What advice would you give to a woman who is planning to become pregnant

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Last updated: November 22, 2019

If you are planning to become pregnant, there are many points you must first consider, and things you must do, to ensure your baby is healthy.

Firstly you need to make sure you are prepared and capable of looking after a baby. You need enough space not just for a baby, but also for all its toys, clothes and cot etc, and you need to make sure you can afford all the baby’s clothes and food, nappies etc. Babies also completely change your lifestyle; you won’t be able to go out whenever you want, you get an extreme lack of sleep, it could affect your career and will have to stay at home the majority of the time to look after your baby.You should be in a stable relationship, so your child has good role models and a safe environment, and it will help you a lot if you are guaranteed support from your family and friends. In addition you have to make sure that you, as a mother, will provide a safe environment whilst the baby is being formed, as well as after. You MUST give up smoking. Chemicals form the cigarette smoke pass to the baby through the placenta, nicotine increases the babies heart rate, and Carbon Monoxide decreases its’ oxygen level, which affects its growth and development.

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Smoking increases the risk of; premature birth, lower than average birth-rate, miscarriages, still birth, or deaths within the first week, foetal abnormalities and damage to the placenta, your babies lifeline. Any alcohol and drugs travel straight to your baby, again via the placenta. An occasional drink of alcohol is unlikely to harm the baby, but regular or a lot of alcohol can cause the baby to be deformed, or born addicted to alcohol. Drugs; such as LSD, cannabis, ecstasy, crack cocaine, heroin, and the solvents from some solvents and glues are incredibly dangerous to a baby.If taken buy the mother, the baby could be born deformed or addicted to the drug, the baby would then suffer terrible withdrawal symptoms, the same way as which an adult suffers. Also, medicines are potentially dangerous, but it is unlikely you will be prescribed them if your doctor knows that you are pregnant. There is a chance any medicines could interfere with the baby’s usual pattern of development causing it to develop abnormalities. Medicines that are known to be harmful are travel- sickness pills, and also some antibiotics.

There are many infections which can harm the unborn baby, so you should make sure you are immune before you get pregnant. Firstly Rubella, or German Measles; this is dangerous within the first four months of pregnancy. Although the mother may not be very ill, the baby could be killed, and if it survived it could be born deaf, blind, mentally handicapped or with a heart disease.

Most women are immune, but if not they are advised to stay away from children with rashes, and obviously any known cases of rubella. Most women are immune to chicken pox, however during pregnancy the mother could become very ill, and the baby affected.You mustn’t make any contact with cat faeces, so you can leave the litter tray, and also any sheep, particularly at lambing, as these can both harm the baby.

A rare disease, called Listeriosis, and in its mild form it is like influenza. Even a mild attack could result in miscarriage, still birth or severe illness in the unborn baby. It is caused by bacteria (listeria monocytogens), which can also grow in soft and blue veined cheeses, not fully heated meals, and meat which is not cooked properly. Whilst you are pregnant you should avoid all these foods, and also they habits I mentioned above upwards.

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