Getting Pregnant

Getting Pregnant

by Dr Hoo Mei Lin

BSc(Med) MBBS (Australia) MRCOG (UK). 

Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist

Tropicana Medical Centre.


Why is it important to plan my pregnancy?


Early pregnancy is a special period for the baby. The embryo gets implanted into your womb 3-5 days after fertilisation and starts to develop. Many parts of his/her body would have started developing even before you realised that you are pregnant. So, by the time your pregnancy test is positive (ie missed your period), your baby is almost fully formed, Therefore, if you are planning to get pregnant, it is important to prepare yourselves (body and mind) even before you start.   This is to ensure that your body is in an optimal condition for the optimal development of your baby


  1. Why do I need to stop smoking before I conceive?

Stop Smoking.  Cigarette smoke reduces the quality of the eggs and sperms.  Therefore, smoking reduces your chance of getting pregnant and increases your chance of miscarriage. Passive smoking or second- hand smoking is  may also be harmful to your pregnancy.  There is good evidence to show that-children of smokers are born smaller, lower IQ and are at increased risk of lung diseases such as asthma and have increased risk of lung infections. There is also a strong link to cot death or Sudden Infant Death.


  1. Can I take coffee or tea before I conceive?

It may be wise to reduce your caffeine intake even before you get pregnant.  An intake of 2-3 cups is reasonable but beyond that, a high caffeine intake is linked with higher risk of miscarriage.


  1. Why do I need to keep my weight optimal before I conceive?

Being overweight and underweight reduces your chance of getting pregnant. It is important to keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) between 20-25 before you start. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is over 29, for every BMI unit over 29, your chance of getting pregnant is reduced by 4%.  Both being over and underweight is usually associated with malnutrition.  Being deficient in important vitamins and minerals which are vital for your baby’s main organ development may increase the risk of abnormalities in your baby.  Lacking in some of the vital vitamins and minerals may lead to complications in your pregnancy.


  1. Why is it important to optimise my health before pregnancy?

Optimising your health is important if you have any health issues such as high blood pressure, epilepsy, heart conditions or diabetes mellitus.  This is because if the disease is not well controlled, pregnancy may pose a risk for you and your baby. It is important that you continue to take the medications as prescribed by your doctor. It is also important to tell your doctor that you wish to have a pregnancy. Your doctor may change some of your medications which are more suitable for women planning to get pregnant. It is also important that you see an Obstetrician for pre-pregnancy counselling before you embark on a pregnancy. It is important that your physician and obstetrician to give you a green-light before you get pregnant.


  1. What supplements do I need to take before I get pregnant?

.  We recommend you start your folic acid supplements 3 months prior to getting pregnant. Folic acid will help in preventing neural tube defects in your baby. The recommended dose is 400mcg daily. A higher dose of 5mg is available in the market which is completely safe.

  1. What are things men can do to improve their sperm quality?

To improve sperm quality, it is important to note that an optimal temperature for testes to produce good quality sperms  is at 1-2 degrees cooler than the body temperature.  Therefore, it is best to avoid  hot baths, invest in some boxer shorts. If you sit at a desk all day, try to get up every hour or so to take a walk.   It is also best to avoid placing laptops on your laps.


  1. How frequent should I have sexual intercourse to maximise my chance of getting pregnant?

When you make a decision to expand your family, it is important to take it easy.  Don’t make it into an all consuming project to fall pregnant.  Don’t be tempted to count the days and have sex ‘when it counts’ (ie when you are fertile).  This puts undue stress on the both of you and will be counter-productive as stress in itself will make it difficult for you to conceive.  However, if you have been trying for 1 year without success, it may be worthwhile to have a chat with your doctor and try to find out whether there are underlying factors which makes falling pregnant naturally difficult

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