Planning a family? Or perhaps you've made a decision not to have a baby right now?
Either way, it’s important for women and men of reproductive age to be healthy for their unborn children. Whether you are planning it or not, pregnancies do happen. In fact, a Lakehead University study found that as many as 77% of student pregnancies were unplanned. Health Canada puts the overall average in Canada closer to 50%. That’s why it’s best to be prepared.
Women and men can take steps to protect their reproductive health and future children:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Take folic acid – All women of reproductive age should take a multivitamin with a minimum of 0.4mg of folic acid (which helps prevent birth defects of the brain and spinal cord).
- Alcohol and illegal drugs – These can affect the quality of the egg and sperm. Women who are pregnant should not drink or take any drugs for the health and safety of the baby.
- Smoking – This can also affect the quality of the egg and sperm, and is unhealthy in many ways. Women who are pregnant should not smoke as it will directly affect your baby.
- Men should also lead a healthy lifestyle for the sake of their unborn children as lifestyle can affect the quality of your sperm.
Other factors to consider before you or your partner get pregnant:
- Know your family medical history
- Get up to date on your immunizations
- Ensure any chronic medical condition (for example, diabetes) is well managed
- Review any prescription or over-the-counter medications you are taking – consider whether or not they should be stopped before planning a pregnancy, and how to do it safely (talk to your health care provider about this)
- If you are in a relationship, do you feel safe?
- Do you get enough sleep?
- How is your emotional health, and how do you manage stress?
For Further Information
Call a Public Health nurse: (807) 625-5900
or toll-free: 1-888-294-6630