Planning a pregnancy
If you are planning to become pregnant, you may be enjoying a completely healthy lifestyle already or you may be aware that some lifestyle changes would improve your health. Either way, it’s good to take a look at how to build a healthy baby, and if people who live together support each other with any lifestyle changes you are more likely to succeed.
Planning for Pregnancy | Tommy's is a free online interactive assessment to help you plan for your pregnancy. We recommend:
- FOLIC ACID: start taking this at least 12 weeks before you plan to conceive or as soon as possible, to prevent neural tube defects. The dose is 400mcg however a higher dose of 5mg is recommended if you have family history of neural tube defects, you have diabetes, epilepsy, or BMI of 30 or more.
- VITAMIN D: 10 micrograms (400 units) a day is recommended for all pregnant women, start taking it at the same time as your folic acid.
- NOT SMOKING: research evidence clearly shows that smoking increases the likelihood of pregnancy loss and poor outcomes for babies. Both parents should quit and the best way to stop is with support from a trained adviser and nicotine replacement therapy. So if you cannot stop on your own contact your local stop smoking service or ask your health professional for referral.
- NO ALCOHOL: There is no safe amount of alcohol in pregnancy, if you are trying to conceive, always chose alcohol-free drinks.
- LONG TERM CONDITIONS: if you have diabetes or epilepsy this can impact on your pregnancy and the choices you make so please ask for pre-conception counselling from your GP or specialist doctor.
- GENETIC / GENOMIC TESTING: this is to diagnose rare and inherited health conditions and some cancers. You may need a test if you or someone in your family have a health condition caused by changes to 1 or more of your genes, or a health condition that could be passed on to your children. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor about having a genetic test. Genetic and genomic testing - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
Find out more about all the above and planning your pregnancy from: Planning your pregnancy - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
The first 1000 days
Experts worldwide now agree that the first 1000 days of a baby’s life, and the care given to them from conception to the child’s 2nd birthday, are the most significant days in the child's development.
The science of epigenetics
How your baby grows before being born, how they are fed after birth and the environment they live in for the first 2 years of life determines whether or not your baby will have a high risk for disease in later life. Recommended for you:
- The epidemic of chronic disease and understanding epigenetics | Tedx Portland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReCvreRPdeY (17 minutes)
In this fascinating talk by Dr Kent Thornburg, he explains how new revelations from medical science mean that we can change the future for our children's health and longevity. He explains this in terms of pregnancy and birth and makes some fascinating revelations!
- Epigenetics and why inheritance is weirder than we thought! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AvB0q3mg4sQ
Family Lifestyle Choices
Right now is the best time to make lifestyle changes that will improve the long term health of yourself and your baby. Swap out unhealthy food and habits for healthy alternatives to create a better lifestyle for your whole family. If you are overweight, start by making changes that will enable you to lose weight (pre-conception only) as there are no benefits to being overweight during pregnancy. Being overweight, and especially if your BMI is over 30 carries increased risk to pregnancy and will affect your birth choices.
- Nutrition Advice: we recommend you follow the advice of the BDA:
- Physical Activity UK Government recommendations (PDF): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/829894/5-physical-activity-for-pregnant-women.pdf
- One You: if you are planning a baby, both parents are recommended to take a lifestyle check. Access a free lifestyle quiz and lots of support including apps you can download to your phone: https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou
If you are struggling to conceive Fertility (yorkshirefertility.co.uk) based in Halifax, provide care close to home and offer support through every step of your fertility journey. With dedicated staff and access to innovative technology they will help you find the right fertility solution. As well as NHS funded treatment cycles, they offer the highest quality care to self-funding patients.