july 2023

Uncovering the most commonly asked questions around pregnancy and preconception

We've listed the top questions around pregnancy asked by expecting parents. Find out how our midwives have answered them.

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When couples are trying for a baby they are full of questions – from how to maximise their chances of conception to how to relieve morning sickness and what cravings mean.

Whilst women tend to receive plenty of information from their healthcare provider, partners can be curious about the role they play in conception, how they can support their partner and how the body changes and adapts to pregnancy.

As many people turn to the internet to seek out information about conception and pregnancy, with the help of AI we sought out the most commonly searched questions on Google and other sources.

Women were more likely to ask questions about health and risks, and men asked questions about bonding with baby, supporting their partner and how they can be involved in pregnancy.

To uncover the most commonly asked questions, we used the advanced knowledge of ChatGPT to find the top 10 most searched questions by men, and by women, of which or inhouse team of registered midwives have answered with clinically accurate information on fertility, stages, sex positions and more!

Preconception

Results of our research shows that some of the top questions from women on the topic of preconception and getting pregnant were:

1. What are the best ways to prepare for pregnancy?

The best way to prepare for pregnancy is to become as healthy as possible. You can do this by:

  • Breaking habits like smoking and drinking.
  • Adopting a Mediterranean-style diet, with plenty of fruit and veg, healthy fats, whole grains, fish and seafood, some poultry and dairy, and limited amounts of red meat.
  • Taking a good pre-conception supplement for at least 3 months before you start trying.
  • Working towards a healthier weight, as being underweight or overweight can reduce your fertility.
  • Reducing and learning to manage your stress levels.
  • Learning about and decreasing the amount of toxins and pollutants you are exposed to (eg. in cleaning products, paints, plastics and pesticides)
  • Exercising regularly.
  • Reviewing any medication you may be taking, as some may affect fertility or be contraindicated in pregnancy).
2. How can I improve my fertility and increase my chances of getting pregnant?
  • Eat a healthy and varied diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains, fish and seafood, some poultry and dairy and only limited amounts of red meat (similar to a Mediterranean diet).
  • Cut back on processed foods, sugars, white flours, and foods high in trans fats, as all of these impact negatively on your hormone function.
  • Have regular unprotected sex, every 2-3 days.
  • Get to know your cervical mucus & chart your cycle, so you know when you are most fertile.
  • Take a good quality pre-conception supplement of essential vitamins & minerals to boost your fertility and health.
  • Stop smoking, drinking, and taking any drugs, as all of these can reduce fertility and harm your unborn baby.
  • Reduce stressors wherever possible and learn to manage stress levels – nature, yoga, meditation, diet, exercise, and talking therapies can all help.
  • Do regular exercise and work towards a healthier weight.
3. What lifestyle changes should I make before trying to conceive?

Give up smoking, drinking and drugs, as all of these impact negatively on your chances of conceiving and can harm your unborn baby.

Pay close attention to your diet and swap processed foods, sugars, and foods high in trans fats for plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, wholegrain foods, fish and seafood. Have some poultry and dairy, and limited amounts of red meat.

Work towards a healthier weight, as women who are either underweight or overweight are more likely to not ovulate.

Stress affects your hormones and can lower your chances of conceiving. So, adopt healthy habits such as regular exercise and a healthy diet, give yoga and/or meditation a go, get out in nature and/or seek support from a professional to help lower your stress levels.

4. How long does it typically take to conceive?

Approximately 80% of women will conceive within the first 12 months of having unprotected regular sex. After this time, half of the women who have not yet fallen pregnant will go on to become pregnant in the following 12 months.

5. What can I do to manage stress during the preconception period?

– Connect with your mind and body through yoga and/or meditation.

– Get enough sleep.

– Engage in regular exercise.

– Eat a fresh and balanced diet.

– Plan some relaxation time with your partner – a day/weekend away, a massage, a spa day.

– Make relaxation time a ritual –a daily walk in nature, a regular movie night, late night swims at the local gym.

– Try to have fun and enjoy your relationship without fixating on becoming pregnant.

– Get to know your body, your cervical mucus, and chart your cycle – this will help you feel empowered and more relaxed.

– Consider seeking support from a counsellor, support group, mental health professional, or any other form of talking therapy.

– Continue – or start – to devote time to hobbies that make you happy.

6. Should I take prenatal vitamins before getting pregnant?

Alongside a healthy and balanced diet, taking a good quality pre-conception supplement will help ensure that you have optimal levels of essential vitamins and nutrients. These micronutrients, such as folate (the natural form of folic acid), vitamin D, iron, calcium, iodine, zinc and B vitamins, are necessary to help your baby develop and grow healthily, and to safeguard your wellbeing during pregnancy and the postnatal period.

Folate is naturally occurring – as opposed to folic acid, which is the man-made form of folate. Research shows that many of us have difficulty or are unable to metabolise (absorb and utilise) folic acid, which is of concern.

To ensure you have the optimal levels of folate for the healthy development of your unborn baby, look for a supplement that contains 400mcg of natural folate in t