Preconception planning can help you and your partner understand how to boost your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
Planning for Pregnancy
Tommy’s provide a useful a tool that will tell you all you need to know about how to improve the health of your future pregnancy and child.
Once you decide to plan a pregnancy, you’ll need to think about stopping the contraception you’ve been using.
Many women worry that some methods of contraception, such as the pill, injection or IUD, will make it difficult to get pregnant when they stop using them. No method of reversible contraception causes infertility.
When you stop using contraception your periods and fertility will return to normal.
If you use the contraceptive injection, your periods and fertility may take longer to return to normal than after other methods of contraception.
Don’t worry if you get pregnant very soon after stopping hormonal contraception, this won’t harm the baby.
If you've decided you're ready to start a family, there are things you can do now before you begin trying that will affect your fertility and the health of your pregnancy and baby.
When to take a Pregnancy Test
Pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day of your missed period, although some tests can be used as early as 4 or 5 days before your period is due.
If you have regular periods, you’ll probably know when your next period is due.
If you’re not sure, it’s a good idea to wait at least 3 weeks after you think you may have conceived before doing a test.
Planning Your Pregnancy
Key things to consider before getting pregnant
It’s recommended that all women who could get pregnant should take a daily supplement of folic acid.
You can get folic acid tablets at pharmacies, or talk to a GP about getting a prescription.
Do not worry if you get pregnant unexpectedly and were not taking folic acid supplements. Start taking them as soon as you find out, until you’re past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
- premature birth
- low birth weight
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as cot death
- breathing problems or wheezing in the first 6 months of life
The NHS Smokefree helpline (0300 123 1044) is open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 11am to 4pm at weekends.
It offers free help, support and advice on stopping smoking, including when you’re pregnant, and can give you details of local support services.
Do not drink alcohol if you’re pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Alcohol can be passed to your unborn baby.
The Chief Medical Officers recommend that the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all.
Drinking in pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to your baby, and the more you drink the greater the risk.
If you’re overweight, you may have problems getting pregnant and fertility treatment is less likely to work.
Being overweight (having a BMI over 25) or obese (having a BMI over 30) also raises the risk of some pregnancy problems, such as high blood pressure, blood clots, miscarriage and gestational diabetes.
Having a healthy diet and getting moderate exercise are advised in pregnancy, and it’s important not to gain too much weight.
Not all medicines are safe to take when you’re pregnant, whether they’re on prescription or medicines you can buy in a pharmacy or shop.
Do not stop taking your medicine without talking to your doctor.
Some infections, such as rubella (German measles), can harm your baby if you catch them in pregnancy.
If you have not had 2 doses of the MMR vaccine or you’re not sure if you have, ask your GP practice to check your vaccination history.
If you have not had both doses or there’s no record available, you can have the vaccinations at your GP practice.
You should avoid getting pregnant for 1 month after having the MMR vaccination, which means you’ll need a reliable method of contraception.
Diabetes & Pregnancy
Most pregnant women with diabetes will go on to have a healthy baby, but there are some possible complications you should be aware of.
The information on this page is for women who were diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes before they got pregnant.
It doesn’t cover gestational diabetes – high blood sugar that develops during pregnancy and usually goes away after the baby is born.
Diabetes UK are fighting for a world where diabetes can do no harm. Providing access to crucial information and supporting people experiencing life-changing and potentially fatal complications.
Call on: 0345 123 2399
Medication and Pregnancy
Stopping taking your medicine could be harmful to both you and your baby.
If you’re trying for a baby or are already pregnant, it’s important to always:
- check with your doctor, midwife or pharmacist before taking any prescribed medicines or medicines that you have bought
- make sure your doctor, dentist or another healthcare professional knows you’re pregnant before they prescribe anything or give you treatment
- talk to your doctor immediately if you take regular medicine, ideally before you start trying for a baby or as soon as you find out you’re pregnant
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