Exercise during pregnancy
Light to moderate exercise is recommended for all couples who are trying to conceive as part of a healthy lifestyle. The Australian recommendations are for 30 minutes of exercise most days for all adults aged 18 – 64. Vigorous exercise is recommended for couples who are overweight and obese, but for normal weight women this may increase the time until conception. Exercise during pregnancy has many benefits for both mother and baby if practiced safely. We offer pregnancy and postnatal exercise classes through our physiotherapy partners at ‘myPhysioSA for her’. These provide a safe, social and supervised environment to keep you moving comfortably during pregnancy and with your baby by your side in the Mum’s & Bub’s classes postnatally.
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Women who are either underweight or overweight and obese during pregnancy have higher risks of many pregnancy complications, and may also have difficulty conceiving. The ideal weight range to conceive is a body mass index of 18.5 – 24.9. Even small lifestyle change and modest weight management can really help increase the chance of having a healthy pregnancy.
Some women find that pregnancy is a challenging time for their body image and general wellbeing. If you find the changes in your body confronting, please discuss this with your obstetrician who may refer you to a dietician or psychologist to help manage these issues in a healthy way.
There is no known safe level of smoking during pregnancy for either parent. If you or your partner are current smokers you should consider reducing or quitting when trying to conceive as smoking increases the chance of infertility, miscarriage, low birth weight, other pregnancy complications and sudden infant death syndrome.
Alcohol is known to increase the chance of birth defects, and often the damage can occur before you have discovered that you are pregnant. Excess alcohol intake for men can also cause reduced fertility. Those who binge drink are most at risk. It is unclear what effect low to moderate levels of alcohol have on a pregnancy, but the national health and medical research council of Australia have recommended that women who are pregnant or trying to conceive avoid alcohol. If you currently enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage you could consider limiting it to the first two weeks of your menstrual cycle whilst trying to conceive.
Recreational drugs should be avoided when you are trying to conceive and during pregnancy as some substances cause pregnancy complications, and are often contaminated with other substances which can be potentially dangerous for you and your fetus.
Medications, Herbs and Supplements in pregnancy
If you are using medications or herbal supplements you should always check if they are safe for conception and pregnancy with your doctor before taking them. You may need to change to alternative medications prior to becoming pregnant. The SA Pharmacy Obstetric and Paediatric Medicines Information Service is located at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital. A pharmacist can advise you if a particular prescription or non-prescription medicine is safe while you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You can contact the service Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm on 08 8161 7222.
Complementary and alternative medicines
Please discuss any complementary or alternative medicines you are using with your obstetrician or gynaecologist so we can work together to maximise your fertility.
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