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Preconception testing:

Get a basic pre-pregnancy screening from your doctor. This should include;

  • Blood pressure assessment
  • Breast check
  • Weight check
  • Pap smear
  • Gynaecological examination
  • Lifestyle advice
  • Check immunity to rubella and varicella
  • Testing for cystic fibrosis (1 in 25 is a carrier)
  • Blood group and Antibody screen
  • FBE
  • Fe studies
  • Vitamin D and TSH check
  • Pelvic ultrasound
  • Day 2-3 of cycle FSH, LH and estradiol level
  • Antimullerian hormone and luteal phase progesterone level

Vitamin supplementation and diet:

  • Start a folic acid supplement 3 months before becoming pregnant to help reduce neural tube defects (at least 500mcg)
  • Start a pregnancy specific vitamin filled with other nutrients and minerals such as iodine, iron, vitamin D, B group vitamins and fish oil
  • With exercise and a sensible eating plan, reaching your ideal body weight pre-conception will assist with natural fertility and lower specific pregnancy complications associated with high BMIs

Lifetsyle changes:


  • Smoking affects oocyte and sperm quality, reduces your fertility, increases risks of miscarriage, pregnancy complications and results in smaller babies
  • Smoking speeds up your reproductive clock by 10 years and is associated with early menopause
  • Women who smoke are only 60% as likely to conceive as non-smokers
  • Smoking affects your unborn baby and may have long-lasting effects on your child such as cancer and heart disease.


  • Women should stop drinking when trying to conceive but 5 standard drinks a week is the maximum if this is not possible.
  • Men should not have more than 10 standard drinks a week.

Illicit drugs

  • Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and ice have detrimental effects on sperm and egg quality
  • They also have serious effects to unborn children
  • The use of illicit drugs should be stopped at least 3 months prior to conception


  • Limit your intake
  • No more that 2 cups of coffee, 2 glasses of cola or 2-3 teas a day


  • Maintain a healthy exercise program to help reduce stress
  • Pregnant women should avoid raising their pulse above 120

Medication safety check:

  • Many medications including blood pressure medications can be unsafe to use when pregnant
  • Check with your doctor who can help you find an alternative

Get in early:

Don’t be afraid to get an early referral to a fertility specialist especially if;

  • You are over 35
  • You have a history of endometriosis, pelvic infection ovarian cysts or ruptured appendicitis
  • Your cycles are irregular
  • You have a family history of early menopause (before 35)
  • You suffer from pain with intercourse or have issues having intercourse