Are you and your partner planning for a baby?

If so, it is vital that ladies start on folic acid supplement ideally two months before conceiving to reduce baby’s risk of neural tube defects, congenital heart defects, cleft palate and cleft lip. The recommended dosage is 400mcg daily.

Prior to conceiving, here are some of the things which you can do to increase your rate of conception:

  • Schedule a visit to the gynaecologist
    A gynaecologist will review your medical history as well as any medications that may affect fertility.
  • Avoid smoking, drinking and excessive amounts of caffeine
    Cigarettes and alcohol have been shown to reduce fertility rates and it is wise to cut down on those as well as cut down on caffeine. Limit your daily intake of coffee to not more than two cups.
  • Aim for a healthy weight
    If you are overweight or underweight, it makes conception a little bit harder and could cause complications. Try to aim for a healthy weight range to increase your chances.

Folic acid can be found in green leafy vegetables and is an essential nutrient which supports a healthy pregnancy.

WEEKS 1 & 2:

At weeks 1 and 2, you’re not actually pregnant yet! That’s because the estimated due date (EDD) is calculated from the beginning of your last menstrual period. This means that the period before conception is also taken into consideration.

In order to get pregnant, you need to understand when you are ovulating. If your period generally lasts about 28 days, ovulation is about 14 days from the first day of your period. This is thus the best time to try conceiving, as an egg only lives about 12 to 24 hours after leaving the ovary. Each cycle sees about 20 eggs being released from the ovary.

If fertilisation is successful, the egg will move from the ovary into the uterus, where it will attach to the uterine lining. At this stage, it doesn’t resemble anything like a baby as it is a group of 100 rapidly multiplying cells and is about the size of a strawberry seed.

You won’t even notice that you’re pregnant at this stage as there are no noticeable signs and you wouldn’t have missed your period yet. This is because most early pregnancy symptoms are caused by pregnancy hormones and the level in your body is not high enough to cause a reaction yet.

Smoking greatly reduces the chances of conception – women who smoke are 30% less likely to conceive than non-smokers

The outer layer of the ball of cells is now splitting into the placenta and the inner layer, into the embryo. Your baby’s neural tube which is the building block of the brain and spine, is already formed. This is when you will start to notice that you have missed your period and suspect that you might be pregnant. Over the counter pregnancy test kits should be able to detect pregnancy, though sometimes the pregnancy hormone (hCG) levels are not high enough to be detected. If so, try again after a few days.

Congratulations! You’re pregnant! Your baby is now the size of an apple seed, or about 3.3mm. You should have noticed some visible early pregnancy symptoms by now, such as nausea, vomiting, sore breasts and fatigue. This is termed as morning sickness, except that the symptoms last throughout the day for weeks.

Continue taking folic acid supplements and be aware of the foods to avoid during pregnancyand the necessary nutrients required for pregnant mumsto help your foetus develop healthily.

How did you discover your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments!