Are you trying to conceive? Then it is important that both parents assume a healthy lifestyle, preferably before you stop using birth control. It takes some time for the body to get rid of toxins so it is important to start living healthy in time. At least three months before stopping birth control.
Any pregnant woman has a small chance of conceiving a child with a spina bifida or a cleft lip or palate. Using folic acid (0,4mg each day) reduces the chance of this happening. If you start taking folic acid four weeks before the pregnancy you reduce the chance of having a baby with this kind of disability by 70%.
It is best if both future parents stop drinking alcohol before the pregnancy. Men drinking alcohol influences the quality of the sperm; more sperm cells will be deviant, reducing the chance of conceiving and increasing the chance of a miscarriage. After cutting off alcohol it takes about three months for the sperm tot get fully healthy again.
For women the safest choice is to not drink any alcohol before and during the pregnancy at all. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and brain damage to your child.
When trying to conceive a child it is best to stop smoking. Second hand smoking causes damage as well, so safest is when both parents stop smoking. Smoking decreases fertility and increases the chance of a baby with growth retardation, premature rupture of membranes, clubfeet and cleft lip or palate. Smoking during pregnancy can also cause detachment of the placenta.
When using medication we advise to consult your general practitioner before you try to conceive to check whether your medication is safe to use during pregnancy. If your medication is not safe it is often possible to switch medication or stop it temporarily.