10 Things to Know When Trying to Conceive: Essential Preconception Tips

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  • Post published:11. August 2023
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10 Things to Know When Trying to Conceive

Are you ready to start a family? Exciting times lie ahead as you embark on the journey of bringing a new life into this world. But before you dive headfirst into the world of parenthood, there are a few things you should know. Preconception care and planning, including taking prenatal vitamins, are crucial for pregnant women looking to conceive faster. It’s important to consider birth control options before trying to get pregnant. Taking these steps will help ensure a healthy pregnancy and set the stage for your future little one’s well-being.

Planning ahead for pregnancy involves taking proactive steps to optimize your chances of conceiving and having a successful pregnancy. By prioritizing preconception care and taking a prenatal vitamin, you can improve your fertile health and increase your chances of getting pregnant faster, especially if you have fertility problems. This will lay the foundation for a smoother journey towards parenthood.

So why is preconception care for future pregnancy so important? Well, for starters, it helps identify any potential health issues that could affect your ability to conceive or carry a baby to term. A preconception checkup with your healthcare provider can assess factors such as your overall health, reproductive history, and any medications or supplements you may be taking. It’s especially important for pregnant women to take birth control and use pregnancy tests.

By planning ahead, pregnant women have an opportunity to address any underlying health concerns that could impact their fertility or pregnancy outcomes. From managing chronic conditions like diabetes or hypertension to optimizing nutrient intake and lifestyle choices, preconception care allows them to take charge of their health before conception occurs. Consulting with a vitamin practitioner can help identify and address any potential problems.

Preconception counseling is crucial for future pregnancy planning. By discussing family medical history, birth control methods, and previous pregnancies with your healthcare practitioner, you can receive personalized guidance on when and how to start trying for a baby. This information equips you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about pregnancy tests and the health of your ovaries.

By investing time in preconception care and planning now, you can optimize fertile health levels while reducing potential risks of health conditions during early pregnancy. It’s about giving yourself the best possible chance at successfully conceiving while safeguarding both yours and baby’s well-being. Remember to consider your family health history and the health of your ovaries.

So let’s get started on this exciting adventure together!

Statistic: According to Mayo Clinic, about half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. It is recommended that every woman should take pregnancy tests and have a preconception checkup to ensure their health conditions are optimal.

Understanding Age-Related Fertility Declines

Understanding Age-Related Fertility Declines

Impact of Age on Female Fertility

As women age, their fertile health naturally declines. This is because the number and quality of eggs in a woman’s ovaries decrease over time. In fact, a woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have, and as she gets older, the remaining eggs become fewer and less viable. By the time a woman reaches her late thirties or early forties, her chances of getting pregnant each month are significantly reduced. It is important for women to monitor their fertility health and consider using pregnancy tests if they suspect any issues. Additionally, women with endometriosis should consult with their doctor for a preconception checkup to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Male Fertility Decline with Advancing Age

While much attention is often given to female fertility decline and fertile health, it’s important to note that men also experience a decrease in fertility as they age. While men continue to produce sperm throughout their lives, there are changes that occur with aging that can affect sperm quality and the health of the ovaries. These changes may include decreased sperm count, reduced motility (ability to swim), and increased DNA damage in the sperm, all of which are supported by science.

Age-Related Changes in Egg Quality and Quantity

One of the key factors contributing to age-related decline in fertile health for women is the decline in both egg quantity and quality. As women get older, their ovaries contain fewer eggs, making it more difficult for them to conceive. The remaining eggs may have genetic abnormalities or chromosomal defects that can lead to infertility or an increased risk of miscarriage. This decline in fertile health is particularly relevant for women with endometriosis. Understanding the science behind this process is crucial for women’s reproductive health.

The Optimal Age Range for Conception

The optimal age range for conception varies from woman to woman but generally falls between the late teens and early thirties for women. During this time, women tend to have higher fertility rates and better egg quality compared to later years. However, it’s important to remember that every individual is different, and factors such as overall health and lifestyle choices can also impact fertility, especially when it comes to the ovaries and having a baby. Science plays a role in understanding these factors.

