If you have visited your doctor for preconception care yet, it’s important to make a visit now, before you are pregnant. Preconception care focuses on optimising your health before pregnancy, by:
- Screening for and addressing any health conditions you may have;
- Assessing and, if necessary, correcting any nutritional deficiencies or health conditions you may have;
- Ensuring your immunisations are up to date; and
- Ensuring that you are emotionally prepared for pregnancy.
Don’t wait until you discover you’re pregnant. By the time you test positive for pregnancy, your baby has already begun growing and it is not as simple to correct any health problems.
For example, all pregnant women in Australia are provided with folate supplements to reduce the risk of neural tube deficits, that is, problems with the baby’s nervous system such as spina bifida. The neural tube begins to form very early in pregnancy, in the initial two weeks following conception, before you have missed your period and know that you’re pregnant. If you don’t have folate before getting pregnant, your baby will develop for several weeks without the benefit of supplemental folate to support the healthy growth of its nervous system.
Other preconception care interventions also need to be provided before you fall pregnant. For example, many immunisations which are needed to prevent you from getting diseases like chicken pox, measles and mumps, can harm your baby if they are administered during pregnancy. Your immunisations need to be up to date before you conceive.
For more information about preconception care, see Advice about pregnancy planning.
More information on the 1st week of pregnancy
|For more information on the first week of pregnancy, see 1 week pregnant.
|For more information about the changes that occur when pregnant, see Changes for mum and baby this week.
|For more information about preparing your body for pregnancy with healthy eating and exercise, see Women’s health and lifestyle tips for getting pregnant this week.
|For more information about how to improve the chances of getting your partner pregnant, see Men’s health and lifestyle tips to boost fertility and sperm health this week.
|For more information about the key points on the first week of pregnancy, see Key points this week.|