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When you’re planning to start or expand your family, your physical health is one of the first steps in preparing for a successful pregnancy. Prioritising your health before conception can lead to a smoother pregnancy journey and a healthier baby. Here are six actionable tips to help you get ready for this life-changing milestone.

1. Book a Preconception Check

Kickstart your pregnancy journey by scheduling a pre-pregnancy check-up with your obstetrician & gynaecologist.

Your doctor will perform various screening tests to check for any existing medical conditions, genetic issues, or infections that could affect your future baby. If you are not vaccinated against certain diseases like rubella, chicken pox and Hepatitis B, then you will be advised to get vaccinated. If you have health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, or PCOS, your doctor can guide you on managing your medications. You can also discuss any concerns and get personalised preconception health tips to improve your chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.

2. Take Your Folic Acid Regularly

One of the most vital nutrients for a developing baby is folic acid. It is recommended that women trying to conceive begin taking daily folic acid supplementation, which has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, in infants. The standard advice is to take a daily vitamin supplement containing 400 micrograms of folic acid for at least one month before conception and throughout the first trimester of pregnancy. Taking folic acid can potentially reduce the risk of preterm birth by up to 20% if started 3 months before conception and is continued in pregnancy.

Food products recommended for pregnancy

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet

What you eat plays a critical role in your fertility and pregnancy journey. Getting a nutrition guidebook can help you understand which foods are most beneficial. For example, a diet rich in iron, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids is essential for both mother and child. Eating various fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products will provide the necessary nutrients to support a growing foetus.

4. Get Regular Exercise and Monitor Your Body Weight

Exercise is beneficial for overall health, but it is particularly important for pre-pregnancy health. Regular physical activity can help regulate your menstrual cycle, manage your weight, and reduce stress. It’s also beneficial for building the stamina needed for labour and delivery. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week and include muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

5. Avoid Alcohol and Other Harmful Substances

It’s well-known that alcohol, tobacco, and other substances can have harmful effects on an unborn baby. But did you know that even exposure to certain environmental toxins, like pesticides and lead, can damage foetal development? Avoiding these substances before conception and discussing the safety of any medications you’re taking during pregnancy with your healthcare provider can provide your baby with an optimal start.

6. Don’t Stress Out

Your overall mental well-being plays a significant role in fertility. Adopting a healthy lifestyle not only nurtures your body but also enhances your chances of conception. Factors such as exercise, diet, and sleep can influence hormone levels and ovulation. So make sure to engage in activities like yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises that can contribute to your overall mental health and potentially enhance fertility. Getting enough rest is also essential, as it can help regulate your body and reduce unnecessary stress.

Pregnant woman holds green sprout plant near her belly

Preparing your body for pregnancy is a journey that requires thought, care, and action. Following these six tips can improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby, especially as you get older. If you’re planning to start a family soon or if you have any worries about having a geriatric pregnancy, consider reaching out to a high-risk pregnancy specialist or a gynae for a pre-pregnancy checkup. Remember, ensuring you’re as healthy as possible is the most essential step in preparing for pregnancy.

At SMG Women’s Health in Singapore, we’re dedicated to providing you with comprehensive care and advice every step of the way. Through our detailed preconception screenings and pre-pregnancy checkups, our team of specialists addresses your concerns and supports you from the start of your pregnancy journey through delivery and beyond.

Book your appointment today and take the first step towards a future filled with the wonders of motherhood.

Incorporated in 2005, Singapore Medical Group (SMG) is a healthcare organisation with a network of private specialist providers across four established pillars - Aesthetics, Diagnostic Imaging & Screening, Oncology and Women's & Children's Health. Within Singapore, SMG has more than 40 clinics strategically located in central Singapore and heartland estates. Beyond Singapore, SMG also has an established presence in Indonesia, Vietnam and Australia. Learn about our privacy policy here.

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