Risks Associated with Delayed Childbearing

Delaying childbearing can come with certain risks for both men and women’s fertile health. For women, waiting too long to try to conceive can increase the chances of age-related infertility and complications during pregnancy. These complications may include gestational diabetes, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. For men, delaying fatherhood can also lead to a higher risk of fertility issues and genetic abnormalities in offspring. The importance of understanding the science behind fertility cannot be overstated.

Monitoring Ovulation for Timing

Monitoring ovulation is crucial for increasing a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. By understanding when she is most fertile, she can time intercourse accordingly and optimize her chances of conception. Keeping track of ovulation in a journal can be helpful to identify patterns and predict future fertile periods. This is especially important for women who are trying to conceive a baby.

Tracking Menstrual Cycles to Identify Ovulation Window

One of the first steps in monitoring ovulation is tracking your menstrual cycles in a woman’s journal. Understanding the length of your cycle can help you identify your potential ovulation window for a baby. A typical menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days, but it can vary from person to person. Some women have shorter cycles of 25 days, while others may have longer ones of up to 35 days.

To accurately track a woman’s menstrual cycles, start by marking the first day of her period on a calendar. Count the number of days until the next period begins. This will give her an idea of how long her cycle usually lasts. It’s important to note that the first day of bleeding is considered Day 1 of her cycle.

Once you have tracked multiple cycles, you may notice a pattern emerging. Many women, including those trying to conceive a baby, experience ovulation around 12-14 days before their next period starts. For example, if you have a consistent 28-day cycle, ovulation is likely to occur between Day 14 and Day 16.

Methods for Detecting Ovulation

Several methods can help detect ovulation in a woman and narrow down the timing more precisely for conceiving a baby.

  1. Basal Body Temperature Charting: Basal body temperature (BBT) refers to your body’s lowest resting temperature during sleep. By taking your temperature every morning before getting out of bed and recording it on a chart, you may notice a slight increase after ovulation due to hormonal changes.Keep in mind that BBT charting is most effective for confirming ovulation in a woman, rather than predicting when it will happen. Therefore, this method is best used alongside other ovulation detection methods.
  2. Ovulation Predictor Kits (OPKs): OPKs are widely available over-the-counter kits that detect the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which typically occurs 24-36 hours before ovulation. These kits work similarly to pregnancy tests and provide a positive result when the LH surge is detected.To use an OPK, a woman should follow the instructions provided with the kit. Most kits recommend testing once or twice a day starting a few days before she expects to ovulate. When she receives a positive result, it’s a good indication that ovulation is imminent.
Importance of Timing Intercourse During the Fertile Period

Importance of Timing Intercourse During the Fertile Period

Timing intercourse during a woman’s fertile period is crucial for successful conception. The fertile period, which includes the days leading up to and including ovulation, is when the chances of a woman getting pregnant are highest.

Sperm can survive inside a woman’s body for up to five days, while an egg only survives for about 24 hours after being released from the ovaries. Therefore, having intercourse prior to ovulation allows sperm to be present in the fallopian tubes ready to fertilize the egg as soon as it is released.

To maximize your chances of conceiving as a woman, aim to have intercourse every one or two days throughout your fertile window. This ensures that sperm is consistently available in case ovulation occurs earlier or later than expected.

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation

Being aware of your body’s signs and symptoms can also help a woman identify when she is likely to be ovulating. Some common signs of ovulation for a woman include

  • Changes in Cervical Mucus: As you approach ovulation, cervical mucus becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy – resembling raw egg whites. This type of mucus helps sperm travel through the cervix and into the uterus more easily.
  • Mild Pelvic Pain or Twinges: Some women experience mild pain or twinges on one side of their lower abdomen during ovulation. This is known as mittelschmerz, which is German for “middle pain.”
  • Breast Tenderness: Hormonal changes during ovulation can cause breast tenderness or sensitivity in some women.

By paying attention to these signs and symptoms, as a woman, you can gain a better understanding of your body’s fertility patterns and increase your chances of conceiving.

