Being healthy is crucial to improving the chances of getting pregnant and preventing complications during the pregnancy. Good pre-pregnancy health includes getting a check-up and talking with healthcare professionals about conditions that may affect the gestation journey. It is recommended to focus on improving health at least 3 months before starting to try to conceive. During the pre-pregnancy check-up, healthcare professionals will inquire about potential health implications, including their medical history, to rule out any conditions that may run in their family. Also, they will discuss lifestyle implications and how different factors such as diet and alcohol consumption impact pregnancy.
Healthcare professionals often prescribe folic acid supplements, which are very important in the first three months of pregnancy. Folic acid is a vitamin B that can help reduce the risk of babies developing neural tube defects (spina bifida). It is recommended that women intending to become pregnant take 400 mcg of folic acid supplement aday – before and after becoming pregnant. The folic acid supplement can be in the form of a multivitamin containing diverse beneficial vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that keep the body healthy and prepare it for pregnancy. It isessential to discuss supplements you may take with your healthcare professional to ensure they are appropriate for you and your (pre-)pregnancy stage.
Being very overweight or underweight has been shown to interfere with ovulation and fertility. In this case, it is important to see a dietitian who has expertise in pre-pregnancy weight control. Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may have issues with getting pregnant. PCOS is the most common cause of infertility affecting between 5% and1 0% of women during their reproductive age. The PCOS etiopathology is unclear, but evidence indicates a potential genetic cause which may be influenced by the gestational environment and lifestyle. Most women can be successfully treated. One way to treat PCOS is by taking the supplement inositol, a vitamin B-like supplement that regulates the body’s egg production and, over time, minimises many of the PCOS symptoms.
Getting mentally healthy is important for a healthy pregnancy. Reducing stress can only contribute positively to women’s overall well-being during this time. Any activity each individual performs that contributes to a healthy mindset should be continued and highly encouraged as is physical activity.
1. Moos, Merry-K, et al. Healthier women, healthier reproductive outcomes: recommendations for the routine care of all women of reproductive age. AJOG Volume 199, Issue 6, Supplement B , Pages S280-S289, December 2008.