Before you start trying to conceive a baby, see your doctor to check your medical history and make sure you’re in optimum pre-pregnancy health. This includes blood tests checks for rubella and chicken pox, pap smears and breast checks, as well as a review of any medications you are currently taking.

Weight, exercise and diet play an important role in determining your chances of pregnancy success, but the most important factor is age – if you experience any problems at all, don’t leave it too late to seek medical advice.

If you are concerned about your fertility for any reason, it’s reassuring to know that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll need IVF. If you have endometriosis or fibroids, fertility surgery could help you conceive naturally, and for conditions such as PCOS, medications can be of benefit.

Find out more about Dr Haider Najjar’s fertility services.

I’ve seen firsthand the impact infertility and gynaecological disorders can have, and it’s made me determined to continually advance treatment and outcomes in this area.Dr Haider Najjar
Understand your fertility window

You are at your most fertile in the days leading up to ovulation – typically days 8 through 16 after the first day of your last period. Find out more about your ovulation cycle.

Vitamin supplements for pregnancy

Folate is very important for a healthy pregnancy and ideally should be taken before you conceive, or as soon as you discover that you are pregnant. You can get a combined supplement at the chemist, but it is best to speak to your doctor about your needs.

What symptoms can I expect during pregnancy?

The most common pregnancy symptoms are nausea or ‘morning sickness’, heartburn or indigestion, and back pain. Headaches and tiredness are also very common.

Morning sickness usually subsides by the start of the second trimester, but sometimes it may last longer. Simple remedies such as Vitamin B6 and fresh ginger or ginger derivatives such as ginger-tea may provide relief. If not, please ask your doctor about prescription medications.

Heartburn usually starts in the second trimester and may continue until delivery. Having small frequent meals often helps. Otherwise, try over-the-counter remedies such as Mylanta and Quick-eze. Again, if these fail, speak to your doctor about other possible treatments.

Backache usually occurs in the third trimester as your abdomen becomes larger. The centre of gravity changes, and hormonal changes also cause muscles and ligaments to become lax. Rest where possible, and massage therapy may be beneficial.

You may also experience bleeding or spotting during pregnancy – with or without abdominal pain. Call your doctor is these occur, so they can check your health and that of your baby.

What is Rhesus incompatibility?

The Rhesus factor is an antibody found in blood. Its presence or absence determines whether your blood group is positive or negative. If you are Rh- and you are pregnant with an Rh+ baby your antibodies could pass through to the baby and damage or even destroy the baby’s red blood cells. This can lead to the baby becoming anaemic or developing jaundice, or occasionally to more serious complications.

Fortunately, Rhesus factor problems are almost entirely preventable. If you are Rh- you’ll be given an injection of a substance called Anti-D at 28 and 34 weeks gestation, and shortly after the baby is born if the baby tests positive for Rhesus factor.

Anti-D is also administered at any stage during the pregnancy if there is any bleeding, trauma or injury where a materno-foetal transfusion may have occurred.

Find out more about Dr Najjar’s obstetric services.