Planning for pregnancy

If you’re planning to grow your family, there are things that you and your partner can do to help your chances of becoming pregnant.

Preconception care is a chance for you and your partner to improve your health before you start trying for a baby. A healthcare professional can help you to assess your health, fitness and lifestyle, and to identify areas that you may want to improve.

Preconception care may be useful if:

  • You want to find out how a condition such as diabetes or epilepsy can affect pregnancy.

  • You’re having trouble conceiving.

  • There is a risk that you could pass on a genetic condition, such as sickle cell disease or thalassaemia to your baby.

  • You know that your lifestyle could be better and you want to make positive changes.

Allow plenty of time for preconception planning and care before you start to try for a baby.

You will increase your chances of getting pregnant if both you and your partner are in good health. A bad diet, being overweight or obese, smoking, drinking and unhealthy working conditions can affect the quality of sperm and make it more difficult for you to get pregnant. You should both try to make your lifestyle as healthy as possible before you try to conceive. If you want to make positive changes before trying for a baby, Live Well Dorset, is a free service that offers information and advice on making healthy lifestyle changes.

If you need advice about preconception care before trying for a baby, your general practitioner (GP) or a midwife can give you more information. Preconception care is sometimes provided by practice nurses, health visitors, family planning clinics and Well Woman clinics. Speak to your GP to find out what’s available.

Improve your chances

There are lots of things that you can do as a couple to improve your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy:

IVF and other fertility treatments

Fertility treatment in Dorset

If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you should start by speaking to your GP. They can give you advice on improving your chances of getting pregnant. It’s important to remember that, even when there are no underlying fertility issues, it can take up to a year for a couple to become pregnant.

If these measures don’t work, your GP can refer you to a fertility specialist for a treatment such as IVF.

In order to qualify for fertility treatment on the NHS, you and your partner will need to meet the criteria set by the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). We recommend that you read through this carefully, and speak to your GP if you have any concerns. Factors including your age, weight, smoker status and length of your relationship are all taken into account. If you need to make changes in order to qualify, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, your GP can support you in this.