In addition to these methods, it’s important for a woman to note that certain factors, such as endometriosis or irregular menstrual cycles, may affect her ovulation. If a woman has concerns about her ovulatory health, it is advisable for her to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance.

Remember, each person’s journey to conception is unique.

Managing Stress and its Impact on Fertility

Managing Stress and its Impact on Fertility

The Link Between Stress and Infertility

Stress can have a significant impact on a woman’s fertility, making it essential for women to manage stress levels when trying to conceive. Research has shown that high levels of stress can interfere with a woman’s reproductive health and contribute to fertility issues. When women experience stress, their bodies release cortisol, a hormone that can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance necessary for conception.

The connection between stress and infertility in women is complex but well-documented. Chronic stress can affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain responsible for regulating hormones related to reproduction in women. This disruption can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, ovulation problems, and even anovulation (lack of ovulation) in women. Stress may also reduce sperm count and motility in men, further complicating the conception process for women.

Strategies to Reduce Stress Levels While Trying to Conceive

Managing stress effectively is crucial for women when attempting to conceive. By adopting various strategies, women can minimize their stress levels and enhance their chances of conceiving.

  1. Practice Relaxation Techniques: Mind-body techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, or tai chi promote relaxation and help reduce stress levels. These practices encourage mindfulness and allow individuals to focus on the present moment rather than worrying about fertility concerns.
  2. Seek Support: It’s important not to face fertility challenges alone. Seek support from loved ones or join support groups where you can connect with others experiencing similar struggles. Sharing your feelings and concerns with understanding individuals can provide emotional relief during this journey.
  3. Consider Professional Help: If you find it challenging to cope with stress while trying to conceive, consider seeking professional assistance from therapists who specialize in reproductive medicine or fertility counseling. They can offer guidance tailored specifically for your situation.
  4. Maintain Physical Activity: Engaging in regular physical activity not only improves overall health but also helps reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins—natural mood-enhancing chemicals in the brain. Choose activities you enjoy, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing, and make them a part of your routine.
  5. Prioritize Self-Care: Take time for yourself and engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether it’s reading a book, taking a warm bath, practicing a hobby, or indulging in a spa day, self-care is essential for mental well-being during the conception journey.

Mind-Body Techniques That Promote Relaxation

Mind-body techniques are essential for reducing stress levels in women trying to conceive. These practices prioritize the mind-body connection, aiding relaxation for women both mentally and physically.

  1. Deep Breathing: Deep breathing exercises involve slow inhalation through the nose followed by controlled exhalation through the mouth. This technique triggers the body’s relaxation response and helps calm the mind.
  2. Meditation: Meditation involves focusing attention or achieving a heightened state of awareness to promote mental clarity and emotional stability. Regular meditation practice can reduce stress levels and enhance overall well-being.
  3. Yoga: Yoga combines physical postures (asanas), breathing exercises (pranayama), and meditation to promote relaxation, flexibility, strength, and balance. It provides an opportunity to connect with your body while calming the mind.
  4. Tai Chi: Tai Chi is a gentle martial art characterized by slow movements performed with focused attention on breathing and body alignment. Practicing Tai Chi can improve energy flow throughout the body, promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

Seeking Support from Loved Ones or Professionals

Navigating fertility issues can be emotionally challenging; therefore, seeking support from loved ones or professionals is crucial for maintaining mental well-being during this journey.

  1. Loved Ones: Share your thoughts and concerns with your partner, family members, or close friends who can provide emotional support throughout the process. Having someone to lean on during difficult times can make a significant difference.
  2. Professional Help: If stress becomes overwhelming, consider consulting with a fertility specialist or therapist who specializes in reproductive medicine. They can provide guidance, support, and coping strategies tailored to your specific circumstances.
Importance of Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements

Importance of Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements

There are several important factors to consider. One of the key aspects is ensuring that your body has all the essential nutrients needed for reproductive health. This is where prenatal vitamins and supplements play a crucial role.

