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Before the Next Pregnancy

Parents Need to Remember

  • The health of both parents contributes to a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
  • Only one sperm out of millions fertilizes an egg.
  • If the sperm or the egg has not developed and matured properly, there is a chance that there will be a problem.
  • 50% of pregnancies are not planned. This is why it is important to take the steps to stay healthy.
  • Research shows that both the male and female contribute to the health of a baby at conception.
  • Drinking, smoking and not eating properly can cause serious harm to the developing baby.
  • Most harm takes place in the first 2-8 weeks after conception. At this time, a woman may not even know she is pregnant.
  • You can increase the chance of a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. This is why health before pregnancy is important.

We reach our best level of health by focusing on all the factors that contribute to a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy Lifestyle

Nutrition/Folic Acid

  • Eat a balanced diet according to Canada’s Food Guide.
  • All women should take a multivitamin containing 0.4 mg of folic acid every day to prevent brain and spinal cord defects in babies. Pregnant women should also ensure that their multivitamin contains 16-20 mg of iron.

Physical Activity

  • Use the Physical Activity Guide. Daily activity contributes to a healthy body, healthy pregnancy and easier labour.

Tobacco

  • Living smoke and tobacco free provides a healthy environment for baby to grow.

Caffeine, Alcohol and Drugs

  • Use of these can affect the quality of the women’s eggs and the man’s sperm. This may affect a couple’s ability to become pregnant.
  • In pregnancy, they may cause serious problems.

Healthy Environment

  • Be aware of dangerous chemicals at home, work, school, and hobbies.
  • Exposure to certain substances can damage a woman’s eggs or a man’s sperm. This can make becoming pregnant difficult.

Immunizations and Infections

  • Stay free from diseases by keeping your immunizations up to date.
  • Do not have unprotected sex. This will stop the spread of infection and disease.
  • Protect yourself against sexually transmitted infections; they can cause infertility.

Family Medical Conditions (Genetics)

Find out about your family’s medical history. There might be problems that affect your fertility. Your children may also be at risk for developing some medical problems. Prepare your family by staying healthy.

Emotions and Stress

Recognize what stresses you, and what you can do to decrease your stress. Stress can affect ovulation. Stress can also decrease sexual desire. Both of these will affect your ability to become pregnant. Remember healthier parents make healthier babies.

Reference:

Best Start (online), 2012

Health Before Pregnancy workbook is available at www.healthbeforepregnancy.ca