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Looking after your health

CollapseAssess your weight

A healthy woman should have a body mass index (BMI) of between 20 and 25. You can calculate your BMI by clicking here.

Calculate your body mass index

Your fertility may be affected if you are underweight or overweight. Talk to your Origins doctor about how you can bring your BMI into the healthy range.

ExpandEat well and consider appropriate supplements

Good nutrition is important for any woman who wants to get pregnant. Not only are you preparing your body for the big job it has to do, you're protecting your future child from nutritionally-linked health defects and pregnancy complications. Get into the habit of nutritious eating now, and you'll find it easier to eat well when you're pregnant.

Our recommendations are:

  • Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. At least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day
  • Choose wholemeal or wholegrain breads and cereals whenever possible
  • Try to ensure that the fats you eat are good fats. Use products made with olive, avocado oil and flaxseed oil
  • Get into the habit of consuming at least three servings of milk or milk products each day - preferably reduced or low fat
  • Eat at least two servings of protein a day - lean meat, chicken, fish, eggs or legumes
  • Take folic acid tablets (0.8mg) every day. Folic acid supplementation reduces the risk of your baby being affected by spina bifida
  • Multivitamins recommended for pregnant women are an option to ensure you're getting adequate nutrition
  • Avoid high doses of vitamin A as this can cause birth defects
  • Avoid high risk foods for listeria and toxoplasmosis, infections that can cause pregnancy
  • complications. These include raw meat, chilled cooked meat, prepared salads, unpasteurised milk and cheeses, raw seafood and paté
  • If you are fond of herbal remedies, be aware that some herbs should be avoided. Talk to your naturopath or herbalist about your pregnancy plans
  • When buying medicines over the counter, ask the pharmacist for advice. Some medicines are not suitable for women who are planning to get pregnant.

Take a look at your lifestyle and review any bad habits you may have picked up. Now's a good time to move on to a healthier life. Even though you're not pregnant yet, you need to start thinking about sharing your body with someone else.

Our recommendations are:

  • Aim to exercise most days for 30 minutes or more. Alternate cardio work (power walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, aerobics) with muscle training (weights, yoga, pilates)
  • Reduce your alcohol intake and avoid binge drinking
  • If you smoke, give it up. Smoking is associated with reduced fertility, increased pregnancy complications and low birth weight babies

Have a dental check

There are two very good reasons to visit a dentist before you get pregnant:

  • The hormonal changes associated with pregnancy can aggravate problems with your gums and teeth
  • Once you're pregnant, some treatment procedures may not be possible

Aim for less stress

Extreme stress has the potential to interfere with fertility in both men and women. Here are some tips for controlling your stress levels.

  • Identify the source of your stress, then make appropriate changes to your work or home life
  • Avoid excessive intake of caffeine and other stimulants
  • Practice yoga or meditation techniques
  • Make time for relaxation
  • Exercise regularly to relieve physical and emotional tension

Think about your environment

It's wise to prevent or reduce your exposure to potential teratogens (chemicals that can cause birth defects). Now is not the best time for taking part in major household renovations! Here are some of the most common teratogens:

  • Solvents
  • Insecticides
  • Lead paint
  • Inorganic weedkillers
  • Resins
  • Cigarette smoke