If you want to get pregnant, it is good to prepare well. It is good to know how your menstrual cycle works. It is important to eat healthy, to start taking folic acid and to adopt a healthy lifestyle. We provide a lot of information here but you can also come for a preconception appointment, so that we can tell you even more.

Your menstrual cycle

Your menstrual cycle

The menstrual cycle of women is 28 days on average and the ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary) is on day 14. If your cycle is a bit longer or shorter, your ovulation is 14 days before your next cycle. At a cycle of 30 days it is therefore around day 16. Via the temperature method you can detect your ovulation. Just after your ovulation your temperature increases with 0.3 degree Celsius. Take your temperature daily before you get up and you can follow your cycle. Ovulation tests are available as well, which you can buy at the chemist.

An egg can be fertilised for about 24 hours. Sperm cells live for about 48 to 72 hours and sometimes a bit longer. Therefore, if you want to get pregnant, the best time to have sex is almost a week before your ovulation and again every 2 to 3 days.

Scale model of a foetus

Lifestyle, healthy food and exercise/ sport

A healthy eat and lifestyle is very important. Let al lot of vegetables

Regular exercise is important. You don’t have to go to the sport school. Everyday a 30 minute walk, bicycle ride or swimming is also sufficient.

Folic acid and medication

Folic acid and medication

Taking folic acid helps to close the neural tube of your baby. It reduces the chance of neural tube defects. The recommended dosage is 0,4 to 0,5 milligram (or 400 to 500 micrograms) folic acid a dag. You can buy tablets at the chemist. Because it takes about four weeks to get the right level in your body, it is best to start taking folic acid as soon as you plan to get pregnant.

If you use medication, ask your general practitioner whether you need to change this before pregnancy. If you use antidepressants, do not stop these by yourself but always in consultation with your general practitioner.

smoking, drugs and alcohol

Giving up smoking, drugs and alcohol

It is important to stop smoking. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of complications, such as miscarriage, preterm birth. See information of the National Health Service in England here. Ask us about support services to help you quit smoking.

We do not know the safe lower limit of taking alcohol during pregnancy, therefore the advice is not to drink at all. Your baby’s liver can no process the alcohol and therefore it can affect his or her development in the womb. See here. Ask us about ways to help you stop drinking alcohol.

Illegal drug use too affects your pregnancy and your baby, so it’s a good time to stop it if you want to get pregnant. See here for more information. Ask us for support to give up drugs.

For partners

For partners

  • For partners too it is important to be in good health and have a good condition. Not smoking and not using alcohol, or only a little, makes you more fertile. If you use medication, discuss with your general practitioner whether this affects your fertility. More information see here.

Part of a wallpainting, made by Gijs Vrieling