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Why is preconception care important? What are the signs of ovulation?


What is preconception care and why is it important?

Preconception care is important for couples to improve their health before they start trying for a baby.

The doctor can help to assess the couple’s health, fitness and lifestyle, to identify areas that they may

want to improve.

Preconception is useful if:

• The woman has an existing medical condition (eg diabetes / epilepsy) and she want to find

out how the condition can affect pregnancy.

• The couple is having trouble conceiving

• The couple has a genetic problem (eg thalassaemia) which may affect the health of baby.

Chances of getting pregnant are improved if the couple is in good health. A bad diet, being overweight or obese, smoking, drinking and unhealthy working conditions not only affects sperm quality in the male partner but also increased the risks of complications in the mother when she gets pregnant. The couple should both try to make your lifestyle as healthy as possible before they try to conceive.

How does ovulation work and how can a woman tell if she is ovulating?

Ovulation is the release of egg from the ovary due to the hormonal changes during every menstrual

cycle.

To work out when a woman is ovulating, there are numerous things the woman can do:

• Calculate using the length of her menstrual cycle – ovulation usually occurs around 12-14 days before the next period starts, so if the woman has a regular cycle she may be able to work out when she is likely to ovulate

• Monitoring the quality of her cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is wetter, clearer and more slippery, resembling egg white at the time of ovulation

• Monitoring and charting her body temperature right after waking in the morning with a thermometer – there's a small rise in the woman’s body temperature after ovulation takes place.

• Checking the urine for hormones present at ovulation - this can be detected using commercial off-the-shelf ovulation predictor kits.

Using the above methods to time intercourse can be extremely stressful for the couples, and the stress could hamper success in conceiving. The recommended advice is for couples planning pregnancy to have regular intercourse (2 to 3 times a week) to increase the chances of success.

I know this is too much to ask for Singaporean couples who are workaholics and return home late and exhausted. But to have a baby, you need both the husband and wife to tango!