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Hoping to get pregnant – important to take into account already when planning pregnancy

Many exposures can adversely affect fertility. The differentiation of the fetal organs begins as soon as you miss your menstrual period, and the weeks during the first trimester of pregnancy are a vulnerable time for fetal malformations. Therefore, already when planning pregnancy, it is important to pay attention to factors that can adversely affect fertility or fetal development.

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Pregnancy and medication

Your wellbeing is also a prerequisite for the wellbeing of the fetus, so do not skip any important medication before you have discussed it with your physician. However, you should avoid taking any unnecessary medication during pregnancy and already when planning pregnancy. It is always good to tell your physician if you are planning pregnancy, so that your medication can be altered to be as safe as possible for the fetus even before you actually become pregnant.

If you have a chronic illness that requires medical treatment, it must also be treated well during your pregnancy. In the case of chronic illnesses, it is important that the disease is well controlled even before pregnancy. For example, poor control of diabetes before pregnancy predisposes the fetus to malformations, and poorly controlled asthma during pregnancy predisposes the fetus to premature birth. The dose of thyroxine used to treat hypothyroidism is usually increased immediately after a pregnancy is confirmed.

If you are prescribed a short-term course of medication, you should also tell your doctor if you are planning pregnancy. Also, when it comes to nonprescription drugs in pharmacies, you should consider how important the medication is and find out about its safety with regard to planned pregnancy.

Pregnancy and nutrition 

Even at the time of planning your pregnancy, you should eat a healthy and varied diet containing plenty of folate. Folate is a vitamin of the B complex, and its adequate intake is important for the normal development of the fetus. All women planning to become pregnant are recommended to start taking a folic acid supplement in the form of a vitamin supplement product already a couple of months before pregnancy.

General nutritional questions are primarily answered by the pre-natal clinic (neuvola).

Pregnancy and intoxicants

When planning to become pregnant, you should stop taking various intoxicants well before the pregnancy begins. Both smokers and heavy drinkers take longer to become pregnant than others and also have an elevated risk of miscarriage. Alcohol exposure in early pregnancy can also increase the risk of deformities and developmental delay.

Pregnancy and travel

When you are planning pregnancy, you need to consider any travel plans you may have with additional care. If you suffer from a underlying disease that may worsen during pregnancy or your pregnancy is a high-risk pregnancy, you should discuss your departure on a trip with your physician and find out the possibilities for treatment at the destination. If you had planned to travel to an area of high risk (e.g. for infectious diseases such as Zika virus, malaria, or dengue fever), you should avoid traveling. It is also advisable to take the recommended vaccines for travel already during the planning phase of pregnancy.

Other things to note

It is advisable to rule out possible sexually transmitted diseases already when planning pregnancy. All mothers are also screened during the first trimester of pregnancy for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B.

During the planning phase of pregnancy, you should also make an appointment to check your oral health and make sure that all your vaccinations are up to date. Vaccine protection protects the course of the pregnancy and the fetus, and in some situations it also protects the newborn.

Significant obesity (BMI >30) has been linked in many studies to an elevated risk of fetal malformation, in particular heart defects and defective fusion of the neural tube. Attention should be paid to weight and diet already at the planning stage of pregnancy, as active weight loss is not recommended during pregnancy.

 

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