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Conception - Health & Wellbeing

Choosing to have a child is a major life decision — perhaps the biggest one you'll ever make. Certainly, becoming a parent will change your life profoundly. As you contemplate being a mum or dad you are likely to be experiencing an array of emotions, a mixture of longing, excitement and anxiety. Doubts and questions are common: will I be a good enough parent? How will I cope with the tiredness? What if I don't have any parenting instincts? Will I resent having to always put my child's needs first? While it is impossible to be prepared for all of the emotional and physical changes you will experience, a little thought and preparation can be very beneficial. By preparing yourself physically and emotionally for a pregnancy, you can be sure to give yourself and your baby the best possible chance to be healthy and happy.

Physical Health

As soon as you make the life changing decision to start trying for baby, the most important thing you can do is make an appointment with your doctor. As each mum-to-be will have a different experience with pregnancy, it is extremely beneficial to talk to a professional for some advice that is specific to you, and your own body. Your GP will be able to answer any questions you have about both becoming pregnant and pregnancy in general, and many more that you wouldn’t even think to ask, as well as providing advice as to how you should proceed in your prenatal health plan.

There are many factors involved with your current physical health, as well as previous and recurring conditions that will affect your experience with conceiving. Your doctor will also enquire about any existing or genetic conditions that might occur within your family, and help to arrange support, advice and preventative treatments to assist with any worries or concerns you might have.

It is important that dad-to-be also talks with a healthcare professional. A baby is made up of both mum and dad’s genes, and any pre-existing conditions that dad might carry will be a factor in planning out your pregnancy as well. Dad’s diet, lifestyle habits and mental health will also affect your experiences with conceiving.

Some existing conditions such as Diabetes, Asthma, High Blood Pressure, Epilepsy and a variety of others can affect your ease of conception. Your doctor can advise you of any medical treatments and/or lifestyle choices that may need to be modified to increase your chances of conceiving successfully and having a healthy pregnancy. Certain congenital defects and physical conditions can increase the risk involved in carrying a baby to term, and might require extra medical care from a specialist doctor in addition to your obstetrician. The earlier that the risk can be identified the more time your medical support team has to formulate your treatment plan.

Mental Health and Wellbeing

It is important to remember that becoming pregnant will change not only your body physically, but will also impact exponentially on your emotional wellbeing and mental health in general. Having a baby will change your life on an all-encompassing scale, starting from the day you first start considering growing your family.

It can be helpful for both prospective Mums and Dads to read and learn about what they can expect regarding their emotional and mental health during the conception process, and to educate themselves in ways to support each other and themselves through this vast stretch of new experiences. Talking to family members, friends, and even experts about different challenges that may arise can be a vital step in your parenting preparation.

It is also important to be aware that you cannot prepare for everything, and part of being a parent is accepting that there are many experiences that can, and may, occur during your new life. Being open and talking about things like unexpected health complications, emotional and relationship issues, financial difficulties and sudden lifestyle changes is an important step in recognizing that there is a problem and finding a way to work through them.

Diet and Nutrition

There are lots of theories floating around about what you should and should not eat once you are pregnant, but it is important to think about your own diet and nutrition before you conceive as well. Starting to stock your body with the vitamins and nutrients that will help your baby thrive will not only make sure you have an abundance of them once you are pregnant, but will also benefit you yourself now.

The best thing to do is make sure you are eating healthily for an adult in general, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, recommended amounts of dairy, protein and fibre to keep your body functioning at its highest state. This includes cutting back on sugary, high fat foods such as fast foods, and being aware of the hidden dangers that some foods may hold. When attempting to fall pregnant, some women find it beneficial to start eating in the manner they will once they are in fact pregnant. Some information on foods that should be avoided and the risks involved with them are below.