We all want to be sure that our baby has the best start in life so we need to ensure that both mum and dad to be are in the best of health before they conceive the baby.
So, things to stop doing as soon as you decide you are going to start trying for a baby:
1. If you smoke now is the time to stop.
Did you know that smoking:
Makes it harder to get pregnant
Increases your chances of a miscarriage
Can cause problems to the placenta – the source of the baby’s food and oxygen during pregnancy
Can cause the baby to be born prematurely
Is a risk factor of sudden infant death syndrome
Both female and male smokers have lower fertility levels – male smokers tend to have a sperm count that is 15% lower than that of non smokers
For more details on the risk of smoking during pregnancy see http://www.netdoctors.co.uk/health_advice/facts/pregnantsmoking.htm
If you need help to stop smoking go to http://www.smokefree.nhs.uk where they offer free products and support. For those Outside the UK you will need to google search for “help to stop smoking”
2. If you drink alcohol now’s the time to stop drinking
Everything you eat or drink will be absorbed by the placenta and you will share it with your baby.
The Department of Health and the Royal College of Midwives say it’s safest not to drink any alcohol in pregnancy. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says that you shouldn’t drink any alcohol in your first trimester, because of the risk of miscarriage.
Some research suggests that it won’t harm your baby if you have the equivalent of a small glass of wine, once or twice a week.
However, it makes sense not to drink during the first 12 weeks. These are the weeks when the building blocks of your baby’s brain and major organs are being laid down.
Or you may prefer not to drink throughout your pregnancy, because then you can be sure that your baby will be safe from the effects of alcohol.
If you do drink while you’re pregnant, have no more than one or two units of alcohol, no more than once or twice a week, and never enough to get drunk.
Getting drunk by heavy or binge drinking during your pregnancy can harm your baby. Heavy drinking is having six or more units of alcohol in a day. Binge drinking is five or more units of alcohol in one session.
What harm can drinking do?
When you have an alcoholic drink, the alcohol goes into your bloodstream. Once alcohol is in your bloodstream, it reaches your baby across the placenta.
Going beyond light, occasional drinking puts your baby at risk of developing problems that will last a lifetime. These problems range from fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) to fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), depending on how heavy or frequent your drinking is.
Babies born with FASD may have problems with attention, learning and social understanding, as well as speech, and often don’t grow as well as they should. A baby born with FAS, the most severe condition caused by alcohol, may also have brain damage and abnormal facial features.
Regular and/or heavy drinking during pregnancy also puts you at risk of having a miscarriage or premature birth. It may even increase the risk of your baby being stillborn.
If you’re finding it hard to cut down on alcohol, talk to your doctor or midwife. They won’t judge you, and will help you to have the healthiest possible pregnancy.
If you are being prescribed drugs by your doctor, check in with him/her to discuss if they will have any effect on you trying to conceive.
If you are on non-prescription drugs, then like alcohol these are likely to affect your baby. The baby can even be born with an addiction to that drug.
Illegal drugs such as marijuana and cocaine can seriously affect fertility, making ovulation (the monthly cycle where an egg is released from the ovaries) more difficult.
The more relaxed you are the better your body systems function. Stress can make women infertile, research has revealed.
Scientists found that those with high levels of a stress hormone stop ovulating and are therefore unable to conceive.
Severe stress may also affect female ovulation and limit sperm production.
Keep your stress levels as low as possible by listening to calming music, exercising, relaxing with friends, watching comedy ( I always found Harry Hill or You’ve Been Framed made me laugh so much my stress seemed to just disappear). Laughter is a great stress buster.
Learn to recognise when you are beginning to feel stressed and take action to release it before it takes over.
Now, I did say that commitment was needed in order to have a healthy and happy baby so if there is anything here that you do then you need to change that habit and stop doing it!
Apologies if its all been a bit doom and gloom today but it had to be said and best to get it over and done with early so we can start focusing on the positives!
Before I finish for the day I have two hot tips especially for the daddies to be.
TIP 1 Don’t carry your mobile phones in your trouser pocket – cell phones carried in your pocket will fry your sperm.
TIP 2 Stay away from really hot baths, saunas and jacuzzis – these will boil your sperm!
Still ready to commit? Great. Tomorrow we will be looking at what foods to eat to enhance your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy happy baby.