Many things about pregnancy and parenthood are not predicable or preventable, but there are some lifestyle and medical factors that can both improve and cause problems for both the parents and the baby. A visit to the GP to discuss preconception matters and arrange screening and make a plan can be either reassuring or can uncover areas to improve the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy and baby.

1: Lifestyle and Behaviours.

Smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol or using street drugs are all relevant as are stressful workplaces, working with toxic substances or living in an abusive environment. It is now established that for both men and women's fertility and the health of their offspring, improving lifestyle has benefits to the baby.

2: Medical Conditions.

Some medical conditions can be screened for and  treated, such as STIs, thyroid disease, diabetes, eating disorders and chronic diseases Others, such as epilepsy, hypertension and various autoimmune diseases may need medication altered for safer treatments during pregnancy. Lack of immunity to rubella and chicken-pox may also require vaccination before pregnancy.

3. Medications.

Certain medications and over-the-counter medications,  when taken during pregnancy can cause serious harm to the developing baby. Folic acid has been shown to reduce the chance of a baby having a major birth defect from neural tube defects, and it is advised to start at least 4 weeks before and during pregnancy.

4. Weight

Those who are not within the healthy weight range have a higher risk of many serious outcomes, in pregnancy these include  miscarriage,diabetes, preeclampsia and complicated labours as well as a link to autism in their offspring. Overweight men also have significant problems possible due to reduced fertility and sperm health.

5. Family History

A family history for both partners may be important for the baby in risks such as congenital heart disease, other birth defects or for pregnancy such as increased miscarriage or clotting risks.

6. Mental Preparedness

Good mental health allows us to cope with life. Symptoms of anxiety and depression during pregnancy can affect your enjoyment of parenthood, relationships and increase the risk of cognitive problems in the child

7. Men

As a partner, men can support their partner when they are trying to eat well, reduce alcohol intake and increase their exercise..

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