PLANNING FOR PARENTHOOD
It looks so easy: stop using contraceptives, make love and wait. But you can do more to become pregnant, and certainly to become pregnant healthily. In the last few years it has become clear that the health and life style of the woman have a definite influence on the development of the baby. You can optimise the start of the baby by having a healthy life style when you become pregnant. There are also ways to increase your fertility and thereby the chance of becoming pregnant.
If you want to become pregnant, it is useful to know which days you are fertile. You can determine that by looking at you menstrual cycle.
For most women the menstrual cycle is between 24 and 35 days, taken from the first day of your period until the first day of the next period. The ideal length of the cycle is 28 days. This occurs only for 15% of women.
With a cycle of 28 days ovulation occurs on the 14th day. With a longer cycle ovulation occurs later. You are fertile in the period of 3 days before and 1 day after ovulation.
To become pregnant it is not necessary to make love many times in that period. Once every two or three days is usually sufficient because male sperm can survive for a few days.
As midwives we can help you if you wish to have a baby. During this consultation of 45 minutes we take an anamnesis. This means that we ask you many questions about your health, the health of both families and your life style. Based on your answers we do a blood test if necessary and give you some personal advice.
If you wish, we will give you information about the possibility of screening for a congenital or hereditary deviation. Some of these tests are better taken before becoming pregnant. We will also discuss your menstrual cycle in order to assess when you are most fertile.
At the end of the consultation you will have a clear idea about what you should and should not do in order to be healthy and become pregnant as soon as possible. You will receive a booklet in which these tips and advice will be explained once more so that you can read it through at home.
A preconception consultation is free of charge. Everyone living in Amsterdam Centrum, Amsterdam Oost, West, De Pijp, Westerdok, Jordaan and Prinseneiland is welcome here.
In the 'preconception phase' you can do much to increase your chance of becoming pregnant. Furthermore, becoming pregnant when healthy is very important for the development of the baby. There is more to it than stopping with contraceptives and drinking alcohol.
- Start taking folic acid (vitamin B11). Begin doing this 4 weeks before you stop using contraceptives. Then, if you become pregnant immediately you will have sufficient folic acid in your body.
- Stop smoking. Smoking has a negative influence on fertility, also for the man!
- Stop drinking alcohol, both you and the man. Drinking alcohol, both for the woman and the man, around the time of fertilisation can increase the chance of a miscarriage.
- Have the pharmacist make a note in the computer when you are trying to become pregnant. 50% of prescription medication is (possibly) harmful during pregnancy.
- Being underweight can work negatively for your fertility. So try to eat healthy food and take enough exercise. If you would like to have advice about healthy food you can make an appointment with a dietician.
- If you are overweight, it is wise to lose some weight before becoming pregnant. A healthy weight doesn't only increase the chance of becoming pregnant but it also decreases the risk of complications. If you find it difficult to lose weight, a dietician can help you with this.
- Don't use vaginal showers if you are trying to become pregnant. The cervical mucus helps the sperm move towards the ovum.
- Doing any sport is good, but don't try to improve your condition.
- Take care with the following food products:
- Don't eat raw meat (this can cause toxoplasmosis, and an infection due to this is dangerous if you are (or shortly will become) pregnant.
- Don't eat products made with raw milk (this can contain listeria and an
an infection with this is dangerous if you are (or shortly will become)
- Eat little or no offal. This contains too much vitamin A and this can harm the foetus if you are pregnant.
- Always wash vegetables and fruit well before eating it.