Essential Nutrients Needed for Reproductive Health

Prenatal vitamins are specifically formulated to provide the necessary nutrients that support fertility and a healthy pregnancy. These vitamins contain a combination of vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial substances that are vital for both you and your baby’s well-being.

One of the most important components found in prenatal vitamins is folic acid. Folic acid is a B vitamin that plays a significant role in preventing birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly. It helps with the development of the neural tube in early pregnancy when many women may not even be aware they are expecting.

Role of Folic Acid in Preventing Birth Defects

Folic acid works by aiding in the formation of red blood cells and DNA synthesis, which are critical during rapid cell division in early fetal development. By taking a folic acid supplement before conception and during early pregnancy, you can significantly reduce the risk of these serious birth defects.

To ensure you’re getting enough folic acid, it’s recommended to take a prenatal vitamin that contains at least 400 micrograms (mcg) or more of this essential nutrient. Incorporating foods rich in folate into your diet can further boost your intake. Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale, as well as citrus fruits like oranges and orange juice, are excellent sources of natural folate.

Recommended Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements

While it’s always best to consult with your healthcare provider for personalized recommendations based on your specific needs, there are some widely recognized prenatal vitamins available over-the-counter that can be beneficial when trying to conceive.

  • One A Day Women’s Prenatal is a popular choice that provides essential nutrients, including folic acid, iron, and calcium.
  • Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal is another highly regarded option made from whole foods, ensuring optimal nutrient absorption.
  • Nature Made Prenatal Multi + DHA combines essential vitamins with omega 3 fatty acids to support both prenatal and postnatal health.

Remember, prenatal vitamins are not a substitute for a healthy diet. They are designed to supplement your nutritional intake and fill any gaps that may exist.

Potential Benefits of Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Fertility

In addition to folic acid, certain supplements like omega 3 fatty acids have shown potential benefits in improving fertility. These healthy fats can be found in fish oil supplements or by consuming fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, or sardines.

Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to improved egg quality and increased blood flow to the reproductive organs. They also play a role in regulating hormones and reducing inflammation in the body, which can positively impact fertility.

While more research is needed to fully understand the extent of omega 3’s effects on fertility, incorporating these supplements into your routine may offer some benefits when trying to conceive.

Healthy Diet and Body Weight for Conception

Healthy Diet and Body Weight for Conception

Maintaining a healthy diet and body weight is crucial when trying to conceive. Your diet plays a significant role in your reproductive health, and certain foods can boost fertility. Maintaining a healthy weight range is essential for optimal fertility.

Impact of diet on reproductive health

What you eat matters. A balanced diet filled with nutritious foods can positively influence your chances of getting pregnant. Consuming a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats provides your body with essential vitamins and minerals needed for reproductive health.

Certain nutrients are particularly beneficial for fertility. For example, leafy greens like spinach and kale are rich in folate and iron, which support ovulation and embryo development. Whole grains such as quinoa and brown rice are high in fiber and help regulate hormones involved in the menstrual cycle.

Furthermore, incorporating lean proteins like chicken breast or tofu into your meals can enhance fertility. Proteins are vital for egg production and quality. Including sources like eggs or beans also provides important nutrients like zinc and selenium that promote healthy pregnancy.

Foods that boost fertility

Including specific foods in your daily diet can further increase your chances of conception. Some examples of fertility-boosting foods include:

  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale
  • Whole grains: Quinoa, brown rice
  • Lean proteins: Chicken breast, tofu
  • Berries: Blueberries, strawberries
  • Nuts: Almonds, walnuts
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas
  • Fatty fish: Salmon

These foods contain various nutrients that support reproductive health. For instance, berries are rich in antioxidants that protect eggs from damage caused by free radicals. Nuts and fatty fish provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for hormone production and may improve fertility.

While it’s important to include these foods in your diet, remember that balance is key. Consult with a registered dietitian who specializes in reproductive health if you need guidance on creating a healthy meal plan tailored to your needs.

