Pregnancy & Perinatal Health
When you reach a stage in your life where you have fallen pregnant, or are thinking about conceiving, there are a few important things to consider throughout your pregnancy and perinatal journey.
The fertility of you and/or your partner has a big impact on your ability to become pregnant. Fertility can be impacted by illness, your age, weight, whether you smoke, take drugs, and if you have or have had sexually transmissible diseases. There are certain days in a woman’s menstrual cycle where pregnancy is possible. The ‘fertile window’ is the five days before, and the day of ovulation. There are some signs that ovulation is about to occur (such as vaginal mucus changes, abdominal pain, and premenstrual-like symptoms), and it is useful to get to know what these are for you.
The sperm quality and fertility of your partner is an important factor in your ability to get pregnant. The sperm count, along with how they move and their shape affect your chance of becoming pregnant and the health of the baby. Lifestyle choices, such as excessive alcohol consumption, smoking or the use of illicit drugs, and certain medications can reduce the number and quality of sperm. A sperm test can indicate the quality of the sperm if you are experiencing challenges getting pregnant.
When planning a pregnancy, it is an ideal time to consider your nutrition. Some nutrients that are important during pregnancy are folate, iodine, calcium, and iron. Speak with your doctor if you have any concerns about your nutrition during pregnancy. Maintaining your weight while you are pregnant is not easy, but is essential to reduce your risk of hypertension, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and the need for an induced birth. The ideal weight gain during pregnancy should be discussed with your doctor.
Gestational diabetes can develop during pregnancy, but usually goes away after the baby is born. It is recommended that all women and pregnant people are screened for gestational diabetes within 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy. It can be distressing when diagnosed with gestational diabetes, so it is important that you see a diabetes health professional for better understanding and assistance in managing your condition. Women and pregnant people who have gestational diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life, so it is important to consult a health professional to help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes as you age.
Statistics show that women and pregnant people are at greater risk of experiencing domestic violence from their partner during the perinatal period (the period of time when you become pregnant and up to a year after giving birth). During this time, you may experience violence and abuse for the first time, or it may get worse. Violence during pregnancy is associated with miscarriage, late entry into prenatal care, stillbirth, premature labour and birth, fetal injury, and low birth weight. If you find yourself experiencing violence during pregnancy, help is available.
Call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.