Research shows that a mother’s physical and mental health, lifestyle, and nutrition all can have a profound impact on the development of her baby.That’s why making sure you’re in good health, following a healthy lifestyle and eating a balanced, nutritious diet is the most important thing you can do prior to conception. Here are a few ways to prepare your body:
- Speak to your doctor about planning for a baby
- If you smoke it’s important to quit. For advice and support, visit www.nhs.uk/smokefree
- Reduce your alcohol intake
- Maintain a healthy weight by eating a balanced diet
- Keep physically fit
- Make an appointment to see your dentist
- Avoid environmental toxins wherever you can
- If you have concerns about hereditary conditions in your family, speak to your GP about genetic counselling
In addition, starting to take a folic acid/folate supplement - such as Femibion 1*-as complement to a varied diet, is important as you prepare your body for pregnancy by increasing your level of folate. Taking a folic acid supplement before you become pregnant can help you right from the start, to reach the folate level you need.
Note that if you have a special medical condition, for example are taking medication for epilepsy, you should consult your doctor, as it might be necessary to increase the folic acid daily dose.
* Taking a folic acid supplement increases maternal folate level. A low level of folate in the pregnant mother is one of the risk factors in the development of neural tube defects in the developing fetus. Therefore it is recommended that women should take a 400µg supplement of folic acid daily over a period of at least one month before and up to three months after conception. Low maternal folate status as an important risk factor for neural tube defects has been scientifically proven. Other factors, such as hereditary factors, can also increase the risk of neural tube defect