and advice on how to stop on the Smoke free website.
Using illegal or street drugs during pregnancy, including cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, can have a potentially serious effect on your unborn baby. For more information please click here.
Speak to your Doctor
If you have any concerns about getting pregnant then please speak to your GP before trying to conceive. Your doctor can give you advice about, stopping contraception, any medication or current health issues you have or any other concerns you may have.