Do you want a safe and healthy pregnancy? Then plan for it.
Or better still, get the digital tool, Planning for Pregnancy, launched by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in partnership with Tommy’s Public Health England and the UCL Institute for Women’s Health.
Thing is, women often don’t plan their pregnancies. A survey by Tommy’s has found that women spend more time planning and preparing for a summer vacation than they do for a pregnancy.
The new digital tool is aimed at helping women plan their pregnancies. It provides women with tailored information on how they can prepare before conception in order to have a healthy pregnancy.
Why? Why does it matter whether a woman plans her pregnancy or not?
According to the RCOG news release, a woman should be in optimal physical health when she decides to have a baby:
“The digital tool and a national #AreYouReady campaign aim to raise awareness of the importance of preconception health, and to support women with information and resources.
“Planning for pregnancy improves the likelihood of a safe and healthy pregnancy and improves the long-term health of the child.”
Thing is, pregnancies are often not planned. That’s just life.
Tommy’s survey polled 750 women and found that 67% of women take three or more months to plan for a holiday, but only 20% take three or more months to plan for having a baby.
That’s not all.
The survey also found that just under 40% of women stopped using contraception the same week they made the decision to have a baby.
The problem with this sequence of events is that it doesn’t leave enough time to make lifestyle changes that can help prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy and boost the health of the baby. This includes taking action like improving your diet, getting more active, taking folic acid and achieving a healthy weight.
The tool takes women through a questionnaire and uses the answers to provide tailored information on what a woman can do before she starts trying to conceive in order to have a healthy pregnancy and baby. Email follow-ups with tips and advice form part of the support system, which also includes a wide range of relevant information related to pregnancy.
The questionnaire is thorough and answers a comprehensive list of questions and concerns a woman might have about pregnancy and related issues.
Parents’ Health at the Time of Conception
According to the news release, the weight, diet, and health of both parents before conception can hold profound implications for the safety of the pregnancy, and the growth, development and long-term health of children.
States Professor Lesley Regan, president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists: “Nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period are crucial to having a good pregnancy and birth.”
In the UK, like the US, there is a high prevalence of obesity amongst women and this has an effect on how easy a woman conceives as well as her chances of having a healthy pregnancy and good delivery. It also affects the health of children in their later life.
Says Regan: “Focusing on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet and weight prior to conception will not only improve the health of individuals but also the health and quality of life of future generations.”
Lancet Series on Preconception Health
This campaign follows the recent Lancet Series on the importance of diet and lifestyle of both parents before conception.
In a series of three papers researchers highlight the importance of preconception health for future health and suggests interventions to help prospective parents improve their nutrition and health habits before conception.
The planning for pregnancy tool can be found here