Establishing a sensible exercise regime and healthy diet in the months leading up to trying to conceive will ensure that your body is in great shape, making it easier for you to cope with the physical demands that pregnancy has on your body.
Women with diabetes need extra care.
If you do have diabetes (either type 1 or type 2), it is very important that you speak to your doctor or diabetes clinic about becoming pregnant. Maintaining correct blood sugar levels when you are trying to get pregnant should be done with care. Once you are pregnant you will need to monitor and control the diabetes very carefully throughout your entire pregnancy.
If you know that there is a genetic condition in your family, or your partner’s family, speak to your doctor before trying to conceive. They may recommend you see a specialist for further advice. Once you are pregnant there are tests that can identify a number of genetic conditions.
In the lead-up to conception, it is a good time to check your own immunisation history.
Immunisation offers protection from some infections that can cause serious illnesses. For pregnant women, as well as their unborn babies or infants, some of these infections can cause birth defects.
Rubella infections during pregnancy can cause serious birth defects that affect the eyes, ears, brain and heart. If a pregnant woman catches rubella within the first 8-10 weeks of pregnancy, the chance that her baby will be born with a range of problems, including deafness, heart problems and intellectual disability, will be quite high. An unborn baby whose mother catches rubella anytime within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is at the most risk.
Before you get pregnant, ask your doctor to order a blood test to find out if you are already immune. If you are not immune then you can be immunised.
Remember: You will need to wait a month after your immunisation before you try to get pregnant.
Measles, Mumps, Rubella
You may need a booster shot of measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccination, check with your doctor.
Another dangerous infection is whooping cough. Babies can catch whooping cough from their parents and it may cause serious illness and even death in babies less than 6 months of age. If both parents are vaccinated before conception, the chance of passing it on are lessened. The Whooping cough vaccine can be given before pregnancy.
You can be immunised against influenza before or during pregnancy to protect you and your baby against Influenza.
Immunisation can provide protection against pneumococcal disease, which, for groups who are already ‘at risk’, such as smokers, or people with a chronic disease. Immunisation is best done before becoming pregnant.