Are you ready? Pre-pregnancy advice

Visit your gynaecologist or GP before you start trying to conceive

When a couple decide to start trying to conceive, the woman may wish to have a medical examination before she gets pregnant to check for any medical or psychosocial problems that may occur. A pre-conception consultation should be the first port of call. It should take place one year before the pregnancy and can involve your GP or gynaecologist. This first consultation should focus on three key areas: 

  • Identifying any undiagnosed medical problems that could complicate the pregnancy, such as chronic high blood pressure; cardiovascular, kidney or lung disease; and endocrine disorders like diabetes.
  • Ensuring your gynaecological examinations are up-to-date, if all the relevant screening tests have not been performed.
  • Providing information on how to help prevent foetal abnormalities. Research has shown that having the correct levels of folic acid in the body prior to conception boosts the early development of the embryo's central nervous system. Almost all women are now recommended to take folic acid if they plan on getting pregnant.

Regular medication

During conception, it can sometimes be necessary to change the treatment used for certain chronic diseases and replace any medication that may harm the foetus with harmless alternatives. Talk to your GP before you get pregnant so he or she can assess your situation.

Physical exercise

You can carry on with any physical exercise you normally enjoy while trying to get pregnant. Once you are pregnant, it is advisable to undertake moderate exercise such as swimming, and avoid violent or risky sports.