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June 27, 2019

 How to support a healthy pregnancy

Your lifestyle after conception is just as important as before, to support a healthy pregnancy and baby. Dr Olivia Stuart, Fertility Specialist & Obstetrician at Fertility Associates recommends some important lifestyle changes that can improve the chance of conception and the health of a growing embryo.

 

Weight Underweight and overweight women have reduced fertility and more complications during pregnancy. Regular exercise and keeping your weight in the healthy weight range optimises your fertility and minimises your risks during pregnancy.

 

Quit smoking Smoking reduces the number and quality of eggs in the ovaries and reduces the age at which you reach menopause. It may also affect blood flow to the uterus. Women that smoke, or even non-smoking women that are exposed to second-hand smoke from their partners, have half the chance of conceiving and more than double the chance of miscarrying. Nicotine patches and electronic cigarettes are not advised as they also contain some of the harmful chemicals in tobacco.

 

Caffeine The impact of caffeine is still widely debated, but some studies show even quite small amounts can have adverse effects on fertility and pregnancy, so consider reducing your intake of tea, coffee, cola and energy drinks.

 

Alcohol Small amounts of alcohol are probably not detrimental but excessive alcohol can reduce your chances of pregnancy by up to 60% and drinking during pregnancy causes fetal abnormalities. Tried and true solution? Abstain from drinking while trying to conceive or during pregnancy.

Drugs Marijuana and other illicit drugs reduce your chances of pregnancy, increase your risk of miscarriage and can be highly damaging to the unborn child.

Medications Some medications may interfere with fertility and/or fertility treatments or cause fetal abnormalities such as immunosuppressants, warfarin and some anticonvulsants. You should see your GP, physician or fertility specialist for pre-conceptual counselling, to check for the safety of your prescription medications before you conceive.

 

Folic acid and vitamins Folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida by over 90% when 0.8mg is taken daily, starting one month pre-conceptually and until 12 weeks gestational age. Particular groups of women require the higher 5mg daily dose of folate such as diabetics, those on anti-convulsants or a previous history of a baby with a neural tube defect. A pregnancy multi-vitamin may be needed if you feel your diet has deficiencies, Vitamin A is a known teratogen, causing fetal abnormalities and should not be taken in women trying to conceive or during pregnancy. We recommend Elevit as it is the only multivitamin that contains all the recommended vitamins in pregnancy in a single tablet and can be purchased from chemists or our clinics.

Acupuncture Acupuncture can be very helpful as a stress-relief technique and can be beneficial to those on their journey to have a child.


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