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Planning for Pregnancy

Preconception is the time right before you become pregnant. Conception (also known as fertilization) is a complicated biological process with about 85% of women getting pregnant within one year of unprotected sex. That number rises to 95% of women after two years. However, fertility declines with age, especially after 35 years old.


What can I do to improve my chances?

One of the most important things to improve your chances of conception is to have a healthy diet and lifestyle. Smoking cessation, minimizing alcohol consumption and stress can help improve your chances. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy has been linked to increased birth defects, miscarriage, low birth weight, and fetal alcohol syndrome. Smoking can increase the risk of small or preterm babies.
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Certain nutrients are important in helping to support reproductive health in women. Folic acid or folate is a B vitamin and also referred to as vitamin B9. Adequate folic acid intake is critical to help protect against congenital malformations, including neural tube defects. Neural tube defects are severe abnormalities of the central nervous system that develop in embryos during the first few weeks of pregnancy resulting in malformations of the spine, skill and brain. It is important to ensure you are taking at least 400 mcg of folic acid to prevent neural tube defects if you do become pregnant.


When is the best time to conceive?

The best time to conceive is about two to three days around ovulation. Ovulation is the time when the egg is produced from your ovary. This typically occurs 14 days before your next period is due.