If you are planning on having a baby, there are several things you can do to promote the well being of your own health and that of your baby:
- A Healthy, Pre-Pregnancy Routine: This will ensure that you are in good mental and physical shape and this will have a positive effect on your baby, not just at birth but for the rest of his or her life.
- Contraception is an Issue: If you have been taking the pill, it is best to wait for at least 3 months after you have stopped taking the pill before trying for a baby. Don't forget to use a different form of contraception, like a condom or cap, until you're ready to conceive.
- Check Your Rubella Status: A Rubella (German Measles) vaccination is recommended if you are non-immune (a simple blood test will indicate this, as exposure to the virus in early pregnancy can result in a seriously handicapped child.) However, you must not conceive for at least 3 months following vaccination, as there is a high risk of abnormality in the foetus.
- Stop Smoking: Studies show that smoking in both mothers and fathers reduces the ability to conceive. There is also an increased rate of miscarriage, premature birth and lower birth weight. Also, children of smokers have a slight reduction in reading ability and an increase in cot death syndrome.
- Avoid Alcohol: Miscarriage rates are higher in drinkers and high levels of alcohol can cause foetal alcohol syndrome. Moderate drinking has not shown effects to date but alcohol DOES cross the placenta and may affect the baby's brain and liver.
- Diet & Hygiene: Avoid Vitamin A Supplements or foods rich in Vitamin A (such as liver)
Eat foods rich in Folate (such as sprouts, asparagus, spinach and fortified cereals)
Take Folic Acid (0.4mg/day from pre-conception to Week 13)
Ensure home grown produce is well washed in view of cats (Toxoplasmosis) and avoid contact with cat litter trays
Avoid chill/cook produce and unpasturised cheeses throughout your pregnancy (Listeria)
- Current Health Status: If you are being monitored by a specialist clinic for an on-going medical condition, ensure that they are aware of your plans and desire to conceive. Some medications might have to be stopped, so please consult your doctor.
If you are trying for a baby but do not conceive after a year or so, you may wish to see your GP or family planning clinic just to rule out any possible fertility problems.
Some medical conditions are inherited and many can be tested for. Your current health status (weight, blood pressure etc) is also important to conception, so consultation with your doctor and/or midwife is recommended.
Useful Websites & Phone Numbers
www.patient.co.uk (search pre-conception)
www.fpa.org.uk (Family Planning Association: 0845 310 1334)
www.bpas.org (British Pregnancy Advisory Service: 08457 30 40 30)
What do I do now I think I am pregnant?
- Pregnancy tests: We normally recommend a pregnancy test if you are a week overdue with your period. Most people do a test available from the chemist as this gives instant reliable results. It is best performed on a fresh sample of urine passed first thing in the morning after not having drunk a lot of fluid the night before.
- Negative test: If negative it either means you are not pregnant or the test has been done too soon. Repeat on another early morning sample 1 week later.
- Positive test: Make an appointment to see your GP. Preferably before 8 weeks from your last period. Sooner if possible if you are considering termination or if you think you would like screening for genetic abnormalities such as Downs syndrome.
- Seeing the GP: The GP will want to know the date of your last period and whether there is a family history of any genetic diseases or any past pregnancy problems. Your GP will sign you up for maternity services, arrange prescription exemption and arrange referral to the hospital of your choice.
Think about which hospital you would like to be booked into.
Chester: If you are planning to have your baby at the Countess of Chester the midwife will need to see you for a booking appointment as soon as possible after your pregnancy has been confirmed. Please arrange this at surgery reception. If no appointments are available, a home visit may be arranged. Please leave a contact phone number so the Midwife can arrange a date and time. Please collect a booking pack from reception, filling in the white booking form and read the screening booklet before your first midwife appointment. A dating scan appointment will be sent in the post.
Wrexham: If you are planning to have your baby at the Wrexham Maelor your booking appointment will be at the hospital but you should make a non booking appointment to meet the midwife (who is based at the Countess of Chester) in the surgery.Your hospital appointment will be sent in the post along with a dating scan appointment. Following your anatomy scan at 20 to 22 weeks you will be followed up in between hospital visits by the surgery midwife.
If you are having any problems in the pregnancy do not wait until your next appointment. Feel free to arrange an earlier appointment or contact the surgery so the midwife can ring you back. If it is an urgency such as vaginal bleeding or cramping stomach pains contact the surgery straightaway and ask to speak to a doctor.
For more details about the surgery midwives follow this link - midwives