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Preparing for Pregnancy

Get in touch with us about Preparing for Pregnancy today

Making the decision to start a family is one of life’s biggest decisions. To give yourself and your partner the best possible chance, there are little steps along the way to help prepare for pregnancy and a healthy baby.
Research shows that diet, exercise, smoking, and other lifestyle factors have an impact on fertility, so the following information is a good starting point for you to see what changes you can make – and what action you can take – to set you on the right path.

Healthy Diet

Incorporate a balanced healthy diet into your lifestyle, which includes daily serves of fruit and vegetables and good quality protein found in lean meat, fish, eggs, and pulses. Complex carbohydrates, whole grains, and plenty of calcium (preferably in the form of lowfat dairy products) are also recommended.

Caffeine

Evidence of the effects of caffeine are inconclusive. Safe guidelines to adhere to are both men and women need to aim for <200mg of caffeine a day, which equals a maximum of 1-2 coffees or glasses cola/energy drinks, or 2-3 teas, and be mindful of the caffeine in chocolate. If you need to cut down, do so slowly to reduce the symptoms. Substituting for decaffeinated options and herbal teas can sometimes assist.

Weight

Weight issues are important for both men and women when considering fertility. Obesity in both males and females is associated with reduced fertility, increased pregnancy loss and complications. If you are overweight, your body mass index (BMI) will be greater than 25. The closer to a BMI of 25, the better, and remember any health changes to improve your lifestyle will improve your fertility.

Women who are underweight (BMI less than 20) are also at risk of reduced fertility. If you are underweight and your period cycles are long or irregular, a small weight gain may be beneficial, or cut back on strenuous exercise.

Women with a BMI greater than 30 have decreased embryo implantation rates and increased miscarriage. Women with a BMI greater than 35 face significant risks with egg-retrieval if undergoing IVF, and associated pregnancy complications.

There is evidence of men with an increased BMI also have reduced fertility. Obesity in men reduces sperm quality, increasing DNA fragmentation, reducing the chance of implantation and ongoing pregnancy.

Heat

Both men and women should avoid excessive heat from baths, saunas or spas, when trying to conceive and during pregnancy. Men should also avoid any other situations where their scrotal area is unable to keep cooler than the rest of the body. Keep laptops on the desk and off the lap.

Fertility and the phases of the Menstrual Cycle

There are many methods used to predict ovulation. These include measuring changes in temperature, saliva, urine and vaginal mucus. However, due to a number of external influences they are not always reliable.

Simple maths is often very helpful. Record your longest and shortest menstrual cycle. The potential fertile time starts 16 days before the end of your shortest cycle and ends 12 days before the end of your longest cycle. There is also a reliable progesterone blood test that can be used to confirm ovulation.

There are a variety of fertility and ovulation apps available that can assist with gathering information about menstruation cycle length and likely fertile window.

Pap smear

It’s important to update your smear test if it is nearly due – and it’s better to have one a bit early than be due in the middle of a pregnancy and find out that you have an abnormality that needs attention.

Alcohol

Safe limit of alcohol intake in fertility treatment is not known. Therefore it is recommended that women should stop all alcohol while trying to conceive and during pregnancy. Men should aim to keep to current safe drinking guidelines – an average of 2 standard drinks per day with no more than 4 standard drinks in one session, and several alcohol free days each week.

Fitness

You will benefit from being fit prior to pregnancy. For women who are unfit, developing at least a moderate level of fitness is advisable. However it is also best to limit intense or high impact exercise with no more than 4 hours of high intensity exercise being recommended per week.

Men should also aspire to a reasonable level of fitness.

Keeping active is important for a healthy lifestyle and there are significant benefits for women who are fit prior to pregnancy.

Emotional Wellbeing

Having a calm and positive state of mind improves your emotional health and wellbeing – and your chances of a successful pregnancy. Minimising stress or changing the way you handle stressful situations is an important consideration when trying to get pregnant. Fertility Tasmania can refer you to our qualified counsellor who has extensive therapeutic experience who have specialised skills and knowledge in the field of infertility. You can access our counsellor at no added cost if you are undergoing IVF treatment.

Alternative forms of stress relief including yoga, massage and acupuncture may be beneficial.

