Having a baby is a huge and exciting step in life. You may be planning your first pregnancy or you may already have children. Either way, you have the right to choose when to try for a baby and how many children you would like to have. Making changes to your lifestyle can improve your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and having a healthy baby. This is known as preconception care.

Pre-conception care can be important if:

  • You are having trouble getting pregnant

  • There is a risk you could pass on a genetic condition to your baby.

  • You want to find out how a condition such as diabetes or epilepsy can affect pregnancy

Pre conception care should begin at least three months before you get pregnant. Some women need more time to get their bodies ready for pregnancy. Be sure to discuss your partner's health too. Women and men should prepare for pregnancy before becoming sexually active — or at least three months before getting pregnant. Some actions, such as quitting smoking, reaching a healthy weight, or adjusting medicines you are using, should start even earlier.  A bad diet, being overweight or obese, smoking, drinking or working in unhealthy conditions may affect the production of eggs or quality of sperm and stop you getting pregnant. If you have a medical condition it is important to speak to your GP before planning a pregnancy. Some times it is advised that you are seen by the Maternal Medicine Team for specialist advice. This is dependant on your individual circumstances

Planning a pregnancy when you have a severe mental health illness

A severe mental illness is one that can affect your ability to take part in your usual daily activities. Examples include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression and psychosis. You may also find the information helpful if you are already pregnant.

If you don’t have a diagnosed mental illness, you can read about looking after your mental wellbeing when you’re planning a pregnancy. If you are on medication but your mental illness is not as severe as described above, there is information for you here

Below are some excellent resources from the Tommy's website to consider to consider reading for more information around preconception planning.

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