Is your body ready to conceive? A fertility specialist weighs in

It is very important to ensure that you’re ready to conceive before you start a family. A fertility specialist writes on the matter.

Overthinking about pregnancy
Trying to conceive can also be mentally debilitating. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Dr Ila Gupta Updated on: 16 December 2021, 11:14 am IST
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When is the right time to plan for pregnancy? Am I mentally, physically and financially prepared to conceive? Whether to focus on education, career or family as this is the most prestigious phase of life, what’s the priority?

These are the usual questions that come to one’s mind while planning for pregnancy.

Your lifestyle, age, body weight, history of any medical ailment, history of genetic diseases running in the family are the factors generally to consider prior to planning for pregnancy. A sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity, obesity, alcoholism and smoking increases the chances of miscarriage, intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight babies, premature delivery. They also increase the risk of maternal morbidity like hypertension, diabetes, etc.

conception
Many aspects are at play when it comes to conception. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Factors that can play a role in conception
  • A healthy well-balanced diet: Fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, and protein for a healthy pregnancy.
  • Prenatal vitamins: Start taking folic acid, multivitamins 2-3 months prior to conception as these are important to prevent neural tube defects in babies.
  • Vaccination status: Most important is Rubella (German measles) infection (risk of having congenital defects). Knowing the current scenario of Covid-19 infection, it is important to complete the course of the vaccine.
  • Age of the couple: Family should be completed before 35 years of age, the maximum reproductive potential is in the twenties, reduces in thirties, dramatically reduces after 35, and is less than 5 per cent beyond 40.
conception
You must assess if your body is ready for conception. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Pregnancy planning should be at the right age, should not be too early (before 21 years), or too late (after 35 years) as both ways can have consequences on the health of mother and baby. Age has a great impact as before 21 years of age your body is not ready to deliver a child, whereas after 35 years of age fertility declines steeply. The number of eggs reduces and the quality of eggs deteriorates genetically. Incidence of miscarriages, birth defects, low birth weight increases. Incidence of maternal complications like hypertension, diabetes, operative interference also increases.

Chronic medical illness: In cases, having a history of medical ailment or genetic disease better to consult your doctor for proper guidance and counselling to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.

Basic blood tests: To check for the type of blood group, haemoglobin, blood sugar, thyroid, viral markers, liver and kidney function tests should be done to know that your body is fit to carry the pregnancy.

Contraception: Most of the couples seek for termination of unplanned pregnancy as their main focus is on higher education, career, not prepared mentally or financially to extend the family. In such cases one should follow strict contraception methods as going for termination of pregnancy is not advisable.

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About the Author
Dr Ila Gupta Dr Ila Gupta

Dr Ila Gupta is the Director, Ferticity Fertility Clinics, Delhi

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