Young Parents team
Week 4: Take a folic acid supplement, and quit bad habits
If you’re not on folic acid, start now; ideally, you should have built up your stores at least a month before trying to conceive.
Why the rush? This B vitamin protects your newborn against neural tube defects such as spina bifida, says Dr Tan Wei Ching, senior consultant at the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at Singapore General Hospital. Now’s also the time to cut bad habits, such as smoking and excessive drinking, adds Dr Law Wei Seng, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.
These two addictions, in particular, can cause pregnancy complications like stillbirth, premature delivery and miscarriage. They also put your child at risk of birth defects, as well as learning and behavioural problems later in life, Dr Law shares.
You don’t need to visit a gynae immediately, says Dr Tan, unless you experience pain or bleeding, have a medical condition or had complications from a previous pregnancy.
Week 6: Book your first antenatal appointment
This is when your gynae does an ultrasound examination to confirm your baby’s size and if she’s in the right location, says Dr Tan. Prepare a list of your pressing concerns beforehand to make the most of your visit.
You can afford to wait one more month before seeing a gynae, but don’t delay beyond Week 12. Certain screening tests, such as that for Down’s Syndrome, are usually done between Week 11 and 14, Dr Tan explains.
Week 8: Conquer morning sickness
That queasy feeling usually strikes between Week 8 and 10, and should ease after Week 12, says Dr Tan. To keep nausea at bay, she suggests eating small regular meals throughout the day and snacking on plain crackers and biscuits. It also helps to sip on hot ginger tea and avoid triggers, such as spicy food.
But talk to your doctor if you have such severe morning sickness that you can’t keep food or fluids down.