Medication & Drugs

There are certain drugs which have been found to adversely affect male fertility, including:

  • Recreational/illicit drugs
  • Antihypertensives
  • Glucosamine
  • Psychotherapeutic agents
  • Chemotherapeutic agents
  • Hormones (anabolic steroids)
  • Antibiotics
  • Herbal supplements

Effects can include:

  • Direct gonadotoxic effects which means direct harm to the testes
  • Alterations in the production and release of hormones
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Direct effects on libido

Folate

Folate (at least 500 micrograms per day) supplementation is recommended at least 1 month prior to pregnancy and for 3 months into the pregnancy as this reduces the chance of the baby having a defect in the neural tube, such as spina bifida.

Folate can be taken alone or in combination with other pre-pregnancy supplements. Women with a BMI over 30 are advised to take up to 5mg of Folate daily. Please discuss this with your doctor.

Pre-pregnancy blood test

It is recommended that women preparing for pregnancy have a blood test to check their immunity to chicken pox (varicella). If you are not immune, you can be immunised to reduce the risk of infection in pregnancy.

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    Monday to Friday: 8:00am - 5:30pm
  • After hours consulting (by appointment only):
    Wednesday: 5:30pm - 8:00pm

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  • Hobart

    Level 4
    81 Elizabeth Street
    Hobart TASMANIA 7000

    Postal Address:

