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Baby Matters

Ready For Another Baby?

November 1st, 2016

Submitted by the Healthy Parents, Healthy Children Team

Whether you’re a seasoned parent, or you’ve just had your first baby, it’s never too early to start thinking about what your family might look like in the future. Maybe you always knew that you wanted a large family, or maybe you feel that one child is the perfect “fit” for you. Or maybe you’ve never really thought about it at all!

When you’re ready to have another baby, it’s healthy to have a plan. In addition to thinking about your relationships, your finances, your other children (and even your sleep!), it’s also important to think about the things that you can do to benefit your own health and the health of a future baby.

Know the folic acid facts!

For any woman that could become pregnant, it’s important to take a multivitamin with folic acid in it every day, whether you are currently planning a pregnancy or not. Folic acid is important to take before pregnancy. It helps with baby’s development by lowering the risk of a baby being born with a neural tube defect. This defect can happen in the very early weeks of pregnancy, when many women don’t even know that they’re pregnant.

For most women, taking a multivitamin with 0.4 mg (400 mcg) of folic acid every day and eating healthy food provides enough folic acid.   And remember, if you’re sexually active, take your multivitamin!

Age matters

We know that it takes a combination of a healthy egg and a successful swimmer (sperm) to make a baby. Changes occur in both men and women that can cause fertility to go down as we age. Women over age 35 can have more trouble getting pregnant and having a healthy baby. Age can also impact the health of mom and baby both during and after pregnancy. Men produce less testosterone as they get older. The quality and function of sperm may also change with age, which can affect a couple’s ability to conceive a baby.

Although treatment for fertility problems offers a better chance of becoming pregnant, these treatments can be stressful, expensive, hard on your body, and don’t always work. Timing never seems to be perfect, but thinking about the future may help to put the reproductive (“baby making”) odds in your favour.

Ask your health care provider

Many other factors can play a role in a healthy pregnancy and having a healthy baby. Talk to your health care provider before you start trying to have a baby.  They can help answer your questions about your physical or mental health, nutrition, activity or your weight. You can also discuss your health and family history, any medical conditions that you have or medicines that you are taking, STIs, genetic risk or substance use.

Visit ReadyOrNotAlberta.ca for more information and steps to take to be as prepared as possible now and in the future.

Already pregnant and need healthy pregnancy and parenting info? Alberta Health Services has a site for that too. Visit HealthyParentsHealthyChildren.ca for relevant, up-to-date information about pregnancy and being a parent in Alberta.

The above information contains excerpts from Alberta Health Services’ Ready or Not Alberta online resource. For more information on preconception health, visit ReadyOrNotAlberta.ca

For more information on topics related to pregnancy and being a parent, and for information on where you can pick up print copies of the Healthy Parents, Healthy Children resources free of charge, go to HealthyParentsHealthyChildren.ca

The Ready or Not Alberta and Healthy Parents, Healthy Children teams are part of the larger Healthy Children and Families team at Alberta Health Services. Find us on Facebook at Healthy Parents, Healthy Children or follow us on Twitter @AHS_HPHC. For questions or comments, please contact hphc@ahs.ca.

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