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Are you looking to start a family? Along with your partner have you decided the time is right as a couple? Then the next question to ask is what to focus on beforehand.
Local Riverina Family Medicine GP and obstetrician, Dr Carl Henman says it’s really important for a woman to be as fit as she can be before getting pregnant.
“That includes attention to weight, diet, reducing or eliminating alcohol consumption, ceasing smoking and fitting regular exercise into the daily routines,” Dr Henman adds.
Folate and iodine supplementation is also important and to start these at least one month prior to falling pregnant.
Other supplements may be necessary but it’s important to discuss specific supplement needs with the doctor. (Not all the commercially available multivitamin products have the appropriate concentrations for pregnancy nor are some of the additional ingredients always necessary.)
One of the biggest misconceptions or mistakes when it comes to trying to fall pregnant is probably worrying about it not happening at the first attempt!
“Most (80 per cent), of otherwise well couples will fall pregnant within a year, and most of them within the first six months. Importantly however, if a woman is over 33 (approximately), has been trying for six months and isn’t pregnant, it may be advisable to seek some medical advice,” Dr Henman said.
Another tip for couples looking to start a family is not to leave it too long.
It’s all well and good to think ‘we’ll get around to it one day’ but for some couples it can be really difficult.
While technologies in the fertility arena are improving, the harsh reality is that the older a woman gets (especially after about 35), the less likely she is to conceive naturally and avoid pregnancy-related complications.
If you are having difficulty, start with your local general practitioner as they can do an examination and commence the basic investigative processes. Doctor Carl Henman’s interest in obstetrics came from his background in ultrasound.
“I was always interested in being a doctor but after not getting in directly from school I attended CSU-Riverina first, completing the Bach App Sci (Medical Imaging) in 1994.
“Today I am a GP/ Obstetrician and have an additional, sub-speciality interest and qualification in obstetrics and gynaecological ultrasound.
“I work or liaise regularly with the Maternal-Fetal Medicine unit in Canberra, reducing the need for women of the Riverina to travel to ACT for tertiary fetal assessments,” Dr Henman said.
If you are contemplating having a baby, then the wise advice here is a great place to start your journey into planned parenthood.