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Pregnancy & birth
What you need to know about preparing your body for conception, how the baby-making business works, and what to do if it doesn’t…
The lowdown on… pre-conception healthIf you’re thinking about starting to try for a baby, get yourself in tip-top condition for the best chance of a speedy conception and healthy pregnancy1. Give up smoking. Smokers are three times as likely to take more than a year to conceive. You’ll have to do it anyway once you get pregnant, so kick the evil weed now. 2. Lose excess weight (or put some on). Your ideal body mass index (BMI) is between 20-25. Calculate yours at eatwell.gov.uk. If you’re overweight, losing 10% of your weight can improve chances of conceiving, if you’re underweight, you may not have periods or ovulate. 3. Have a health MOT. It’s worth getting checked out for Genito-urinary infections such as Chlamydia and having your immunity to rubella tested, as this can cause birth defects if you’re exposed to it during pregnancy.4. Take folic acid. Start taking a pregnancy supplement containing folic acid (try sageorganic.com) three months before you want to conceive to reduce the risk of your baby developing spina bifida.5. Chart your cycle. Download an ovulation/basal body temperature chart from motherandbabymagazine.com (or if that’s too scientific, just make a note of the length of each menstrual cycle) so you can work out roughly when you ovulate – usually 14 days before the start of your next period.Eggs on iceFinding the right time to have a baby can be hard, especially if you haven’t yet met Mr Right. But a new method of freezing eggs, developed by a Japanese scientist, could mean women can store their eggs until they’re ready. Up until now, it’s been possible to freeze embryos (fertilised eggs) and sperm but eggs have tended to be damaged by the freezing process. Visit hfea.gov.uk to find clinics which offer the treatment.
71.6 times a year is the national average for making love - that’s just over once a week. It’s best to have sex once every two or three days when trying for a baby, so switch off that telly and get busy.
>> The top 10 natural fertility boosters>> The checks to make if you're planning on starting a family
Fraught fortnightIf you’re trying to conceive, you’ll know the two-week wait between ovulation and the start of your next period (or, hopefully, positive pregnancy test) can be agonising. Chat to other women who know what you’re going through on twoweekwait.com or the motherandbabymagazine.com message board’s ‘Trying for a baby’ forum.
Did you know? Most ordinary lubricants contain ingredients designed to kill sperm. Pre-Seed (£12.99, homechec.co.uk) has a pH balance specifically designed to help keep sperm alive and swimming. Or, cheaper still, raw egg white makes a very effective, natural lubricant.
Case study Reflexology helped Helen Laird, 27, from Plymouth, overcome PCOS to conceive Evie, now 20 months. She’s now 20 weeks pregnant with her second child. ‘I had a strange feeling we might have problems conceiving, so after six months of marriage, we decided to start trying. My periods were very irregular after I came off the Pill and sometimes I’d go four months without having one. After a year, nothing had happened and I began to think it never would. We were referred to a specialist by my GP and after blood tests and scans, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. In a way, it was good to know what the reason was. They were running a trial for reflexology at the hospital, and when I was offered the choice of that or Clomid, I chose reflexology as I didn’t want to pump my body full of drugs. It was an eight week course, once a week for an hour. After two weeks, my period came on time and tests showed I was ovulating. I felt very relaxed and positive about everything and we decided to book a holiday and forget about ‘trying’. Four months after I’d started reflexology, I found I was pregnant. I didn’t believe it at first, but when it sank in I was incredibly happy and completely forgot all the bad things. This time round, it only took seven months to conceive, but if it had taken any longer, I would definitely have tried reflexology again.’
>> How to predict when you're most fertile>> The top 10 natural fertility boosters
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Pre-conception health tips
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RE: Pre-conception health tips
I have a friend that is pregnant but she has a problem. Recently I had to admit her to one of those Washington drug rehab centers so the baby won't be affected. Luckily she realized that she has a problem in the early stages of the pregnancy and the baby hopefully won't be affected. She is in the care of the best!
31 October 2011 13:12
When my son couldn't sleep I sat down with him and we talked about the reasons that kept him up at night. He told me that he has Candida Albica and he was stressed out because of that. The resolve was easy: I took him to a doctor that prescribed a candidiasis treatment and now he sleeps like he is 6 years old.
31 October 2011 12:28
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10 September 2011 08:24
Freezing your eggs can be a good idea even if you already have kids and especially if you're not sure if you'll want more or not. It doesn't hurt to have a backup plan. A friend of mine had to follow a Methadone treatment and she was concerned about the possible effects this treatment can have on her body. First thing she froze up her eggs and made sure she will have the possibility of having children if she decided to. Lucky for her everything turned out, the Methadone worked, helped her quit her addiction and now she's actually in the best shape she can be.
21 August 2011 12:36
Can you tell me how long after an OxyContin rehab one should wait before conceiving a baby? I mean, how long does it usually take for the Oxycontin to completely leave the body? What other substances can be very harmful for a baby? I'm referring to sleeping pills, treatments for OCD or other such conditions.
29 July 2011 16:50
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