Scots trying for baby urged to stay healthy

Tuesday 23rd July 2019

Health bosses are encouraging couples trying for a baby to watch their health.

NHS Lanarkshire says staying healthy in the preconception phase boosts the chance of getting pregnant and a healthy baby.

Eating well, avoiding drugs and not smoking are among the key messages being highlighted by the board.

Around half of pregnancies are unplanned and experts say it’s important to stick to health advice if you become pregnant unexpectedly.

Public health specialist Ashley Goodfellow says: “All men and women can benefit from good preconception health, whether or not they plan to have a baby now, or in the future.

“Good preconception health is important for increasing your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.”

Women trying for a baby are urged to avoid alcohol entirely.

This echoes UK chief medical officers’ advice that pregnant women and those trying to become pregnant drink no alcohol at all, to minimise any potential risk to the baby.

And a 2018 World Health Organization study found there is ‘no safe level’ of alcohol, linking consumption to certain cancers, liver cirrhosis and cardiovascular disease.  

However men are being encouraged to look after their health too.

“What many people don’t realise is that it is just as important for men to be healthy. Things such as alcohol, smoking and obesity all affect male fertility and if a male is healthy it supports his partner to be healthy too,” Ms Goodfellow says.

She added: “We aim to get these messages out to as many people as we can to ensure that people, who are perhaps planning a pregnancy or may become pregnant, are fully informed about the importance of preconception health and are equipped to make informed choices for themselves and their baby.”