Information and personal advice about becoming and staying healthy before and during pregnancy will be given during a fertility consultation. We will discuss how to increase your chances of a healthy baby by taking folic acid, for example, the importance of a healthy and varied diet, any medication use, health risks in your environment and the harmful consequences of drinking, drugs and/or smoking. But your questions, wishes, fears and/or doubts will also be discussed during a fertility consultation.
As a guideline for a fertility consultation, we use a questionnaire from the 'ZwangerWijzer' website (English PDF). The questions on this list give us a good indication of possible risk factors that may play a role for you, your partner and/or your family. We can discuss this during your consultation.
Folic acid and vitamins
The first step you can take if you wish to become pregnant is to take folic acid. Folic acid is a vitamin that greatly reduces the risk of having a child with a neural tube defect (including spina bifida). The recommended dose is one 0.4 or 0.5-mg tablet per day. If you have previously had a child with a neural tube defect, are taking medication for epilepsy or are expecting twins, the dose is one 5-mg tablet per day. It is sensible to take folic acid from the moment you wish to become pregnant to ten weeks of pregnancy.
Folic acid can be obtained without a prescription from the pharmacy, drugstore or supermarket.
During pregnancy, it is recommended to take extra vitamin D, 10 micrograms per day.
Preparing for pregnancy
Actually, 'the first step' to pregnancy is to stop using contraception. This is an exciting time, and it is important to keep a potential pregnancy in mind.
Not all medicine are safe during pregnancy. Before you become pregnant, it is advisable to check with your doctor, pharmacist or with us whether any medication you are taking is safe to use during pregnancy. If this is not the case, it is good to see if you can change medication or perhaps stop taking it. Medicine that are safe:
- Paracetamol without caffeine or codeine; with a maximum of six per day of 500 mg
- A number of medicines for heartburn, including: Rennies, Gaviscon and AntaGel
Smoking during pregnancy can cause complications for your baby. Precisely in the early stages of your pregnancy, the foundation is laid for the development of a healthy placenta. If you smoke, you are less fertile (men and women) and more likely to miscarry. That is why it is important to stop smoking before pregnancy! Naturally, this also applies to your partner! Read more at: nhs.uk/pregnancy/keeping-well/stop-smoking/
Stop drinking alcohol from the moment you decide to become pregnant. Alcohol consumption reduces the fertility of you and your partner and increases the chance of miscarriage. Drinking alcohol also holds risks for your baby, such as premature birth and brain damage. For more information: nhs.uk/conditions/foetal-alcohol-spectrum-disorder/
All forms of drug use are discouraged during pregnancy. A number of types of drugs increase the risk of congenital abnormalities. In addition, all drugs pose a risk of your baby having withdrawal symptoms. For more information, visit jellinek.nl/english/