Trying to get pregnant is an exciting time. You’ve decided to have a baby, and you’re looking forward to starting a family — or growing your existing one.
But it can be hard to know if what you’re doing is right, or if there are certain changes you should be making to your lifestyle if you do decide to have a baby. Trying to conceive can feel overwhelming, but there are plenty of things you can control.
In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at how to prepare for pregnancy. Read on for top tips for caring for your body and mind when you’re trying to conceive.
Nourish your body: stock up on the good stuff
Nourishing your body will get it into great condition for pregnancy. Stock up on plenty of fruit and vegetables, and make sure that your diet is balanced and varied.
You need to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need — to help your reproductive system function, keep your body healthy and strong enough to carry a child, and to pass along all of this goodness to your baby!
As well as including your recommended daily intake of fruit and veg, you need to include lean protein, calcium-rich dairy and whole grains.
You can supplement your healthy diet with prenatal vitamins to keep your essential vitamin and mineral levels topped up — talk to your doctor and see what they would recommend for you. They will probably mention folic acid, which can help prevent birth defects to do with your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
Ditch those bad habits
If you’re trying to conceive or plan on starting soon, then now is a good time to ditch those bad habits once and for all. Yes, that’s right, we’re talking about alcohol, caffeine, and smoking — all the fun stuff.
In particular, smoking can also affect your fertility and means you may struggle to conceive.
We don’t need to tell you that smoking is also seriously damaging to your unborn baby’s health — limiting the oxygen that gets to them through you, and stunting normal healthy growth. If you’re serious about starting a family, then you need to quit smoking for the sake of your child’s health — at least for the nine months that you’re carrying them.
The same goes for caffeine and alcohol — although you don’t have to go completely cold-turkey in this case. Just capping your intakes will increase your fertility levels and protect your baby; talk to your doctor about what the healthy limits are according to medical experts.
Give yourself a big window of ‘trying’ time
Pressuring yourself to conceive within a short timeframe like three months is stressful and intense — and not fair to you or your partner.
Everybody is different; some people may conceive on the first go — and some may take many months or even years to get pregnant.
Protect your mental health and prepare your mind by setting a realistic timeframe in which you can try to conceive. It’s normally recommended that you give yourself around six months to a year — which is how long the average couple takes.
If you’re an older couple, it may take longer to conceive. Women generally find it harder to conceive the older they get. You or your partner might even have to contend with erectile dysfunction. If you have tried Viagra without success, it might be worth considering how Tadalafil works. Faster acting and longer-lasting, this alternative ED medication offers several advantages for helping couples to get pregnant.
If you haven’t had any luck at this point, then it’s best to see a doctor or fertility specialist just to make sure everything is working as it should — they will be able to test both you and your partner, and then you can go from there.
Sort out any health issues & medical checks
If you’re planning to on getting pregnant and want to be as safe and healthy as possible, then it’s a really good idea to visit your doctor for a full health check-up and, discuss any concerns you have, as well as any medication logistics.
For example, if you’ve been on the contraceptive pill, then the hormones in this may affect your cycle and your ability to get pregnant. There may be other medication you take that also impacts your fertility — your doctor will be able to advise you further. The same goes for your partner too.
It’s also a good shout to visit your dentist; during pregnancy, your gums might bleed or become inflamed (known as gingivitis). If you are prone to gum disease or dental problems especially, then get checked out and make sure you’re in good dental health. Gum disease is also associated with preterm delivery, so all the more reason so get your gums sorted.
Make sure you de-stress and decompress
Stress releases a hormone called cortisol in your body, which helps to fuel your fight-or-flight instincts in a crisis (which probably made sense when you think back to our caveman origins, but when most of our stress comes from work, finances or social media, it’s not so helpful).
Unfortunately, high doses of cortisol can actually be detrimental to our ability to conceive — suppressing ovulation and decreasing sperm counts (not to mention hitting your sex drive!). Plus, lots of cortisol during your pregnancy can result in an increased risk of early miscarriage, preeclampsia and developmental issues.
We’re not expecting miracles; everyone knows that modern life is full of pressure, work stress, social obligations, and a million other things that can cause you to feel stressed.
But there are steps you can take to reduce your stress levels, such as practising mindfulness, yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and even just getting plenty of sleep.
Everyone is different. For one person, it might be jogging that distresses you; for others, it could be a soothing bubble bath or even a social experience like going to the theatre. Find the calming methods that work for you, and you’ll soon feel less stressed and more relaxed once you’ve got into a rhythm of using them.
Know your cycle
Having plenty of sex will, of course, increase your chances of getting pregnant, but you also need to think about your cycle too — there’s no point in going at it like rabbits if you’re at a point in your menstrual cycle where you have a 5% chance of conceiving.
The best time to conceive during your cycle is within a day or so of ovulation. This is usually around 14 days after the first day of your last period (if your cycle is around 28 days long, but of course everyone’s cycle varies). An egg lives for roughly 12-24 hours after being released, so this is your prime time to strike, so to speak.
If you’re unsure about how long your cycle is, where you are in it, or if you have a particularly irregular cycle, then there are plenty of fertility apps that can help you to figure it out. You can add in your own dates, such as when you start your period, and they will give you the dates when it is best to try and conceive.
There are plenty of ways to prepare your body and mind when trying to get pregnant. Follow these top tips to be as healthy and happy as possible when you’re gearing up to starting your family.
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