Do you want a healthy baby?

About three months before you try to fall pregnant:

  • Stop taking the Pill - use another method of contraception.
  • Make sure that you have had all the necessary vaccinations - particularly against rubella.
  • Start with a balanced intake of multi-vitamins, which should contain 0.4mg folic acid.
  • When you consult your clinic or doctor, mention that you are planning a pregnancy, particularly if you are no a medication for a chronic disease e.g. diabetes, epilepsy or heart disease
  • Seek genetic counseling if:
    • you are in your late thirties;
    • you have had two or more miscarriages;
    • you have given birth to a child with a congenital or hereditary disorder;
    • there is any history of a hereditary / genetic disease in your or your partner's family - irrespective of how long ago you and your partner are related.

When you are trying to fall pregnant:

  • Since the confirmation of pregnancy in usually obtained only after you are already two or more weeks pregnant, you ought to avoid the following risk factors now:
    • Alcohol
    • Smoking
    • Unprescribed medicines (inform your sister of doctor that you wish to fall pregnant)
    • Contact with anyone suffering from an infectious disease, especially rubella
    • Abdominal X-rays
    • Regular contact with anaesthetic gases
    • Excessive heat, e.g. saunas and very hot baths
    • Uninspected, undercooked meat
    • Cat litter

When you are pregnant

  • Visit your antenatal clinic or doctor regularly.
  • If there is any person with a birth defect, or mental, vision or hearing impairment in your or your partner's family, ask your clinic sister or doctors to refer you to your nearest genetic counselling clinic.
  • Get sufficient rest and light exercise.
  • Follow a balanced, vitamin-rich diet.
  • Obtain information on breastfeeding.
  • Contact your clinic or doctor immediately if you experience bleeding from the vagina, severe, persistent nausea, vomiting or headaches, swelling of the feet or legs, excessive or sudden weight gain, abdominal pains, a marked decrease in urine or a sudden, strong flow of water from the vagina.
  • Ask your clinic sister or doctor to inform you about screening tests on pregnant women and a sonar examination to detect certain abnormalities in the unborn baby

After the birth of your baby

  • Visit your clinic or doctor about six weeks after the birth of the baby for a thorough post-natal examination
  • Take your baby to the baby clinic regularly for a general examination and the necessary vaccinations
  • Consult your family-planning clinic or doctor with regard to an appropriate contraceptive
  • Ask your clinic sister or doctor about laboratory screening tests that can be done on your new-born baby
  • If you experience any problems with breastfeeding, contact your clinic sister or doctor.

Also read about Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

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This page last edited on 26 November, 2019

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