Individual circumstances may vary depending on individual conditions.
Generally, one should be as healthy as one can possibly be. That means a healthy balanced diet, regular physical exercises and no vices (such as smoking, minimal alcohol and definitely no recreational drugs). There is no reason one cannot have a balanced diet being a vegetarian (see Medical Journal of Australia, 4th Jun 2012). However, it obviously requires more planning.
Regular exercises does not necessarily mean one should join a gym, but simple exercises such as 30 to 40 minutes of brisk walking 3 to 4 times a week would constitute very healthy exercises.
Additionally, women are recommended to take Folic Acid at 0.5mg daily prior to getting pregnant. The recommendation is that ideally, one has taken Folic Acid for at least 3 months prior to getting pregnant. The benefit is to reduce the likelihood of “spinal cord abnormalities” in babies.
Iodine supplementation (150µg per day) is also recommended as there is some evidence of improved brain functioning in children with maternal iodine supplementation. Women with thyroid disorders should check with their doctors before taking iodine.
Women should check immunisation status regarding Rubella and Herpes Zoster (Chicken Pox) and be immunised PRIOR to getting pregnant.
For those with pre-existing medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disorders or asthma (these are the common ones), the general principle is that whatever the condition, it needs to be very well controlled and very stable prior to attempting pregnancies.
Posted in: Common Queries Regarding Obstetrics