    PO Box 4582
    Bathurst Street
    Hobart TASMANIA 7000

(Menopause (premature))
Menopause (premature) Menopause in women less than or equal to 35 years of age
Menopause (premature)
Menopause (premature) Menopause in women less than or equal to 35 years of age
(Biochemical Pregnancy)
Biochemical Pregnancy Fertilisation and implantation have occurred resulting in a positive pregnancy test. The pregnancy ends at a very early stage prior to ultrasound confirmation.
Biochemical Pregnancy
Biochemical Pregnancy Fertilisation and implantation have occurred resulting in a positive pregnancy test. The pregnancy ends at a very early stage prior to ultrasound confirmation.
(Anembryonic Pregnancy)
Anembryonic Pregnancy No foetal heartbeat is visible at the 6-8 week scan.
Anembryonic Pregnancy
Anembryonic Pregnancy No foetal heartbeat is visible at the 6-8 week scan.
(Menopause (early))
Menopause (early) Menopause in women less than 46 years of age
Menopause (early)
Menopause (early) Menopause in women less than 46 years of age
(Follicular Phase)
Follicular Phase First half of the menstrual cycle before ovulation
Follicular Phase
Follicular Phase First half of the menstrual cycle before ovulation
(Cryopreservation)
Cryopreservation Preservation (by freezing) of eggs, sperm or embryos
Cryopreservation
Cryopreservation Preservation (by freezing) of eggs, sperm or embryos
(Antagonist Cycle)
Antagonist Cycle A type of treatment process that requires the use of a medication that prevents ovulation during an IVF cycle
Antagonist Cycle
Antagonist Cycle A type of treatment process that requires the use of a medication that prevents ovulation during an IVF cycle
(Extended Culture)
Extended Culture The term used to describe growth of embryos in culture for 4-6 days
Extended Culture
Extended Culture The term used to describe growth of embryos in culture for 4-6 days
(Embryo Transfer)
Embryo Transfer Placement of embryo/s into the uterus
Embryo Transfer
Embryo Transfer Placement of embryo/s into the uterus
(Ultrasound Scan)
Ultrasound Scan An ultrasound wave scan of the uterus/ovaries/follicles for investigation of infertility and/or scan of the uterus for the confirmation of pregnancy
Ultrasound Scan
Ultrasound Scan An ultrasound wave scan of the uterus/ovaries/follicles for investigation of infertility and/or scan of the uterus for the confirmation of pregnancy
(Pituitary Gland)
Pituitary Gland The gland located at the base of the brain, which controls hormone functions in the human body
Pituitary Gland
Pituitary Gland The gland located at the base of the brain, which controls hormone functions in the human body
(Donation Embryo)
Donation Embryo The process where a couple donate frozen embryo/s to another party (recipients) for use in infertility treatment
Donation Embryo
Donation Embryo The process where a couple donate frozen embryo/s to another party (recipients) for use in infertility treatment
(Fallopian Tubes)
Fallopian Tubes Tubes that extend from the uterus to the ovary and serve as a passageway for the egg and sperm to meet. The fallopian tube is the place where fertilisation occurs
Fallopian Tubes
Fallopian Tubes Tubes that extend from the uterus to the ovary and serve as a passageway for the egg and sperm to meet. The fallopian tube is the place where fertilisation occurs
(Egg Timer Test)
Egg Timer Test A blood test and pelvic ultrasound scan to indicate the likely fertility status of a woman
Egg Timer Test
Egg Timer Test A blood test and pelvic ultrasound scan to indicate the likely fertility status of a woman
(Egg Collection)
Egg Collection Surgical collection of egg/s from the follicles in the ovary
Egg Collection
Egg Collection Surgical collection of egg/s from the follicles in the ovary
(Donation Sperm)
Donation Sperm The process where a male donor donates sperm to another party (recipient) for use in infertility treatment
Donation Sperm
Donation Sperm The process where a male donor donates sperm to another party (recipient) for use in infertility treatment
(Endometriosis)
Endometriosis A medical condition where the endometrium is located outside the uterus in the pelvic cavity
Endometriosis
Endometriosis A medical condition where the endometrium is located outside the uterus in the pelvic cavity
(Fertilisation)
Fertilisation The earliest stage of development after the penetration of the egg by a sperm
Fertilisation
Fertilisation The earliest stage of development after the penetration of the egg by a sperm
(Embryo Biopsy)
Embryo Biopsy The removal of one or two cells, from an early IVF embryo for preimplantation genetic screening
Embryo Biopsy
Embryo Biopsy The removal of one or two cells, from an early IVF embryo for preimplantation genetic screening
(Implantation)
Implantation The embedding of the embryo into the lining of the uterus
Implantation
Implantation The embedding of the embryo into the lining of the uterus
(Progesterone)
Progesterone Hormone produced by the ovary in the Luteal phase. Its main function is to change the growth of the endometrium and assist with the implantation of the embryo
Progesterone
Progesterone Hormone produced by the ovary in the Luteal phase. Its main function is to change the growth of the endometrium and assist with the implantation of the embryo
(Luteal Phase)
Luteal Phase The second half of the menstrual cycle after ovulation until the menstrual period
Luteal Phase
Luteal Phase The second half of the menstrual cycle after ovulation until the menstrual period
(Donation Egg)
Donation Egg The process where a female donor donates eggs to another party (recipient) for use in infertility treatment
Donation Egg
Donation Egg The process where a female donor donates eggs to another party (recipient) for use in infertility treatment
(Spermatozoon)
Spermatozoon Mature male sperm cell (gamete) produced by the testicle
Spermatozoon
Spermatozoon Mature male sperm cell (gamete) produced by the testicle
(Patent Tubes)
Patent Tubes A term used to describe fallopian tubes that are open allowing free passage for the egg, sperm and embryo
