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Optimising the health of both female and male partners before and during pregnancy can improve fertility and pregnancy outcomes.1–3 There are many aspects of health that can be addressed, including lifestyle factors (smoking cessation, increasing exercise, reducing alcohol consumption), maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI), and ensuring adequate nutrition, either through diet or supplementation,2,3 of essential micronutrients, including vitamins and minerals.

Learning objectives

After reading this article, pharmacists should be able to:

  • Identify nutrients important to peri-conception for both females and males
  • Administer evidence-based advice on prenatal supplements to patients
  • Discuss the pharmacist’s role in counselling patients on improving the likelihood of conception and pregnancy outcomes.

Competencies (2016) addressed: 1.1, 1.3, 2.1, 2.3, 3.2, 3.5, 3.6.

Case scenario

Sally, 31 years old, regularly visits your pharmacy. Her only medicine is sodium valproate 500 mg twice daily for generalised epilepsy. She has not had a seizure in some time, and she discloses that she and her partner are keen to start a family. She knows that her medicine is ‘bad’ for pregnancy and she asks for your advice.

Test your knowledge on this article’s assessment questions here to earn up to 1.5 Group 2 CPD credits.