Maintaining a healthy weight range for optimal fertility

Maintaining a healthy weight range for optimal fertility

In addition to a healthy diet, maintaining a proper weight range is essential for optimal fertility. Both being underweight and overweight can negatively impact your ability to conceive.

If you’re underweight, your body may not produce enough hormones needed for ovulation. On the other hand, excess body fat can disrupt hormone levels and interfere with regular menstrual cycles. It’s important to find the right balance by aiming for a healthy weight within the recommended range.

To achieve a healthy weight, focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portions. Avoid crash diets or extreme calorie restrictions as they can harm your reproductive health. Instead, opt for moderate exercise along with a balanced diet to help maintain or achieve a healthy weight.

Avoiding excessive caffeine, alcohol, and processed foods

When trying to conceive, it’s crucial to be mindful of certain substances that can hinder fertility. Excessive caffeine intake has been linked to difficulty getting pregnant. While moderate consumption is generally considered safe (up to 200 mg per day), it’s advisable to reduce caffeine intake when attempting conception.

Alcohol consumption should also be limited or avoided altogether during this time. Studies have shown that excessive alcohol intake can impair both male and female fertility. To maximize your chances of conceiving, it’s best to abstain from alcohol while actively trying to get pregnant.

Processed foods high in added sugars and unhealthy fats should be minimized as well. These foods often lack essential nutrients needed for reproductive health and may contribute to hormonal imbalances or inflammation in the body.

Seeking guidance from a registered dietitian if necessary

If you’re unsure about what constitutes a healthy diet or need personalized advice, it’s beneficial to seek guidance from a registered dietitian specializing in reproductive health.

Considering Genetic Factors and Pregnancy History

Considering Genetic Factors and Pregnancy History

Understanding the role of genetics in fertility and pregnancy is crucial. Genetic factors can play a significant role in determining the chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.

Understanding the Role of Genetics in Fertility and Pregnancy

Genetics can influence various aspects of fertility and pregnancy. Your family health history provides valuable insights into potential genetic conditions that may affect your ability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term successfully. By understanding your family’s health history, you can identify any patterns or conditions that could impact your own reproductive journey.

Certain genetic disorders can affect both men and women, leading to infertility or an increased risk of complications during pregnancy. For example, conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or endometriosis may have a hereditary component that can make it more challenging to get pregnant. Being aware of these potential genetic factors allows you to take proactive steps towards optimizing your chances of conception.

Importance of Knowing Family Medical History

Knowing your family’s medical history is like having a roadmap that guides you through potential obstacles on your path to parenthood. By gathering information about any health conditions or genetic disorders present in your immediate and extended family members, you gain valuable knowledge about what you might encounter during your own journey.

Family medical history helps identify inherited diseases or conditions that could be passed down through generations. This information empowers you to make informed decisions when planning for future pregnancies by taking preventive measures or seeking early interventions if necessary.

Screening for Genetic Disorders Before Conception

Before embarking on the journey towards conception, it is advisable for couples to undergo screening for genetic disorders. This process involves conducting tests that assess the presence of specific genetic conditions that could be passed on to your child. Screening tests can help identify potential risks and allow you to make informed decisions about your reproductive options.

Genetic screening typically involves a blood test or, in some cases, a saliva sample. These tests can detect the presence of gene mutations associated with various genetic disorders such as Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis. By undergoing these screenings, you can better understand your unique risk factors and seek appropriate medical guidance.

Discussing Previous Pregnancy Complications with Healthcare Provider

If you have experienced any complications during previous pregnancies, it is essential to discuss them openly with your healthcare provider. Your pregnancy history provides valuable information about any underlying issues that may affect future pregnancies. Sharing this information allows your healthcare provider to develop an individualized care plan tailored to your specific needs.

Previous pregnancy complications such as preterm labor, gestational diabetes, or preeclampsia may indicate potential genetic factors or health conditions that need closer attention in subsequent pregnancies. By addressing these concerns early on, you can work together with your healthcare provider to mitigate risks and increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Seeking Genetic Counseling if Needed

In some cases, seeking genetic counseling before attempting conception may be beneficial. Genetic counselors are professionals trained in evaluating and interpreting genetic risks based on personal and family health histories. They can provide guidance and support by explaining complex genetic concepts in a way that is easy to understand.

