Lifestyle and weight management

A healthy lifestyle

Having a healthy lifestyle is important for general health but it is becoming clearer with advances in scientific and medical understanding that it is even more important before and during the very early stages of pregnancy. Preparing for pregnancy to give your baby the best chances in life is an area Leeds Fertility has reinforced for many years, for both women and men. Sometimes, a lifestyle adjustment is all that is needed for couples to conceive naturally after months or years of trying without success.

General advice:

  • stop smoking completely.
  • reduce alcohol intake to a minimum for both men and women. No safe limit has been identified so no alcohol consumption is advised.
  • women should have been vaccinated against Germann measles (rubella) or have confirmed immunity.
  • women should have an up to date, normal cervical smear test.
  • women should be taking folic acid (vitamin B) supplement at 400 micrograms daily before and during treatment, and for at least the first three months of pregnancy (buy over-the-counter ‘folic acid for pregnancy’ or ‘multivitamins for pregnancy’).
  • both partners should aim for normal body weight for their height. Women, in particular, should aim for a body mass index ideally under 25kg/m2, and absolutely under 30kg/m2 to access NHS-funding. Treatment is less successful and riskier at heavier weights. Pregnancy is also less healthy with a higher risk of blood pressure problems and diabetes in heavier mothers.
  • a healthy, varied diet and regular physical exercise are helpful for overall health, weight management and stress reduction.
  • discuss any other medication you take with your GP and specialist (s) to ensure any risks to yourself (from other medical conditions) and to your up-coming pregnancy / baby are minimised.
  • consider carefully the use of complementary therapies, and please inform us what you are using / doing. Acupuncture is not known to be harmful and many patients find it helps with managing stress.

Specific advice:

If you wish to discuss your lifestyle and diet in more detail, you may wish to consult a nutritionist who can focus on specific micronutrients and recommend changes accordingly. Balance Fertility, based in Leeds can help.

You may also want to read our Guide to increasing the chances of pregnancy.