Trying For A 2022 Baby? Everything You Need To Know First About Fertility And Pregnancy

Are You Trying For A 2022 Baby? Here's Everything You Need To Know First About Fertility And Pregnancy

Is trying for a 2022 baby part of your plan for this year? For many people, 2022 is likely to be a time you decide to try for your first baby, or add to your growing family.

Trying for a 2022 baby?

If you’re thinking about pregnancy, it’s natural to want to make positive changes to you and your partner’s health and lifestyle.

Here is everything you need to know about fertility and pregnancy.

Want To Start A Family In 2022? Take These Steps Before You Start Trying

If trying for a 2022 baby is something you’re thinking about, then you might be wondering if there are any steps you need to take before you start trying to conceive.

We’d recommend taking the following positive lifestyle changes, ideally a few weeks or months before you start trying to get pregnant:

  • Take a daily 400µg supplement of folic acid (or 5mg if you are at higher risk of neural tube defects). The UK Department of Health recommend that you take this amount of folic acid for at least one month before and for at least the first trimester of pregnancy, however it can also be beneficial to take it for at least 3 months before conception, to safeguard your nutritional stores.
  • Make sure you eat a healthy diet, including lots of fruits and vegetables (especially those containing natural folates), as well as foods that have been fortified with folic acid.
  • Ensure that you’re a healthy weight before trying to conceive. Speak to your doctor if you need advice.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol, and encourage your partner to do the same.
  • Track your cycle so you’re in tune with your body and aware of your most fertile days. Read our post on when you are most fertile and how to track your fertility.
  • If you have a long-term health condition, seek medical advice before trying to conceive.

Why Is Folic Acid So Important If I’m Thinking About Trying For A 2022 Baby?

Folic acid is an important B vitamin (vitamin B9) that plays an important role in the process of cell division, which is why it becomes particularly important in the very early days of pregnancy when cell division is at its most rapid. Because of this, women’s bodies need extra folic acid both before conception and during early pregnancy to help support the development of their babies.

Supplemental folic acid intake increases maternal folate status*. Low maternal folate status is a risk factor in the development of neural tube defects in the developing foetus. NTDs occur when the brain and spine fail to form properly during the first 28 days of pregnancy, before many women even realise that they are pregnant.

It is for this reason that it’s so important that women increase their intake of folic acid BEFORE they try to conceive. As well as playing a role in the process of cell division, folic acid also contributes to maternal tissue growth during pregnancy.

Folic acid is water soluble, which means that our bodies can’t store it very well. This is why you need to ensure that you’re getting a fresh supply of folic acid every day.  

Read more in our posts about folic acid and the benefits of folic acid.

Where Can I Find Folate And Folic Acid?

Spinach - trying for a 2022 baby

It’s important to eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, with lots of natural source folates, especially if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

Folate, the natural form of folic acid, can be found in a wide variety of foods, including

  • Green leafy vegetables (e.g. spinach, cabbage)
  • Broccoli
  • Oranges
  • Yeast extract.

Although a healthy diet would normally provide you with enough folate, it’s not possible to get the additional folic acid that’s recommended to support and protect a pregnancy through these natural sources alone. This is the reason that daily dietary supplements are recommended, and why over 80 countries around the world fortify staple foods such as bread, flour, rice and corn masa, to help increase women’s intake of this important vitamin before they conceive.

In September 2021 the UK Government announced new policy that UK flour will be fortified with folic acid to help prevent birth defects (although wholemeal flour and gluten free foods will not be subject to mandatory fortification). It is estimated that this UK fortification of flour could prevent up to 200 birth defects a year. The NHS continues to strongly recommend women who could become pregnant or are planning a pregnancy to take a supplement of 400 µg folic acid every day before pregnancy, until the 12th week of pregnancy.

Pregnacare Conception Supplements And Folic Acid

Pregnacare Conception supplements

The main, and most stable source of folate is the folic acid that is found in supplements and fortified foods. Pregnacare Conception supplements provide advanced nutritional support for women trying for a baby. They are designed to be taken before you get pregnant and include 400µg folic acid, the exact level recommended by the UK Department of Health from the start of trying to conceive, as well as vitamin D and vitamin B12, plus zinc, which is scientifically proven to support normal fertility and reproduction.

Pregnacare Him & Her Conception

Pregnacare Him & Her Conception is a balanced daily formula specifically developed with nutrients to help support male and female reproductive health as well as overall wellbeing. The extra value dual pack contains both Pregnacare Conception and Wellman Conception nutritional tablets (both are also available to purchase separately).

Pregnacare Conception supplements provide advanced nutritional support for women trying for a baby, are designed to be taken before you get pregnant and include 400µg folic acid, the exact level recommended by the UK Department of Health from the start of trying to conceive, as well as vitamin D and vitamin B12, plus zinc which is scientifically proven to support normal fertility and reproduction. It also includes specialist nutrients Coenzyme Q10, Inositol and N-Acetyl Cysteine. Pregnacare Conception is suitable for vegetarians.

Wellman Conception is a comprehensive formulation designed for men, containing specific nutrients, including zinc, which helps to contributes to normal fertility and reproduction and   normal testosterone levels in the blood, plus selenium which contributes to normal spermatogenesis. It also includes Peruvian MACA Extract, Co-Q10, Lycopene, Siberian Ginseng Extract and Pine Bark Extract. Wellman Concpetion is suitable for vegetarians.

Helping Your Folic Acid To Work When You’re Trying For A 2022 Baby:

You might be wondering if there is anything else you need to do when it comes to trying for a 2022 baby.

There are some factors that can affect our bodies when it comes to absorbing folic acid properly, that it’s important to be aware of:

Your Lifestyle: 

Both smoking and alcohol consumption can prevent folic acid from being absorbed properly. So that’s another good reason to stop smoking and drinking alcohol before you try to conceive.

Being very overweight can also affect how your body responds to folic acid, so if you’re very overweight it’s a good idea to try and reach a healthier weight before you try to conceive.

Being very overweight can also affect fertility, so by losing weight you could also help improve your chances of conceiving.

Medications: 

Certain medications can also affect folate absorption. If you want to have a baby and you’re currently receiving medical treatment or taking long term medication for a chronic condition, it’s very important to check with your doctor to make sure that your medication is safe to use during pregnancy, or if any changes will need to be made to your treatment before you try to conceive.

NEVER stop taking any medication that you have been prescribed without consulting your doctor.

Vitamin B12: 

B12 works very closely with folic acid. Research suggests* that taking a daily supplement of at least 2.5µg of B12 (the EU RDA) with your main meal, in addition to the recommended daily 400µg supplement of folic acid, may further reduce the risk of NTD. B12 is mainly found in animal and dairy produce, so B12 supplementation is especially important for women following vegetarian or vegan diets.

* Addition of Vitamin B12 to folic acid supplements to optimise the prevention of Spina Bifida and other Neural Tube Defects, Professor John M. Scott, Biomedical Sciences Institute, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland

Covid-19 And Pregnancy in 2022

If you are trying for a baby or are already pregnant, make sure you are aware of the latest advice on the Coronavirus and pregnancy and how Covid-19 relates to fertility.

Read our post on Pregnancy and Coronavirus including a Q&A answering all the questions you might have around COVID-19 and pregnancy, with advice from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), Royal College of Midwives and Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, with input from the Royal College of Anaesthetists, the Obstetric Anaesthetists’ Association, Public Health England and Public Health Scotland.

Are you thinking about trying for a 2022 baby?

 

*The beneficial effect is obtained with a supplemental folic acid daily intake of 400µg for at least one month before and up to three months after conception.

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Gillian Crawshaw

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