Nancy gives advice in an Irish Times piece for prospective parents

Nancy gives advice in an Irish Times piece for prospective parents

Parents-to-be need to ensure they are in good shape by Jill Nesbitt 28-07-2015 Preconception care is where it’s at today for men and women wanting to have a healthy baby. What’s more, the nutritional status of a mother can have lifelong adverse effects on her baby that may not emerge until decades later. Surprisingly, many pregnant women are found to have inadequate levels of certain nutrients such as vitamin D, iron, folate and calcium. Men too need to do their bit to improve sperm quality by achieving a normal BMI and giving up smoking. Poor folate status in either men or women can affect gene regulatory properties and the way sperm behave. Alcohol “destroys folate status”, according to Dr Daniel McCartney, lecturer in human nutrition and dietetics at Dublin Institute of Technology and a spokesman for the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (INDI). Neural tube defects (NTDs), which had been in decline, now appear to be rising again. In March, a study showed that while 96 per cent of women reported that they took folic acid after becoming pregnant, only 25 per cent had taken it for the recommended three months before conception, the length of time needed to achieve the necessary level in the body. The risk of NTDs is greater in obese women, who need a greater amount of folic acid, yet fewer than 6 per cent were taking the higher dose (on prescription) as recommended. Dr Michael Turner, director of the UCD centre for human reproduction and professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Coombe Women & Infants University Hospital, adds that other maternal risk factors that...
When is the best time to get pregnant?

When is the best time to get pregnant?

A woman is most likely to conceive just after the time she ovulates (releases egg from ovary). Most women ovulate about 12-16 days before the next period is due, whatever the length of their cycle. An egg lives for about 12-24 hours after release. If conception is to take place the egg must be fertilised within this time. During one act of sexual intercourse, there can be 300 million sperm released. Many die off, but some begin to swim up through the cervix, into the womb and so into the fallopian tube. Sperm can live in the woman’s body for several days but it only takes one to join with the egg and fertilise it. Following fertilisation the egg moves slowly down the fallopian tube and implants itself in the specially prepared lining of the womb. When planning to conceive it’s best to make love a day or so before ovulation, giving the sperm time to reach the fallopian tube where it awaits the...