Planning Your Pregnancy

Pre-conception Care Overview:
Pre-conception care, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO),
encompasses biomedical, behavioral, and social health interventions aimed at
improving the health status of women and couples before conception occurs. The
ultimate goal is to enhance maternal and child health outcomes in both the short and
long term. This comprehensive approach focuses on managing long-term health
conditions, eliminating risky behaviors, and promoting healthy habits.

  1. Managing Long Term Health Conditions:
    It is vital to address any pre-existing health conditions before conception. At
    OBSGYN London, we provide early appointments to discuss pre-pregnancy plans
    thoroughly. This includes monitoring chronic medical concerns, mental health
    conditions, and pre-existing metabolic diseases to ensure optimal health before
    starting a pregnancy.

  2. Stopping Risky/Harmful Habits:
    Certain habits, such as smoking and alcohol consumption, can significantly impact
    pregnancy outcomes. We offer support and strategies to quit smoking through
    smoking cessation programs, involving family and friends if needed. Similarly, we
    provide extensive counseling on avoiding alcohol and drug misuse before, during,
    and after pregnancy.

  3. Promoting Healthy Habits:
    Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for fertility and pregnancy. Being
    overweight or obese can pose challenges to conception and increase the risk of
    pregnancy complications. Our healthcare professionals offer support to reduce and
    maintain a healthy weight through tailored diet and exercise plans.
    Key Steps for Pre-conception Health:

    a. Take a Folic Acid Supplement: Folic acid supplementation is crucial for
    reducing the risk of birth defects. We recommend a daily supplement of 400
    micrograms (μg) before and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. In some
    cases, a higher dose may be necessary, especially for individuals with a family
    history of neural tube defects or certain medical conditions.

    b. Quit Smoking:
    Smoking during pregnancy is associated with various health
    problems, including premature birth and low birth weight. Our team provides
    strategies, plans, and support to help individuals quit smoking before

    c. Avoid Alcohol:
    Complete avoidance of alcohol is advised when planning a
    pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to miscarriage
    and a range of developmental issues in the child. We offer extensive
    counseling on alcohol avoidance and support for individuals planning a

    d. Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity can impact fertility and increase the risk
    of pregnancy complications. Our healthcare professionals offer guidance on
    maintaining a healthy weight through balanced diet and exercise.
    e. Review Medications: Not all medications are safe during pregnancy. We
    advise individuals to discuss their medication with us to ensure safety during
    pregnancy. Adjustments or close monitoring may be necessary for certain

  4. NICE CKS Pre-conception – advice and management. Last revised in April 2023.
    Available at:

    [Accessed 2023.]

  5. FSRH CEU Statement: Pre-conception Care (August 2016).

  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preconception Health and Health
    Care. 2015.

    Available at:
    [Accessed 2023.]
  7. Sher J. Missed Periods: Scotland’s opportunities for better pregnancies, healthier
    parents and thriving babies the first time … and every time. NHS Greater Glasgow
    and Clyde (PublicHealth). 2016.
    Available at:
    [Accessed 22/08/2016]
  8. Healthy eating and vitamin supplements in pregnancy. RCOG.
    Available at:
  9. Meeting to Develop a Global Consensus on Preconception Care to Reduce
    Maternal and Childhood Mortality and Morbidity. World Health Organization
    Headquarters, Geneva6–7 February 2012 Meeting report.
    Available at:

  10. Smoking and pregnancy. RCOG.
    Available at:

    [Accessed: 23 January 2024]

  11. Alcohol and pregnancy. RCOG.
    Available at:

    [Accessed: 23 January 2024]

  12. Providing quality care for women A framework for maternity care standards.:
    RCOG 2016