Genetic counseling sessions involve a comprehensive review of your medical history alongside discussions about potential risks and available options for managing those risks. This process ensures that you are well-informed about the implications of any genetic factors related to fertility and pregnancy. If necessary, a genetic counselor can also guide you through additional testing or recommend further steps for optimizing your chances of conceiving successfully.

Key Takeaways for Successful Conception

Key Takeaways for Successful Conception

Understanding Age-Related Fertility Declines: As you embark on your journey to conceive, it’s crucial to be aware of the impact age can have on fertility. Women experience a natural decline in fertility as they age, with the most significant decrease occurring after the age of 35. It’s important to consider this factor and seek medical advice if needed.

Monitoring Ovulation for Timing: Timing is everything. Understanding your menstrual cycle and tracking ovulation can greatly increase your chances of success. By identifying your fertile window, you can plan intercourse accordingly and maximize the possibility of conception.

Managing Stress and its Impact on Fertility: Stress can have a detrimental effect on fertility. High levels of stress hormones may disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation. It’s essential to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as practicing relaxation techniques or seeking support from loved ones.

Importance of Prenatal Vitamins and Supplements: Prenatal vitamins and supplements play a vital role in preparing your body for pregnancy. They provide essential nutrients like folic acid, iron, and calcium that support reproductive health. Consult with your healthcare provider to determine which supplements are best suited for you.

Healthy Diet and Body Weight for Conception: Maintaining a healthy diet and optimal body weight is crucial when trying to conceive. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats supports reproductive function. Achieving a healthy weight can improve fertility outcomes.

Considering Genetic Factors and Pregnancy History: Genetic factors can influence fertility outcomes as well as the health of both parents-to-be and their offspring. It is advisable to discuss any known genetic conditions or family history with a healthcare professional who can provide guidance based on individual circumstances.

In conclusion, successfully conceiving requires careful consideration of various factors including age-related fertility declines, monitoring ovulation for timing intercourse effectively, managing stress, taking prenatal vitamins and supplements, maintaining a healthy diet and body weight, and considering genetic factors. By being proactive and informed about these aspects of conception, you increase your chances of achieving your goal.

Take charge of your fertility journey today by implementing these key takeaways. Remember to consult with healthcare professionals for personalized advice based on your unique circumstances. With the right knowledge and support, you can navigate this exciting chapter in your life with confidence.


1. Can I conceive naturally if I’m over 35 years old?

While age-related fertility declines can make conceiving more challenging after the age of 35, it is still possible to conceive naturally. However, it’s essential to be aware that fertility decreases significantly as women get older. Seeking medical advice can help determine the best approach for your specific situation.

2. How do I track my ovulation accurately?

There are various methods to track ovulation accurately, including monitoring basal body temperature, using ovulation predictor kits, or tracking changes in cervical mucus. These methods can provide valuable insights into when you’re most fertile and enhance your chances of conceiving.

3. Does stress really affect fertility?

Yes, high levels of stress hormones can disrupt hormonal balance and interfere with ovulation. It’s important to find effective ways to manage stress and prioritize self-care during the conception process.

4. Do I need prenatal vitamins even before getting pregnant?

Yes, taking prenatal vitamins before pregnancy is beneficial as they provide essential nutrients necessary for reproductive health. Folic acid is particularly crucial in preventing birth defects like neural tube defects.

5. How does body weight impact fertility?

Maintaining a healthy body weight is important for fertility as both overweight and underweight conditions can affect hormone production and disrupt menstrual cycles. Achieving a healthy weight through balanced nutrition and regular exercise can improve fertility outcomes.

6. Should I be concerned about genetic factors when trying to conceive?

Considering genetic factors is important as they can influence fertility outcomes and the health of both parents-to-be and their future child. Discussing any known genetic conditions or family history with a healthcare professional will help determine appropriate steps to take.


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