For many people, there is no opportunity to prepare for pregnancy. For others there may be an opportunity to think and talk about pregnancy before it happens.
If you have time to prepare for pregnancy, it is recommended you visit your general practitioner (GP).
Your GP can:
- Ask you to have a pre-pregnancy health check, which may include:
- A general health check (e.g. blood pressure, weight).
- Reviewing any existing medical conditions that may affect pregnancy.
- Reviewing any medications you are taking that may impact pregnancy.
- Reviewing the outcome of any previous pregnancies.
- Assessing your family history for the risk of chromosomal or genetic conditions.
- Review your vaccination history and organising any pre-pregnancy vaccinations.
- Discuss the importance of folate (a b vitamin that is found in some foods) and iodine supplements.
- Discuss lifestyle factors such as smoking, recreational and illegal drugs, alcohol, diet and exercise.
- Discuss things in your environment that might be a risk during pregnancy (e.g. cat litter and direct exposure to garden soil).
- Organise tests where needed, which can include:
- Checks for immunity to infections including rubella and chicken pox.
- Cervical screening (formerly Pap tests)
- Screening for sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and blood borne viruses (BBVs)
- Screening for genetic conditions.
If you have a partner in your planned pregnancy, your GP might recommend they also have a health check.
You may also consider:
- Dental health: as X-rays are not recommended during pregnancy.
- Mental health: if you have a diagnosed mental illness you may need to talk to your medical team or psychiatrist about how to manage your condition during pregnancy, birth and afterwards. If you are taking medication, this may need to be managed differently during pregnancy.
Where to get more information and support
- 1800 My Options phone line - 1800 696 784
- Better Health Channel
- Multicultural Centre for Women’s Health
- The Women’s (The Royal Women’s Hospital)
- Young Women’s Health Program (support, pregnancy care and education for young pregnant and parenting women 19 years old and under)
- A doctor or nurse
- Your local community health service
- A public hospital (some provide a limited number of free abortions)
- An obstetrician or gynaecologist
If you are using the internet for information, only use reliable and reputable websites, such as the ones provided above.