family planning

Are you thinking about having children? Please take a moment to consider your health, lifestyle and work environment. Your lifestyle can influence your chances of getting pregnant and can also be an important factor in your baby's health. The likelihood of a healthy baby increases if you follow a healthy diet and start to take folic acid before getting pregnant. Smoking and alcohol can seriously affect the health of your baby. Certain hereditary diseases or stressful occupations can also impact your pregnancy or baby.

Folic acid
Taking folic acid before you get pregnant reduces the odds of a baby with spina bifida or other anomalies. If you want to get pregnant, we advise you to start taking folic acid three months before you stop using contraception. The daily intake should be 0.4 to 0.5 milligrams of folic acid.

A healthy and varied diet is important to get your pregnancy off to a good start. More information about what a healthy diet entails is available from the Dutch Nutrition Centre.

Women who are underweight or overweight can have fertility problems. When your BMI is below 18.5, we advise you to try and gain weight. And if your BMI is above 30, it is medically wise to try and lose weight before getting pregnant. We work together with a dietician from 'Amstelring'. Please call 0900 1866 to make an appointment with her for advice.

Smoking reduces the odds of getting pregnant and raises the odds of having a growth-retarded baby or a baby with a birth defect. Quitting smoking can be really hard, but there are professionals who can help you. Check out the Trimbos website for more information.

Alcohol can also cause fertility problems. It is wise not to drink any alcohol when you're trying to get pregnant. An average of only one glass of wine a day triples the chance of miscarrying. For the father-to-be, it is also wise not to drink alcohol while trying to conceive, because alcohol consumption can cause fertility problems for the prospective father too. Check out the NHS website for more information.

Drug abuse
Drug abuse and trying to have children simply do not go together. If you want to get pregnant, we advise you to stop taking drugs completely and immediately. Soft drugs can influence your fertility too as well as cause damage to your unborn baby. Read more on the website of the National institute on drug abuse.

Not all medication and over-the-counter drugs are safe to use in pregnancy. Please inform your GP/doctor and pharmacist that you are trying to get pregnant so that this can be taken into account when prescribing medication. If you are diagnosed with a chronic illness and/or take prescribed medication, it is best to consult your GP/doctor before you decide to stop taking birth control. Always ask the pharmacist about the medication that you are buying, even when it is over-the-counter.

Tips and advice about working during and after pregnancy can be found at the NVAB. Your working environment might impact your fertility, for example when you work with chemicals or radiation. Ask your company doctor for advice before getting pregnant.