Preparing Your Body For Pregnancy | Melbourne IVF

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Pre-pregnancy Health

Are you ready to start trying for a baby? Make sure you prepare your body for pregnancy first.

Trying to Conceive

Expert advice on how your health and wellbeing affects your fertility, and what you can do to boost your chances of falling pregnant naturally. Presented by Dr Karen Paice.

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Visit your GP

If you are trying to conceive, we recommend you and your partner get checked by your GP to ensure you are in good physical health.

Infectious diseases can cause problems with the baby’s development during pregnancy. These include Rubella, chicken pox, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV and syphilis. Your GP can check for these and may also check your full blood count, blood group and antibodies, Rh factor, and perform a pap smear and breast check, as well as perform other routine pre-pregnancy screening tests.

Pre-Pregnancy Screening Tests

Pre-pregnancy screening tests include:

For women:

  • rubella (German measles) immunity,
  • chicken pox immunity,
  • syphilis serology,
  • full blood count,
  • blood group and antibody status,
  • hepatitis B and C,
  • HIV,
  • current pap smear and breast check (within last two years).

For men:

  • hepatitis B,
  • hepatitis C,
  • HIV

If you (or your partner) are taking any medications discuss these with your doctor. Some medications can affect sperm production and some should not be taken before or during pregnancy for women.


Take your folic acid every day

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia recommends women take 0.5mg folic acid daily for at least three months before pregnancy and for three months into the pregnancy. This reduces the risk of neural tube defects (most commonly spina bifida) in babies.

Other supplements are usually not necessary if your diet is adequate.

Watch your diet

A balanced diet is important for your overall health.

Check your weight

If you are significantly overweight or underweight, it can adversely affect your chance of getting pregnant. Use a Body Mass Index (BMI) calculator to check if you have an appropriate body weight. If you have a high BMI, you can improve your fertility dramatically with just a 5% reduction in weight.

Regular moderate exercise

Moderate exercise is good for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However frequent strenuous exercise, such as some athletic training programs, can affect ovulation and fertility. If you have concerns you should discuss these with your fertility specialist.

Quit smoking now

Active and passive smoking is detrimental for your health and can affect fertility in both men and women.

Women who smoke tend to reach menopause earlier than non-smokers. There is also strong evidence that female smokers not only have reduced fertility but also have a higher miscarriage rate.

Smoking during pregnancy has adverse effects on the growing baby and can contribute to many childhood illnesses. There is also strong evidence that a child born to a male smoker is four times more likely to develop cancer in childhood.

It is strongly recommended that you do not smoke during treatment or throughout pregnancy.


In general, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) recommends no more than two standard drinks per day for women and four for men, with at least two alcohol-free days per week.

Heavy alcohol intake in men is known to affect sperm production. There are many published studies that indicate that heavy alcohol intake in women during pregnancy will have a permanent effect on the development of the fetus. There is no currently agreed safe level of alcohol intake during pregnancy.


High caffeine intake has been linked with female infertility in some research studies, but the reason for this is not obvious. There are no official guidelines on caffeine intake during pregnancy. If you have any concerns in relation to caffeine and pregnancy you should discuss them with your fertility specialist.

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