Patent Tubes
Patent Tubes A term used to describe fallopian tubes that are open allowing free passage for the egg, sperm and embryo
(Endometrium)
Endometrium The membrane that lines the inner surface of the uterus
Endometrium
Endometrium The membrane that lines the inner surface of the uterus
(Laparoscopy)
Laparoscopy Diagnostic procedure where an instrument (laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision just below the umbilicus, to enable visualisation of the pelvic cavity and its organs
Laparoscopy
Laparoscopy Diagnostic procedure where an instrument (laparoscope) is inserted through a small incision just below the umbilicus, to enable visualisation of the pelvic cavity and its organs
(Miscarriage)
Miscarriage Loss of pregnancy
Miscarriage
Miscarriage Loss of pregnancy
(Blastocyst)
Blastocyst An embryo five to six days after fertilisation.
Blastocyst
Blastocyst An embryo five to six days after fertilisation.
(Menopause)
Menopause The permanent cessation of menstruation following the loss of ovarian function
Menopause
Menopause The permanent cessation of menstruation following the loss of ovarian function
(Ovulation)
Ovulation The process of release of a mature egg from an ovary
Ovulation
Ovulation The process of release of a mature egg from an ovary
(Oestrogen)
Oestrogen A major female hormone that is produced primarily by the ovaries
Oestrogen
Oestrogen A major female hormone that is produced primarily by the ovaries
(In Vitro)
In Vitro Outside the body
In Vitro
In Vitro Outside the body
(Follicle)
Follicle A small secretory sac in the ovary in which an egg develops
Follicle
Follicle A small secretory sac in the ovary in which an egg develops
(Adhesion)
Adhesion Scar tissue, in particular between the abdominal and/or pelvic organs often the result of an infection/inflammation.
Adhesion
Adhesion Scar tissue, in particular between the abdominal and/or pelvic organs often the result of an infection/inflammation.
(Hormone)
Hormone A chemical substance, secreted by the endocrine glands, which is carried by the blood stream to the target organ influencing its activity, growth and nutrition
Hormone
Hormone A chemical substance, secreted by the endocrine glands, which is carried by the blood stream to the target organ influencing its activity, growth and nutrition
(Menevit)
Menevit Vitamin supplement for men containing anti oxidants to support sperm health
Menevit
Menevit Vitamin supplement for men containing anti oxidants to support sperm health
(In Vivo)
In Vivo Inside the body
In Vivo
In Vivo Inside the body
(Gamete)
Gamete The male and female reproductive cells (egg or sperm)
Gamete
Gamete The male and female reproductive cells (egg or sperm)
(Uterus)
Uterus Female reproductive organ where a pregnancy develops
Uterus
Uterus Female reproductive organ where a pregnancy develops
(Cervix)
Cervix Lower section of the uterus which protrudes into the top of the vagina.
Cervix
Cervix Lower section of the uterus which protrudes into the top of the vagina.
(Embryo)
Embryo After fertilisation the egg begins to divide and multiply and is now called an embryo
Embryo
Embryo After fertilisation the egg begins to divide and multiply and is now called an embryo
(Vagina)
Vagina Passageway between the external genitals and the uterus
Vagina
Vagina Passageway between the external genitals and the uterus
(Semen)
Semen Fluid containing sperm
Semen
Semen Fluid containing sperm
(OHSS)
OHSS Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. A group of symptoms which is associated with ovarian enlargement during IVF treatment cycle
OHSS
OHSS Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. A group of symptoms which is associated with ovarian enlargement during IVF treatment cycle
(Ovum)
Ovum Female gamete (egg) contained in a follicle
Ovum
Ovum Female gamete (egg) contained in a follicle
(ICSI)
ICSI Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is a process where a single sperm is injected into an egg
ICSI
ICSI Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is a process where a single sperm is injected into an egg
(PGS)
PGS Preimplantation Genetic Screening - the process of taking cells from an embryo to check the number of chromosomes or to test for a specific genetic abnormality
PGS
PGS Preimplantation Genetic Screening - the process of taking cells from an embryo to check the number of chromosomes or to test for a specific genetic abnormality
(FET)
FET Frozen Embryo Transfer, a procedure in which frozen embryo/s are thawed and then transferred to the uterus
FET
FET Frozen Embryo Transfer, a procedure in which frozen embryo/s are thawed and then transferred to the uterus
(HCG)
HCG Human chorionic gonadotrophin The hormone measured to diagnose a pregnancy
HCG
HCG Human chorionic gonadotrophin The hormone measured to diagnose a pregnancy
(ART)
ART Assisted Reproductive Technology - a collective term for the different types of infertility treatments.
ART
ART Assisted Reproductive Technology - a collective term for the different types of infertility treatments.
(IVF)
IVF In Vitro Fertilisation. A procedure in which an egg is removed from a follicle and fertilised by a sperm outside the human body. The resultant embryo can then be transferred into the uterus
IVF
IVF In Vitro Fertilisation. A procedure in which an egg is removed from a follicle and fertilised by a sperm outside the human body. The resultant embryo can then be transferred into the uterus
(FSH)
FSH Follicle Stimulating Hormone which is produced by the anterior pituitary gland and stimulates the growth of follicles in the female. FSH also induces the development of sperm in the testicle
FSH
FSH Follicle Stimulating Hormone which is produced by the anterior pituitary gland and stimulates the growth of follicles in the female. FSH also induces the development of sperm in the testicle
(LH)
LH Luteinising Hormone. Produced by the pituitary gland and responsible for stimulating ovulation
LH
LH Luteinising Hormone. Produced by the pituitary gland and responsible for stimulating ovulation