Up Your Vitamins And Veggies
The U.S. Department of Agriculture uses “MyPlate” to recommend balanced meals made up of vegetables, fruits, grains, and proteins. So, evaluate how your nutrition aligns with these recommendations and make adjustments to include more food groups you might be lacking. In addition, some healthcare providers recommend taking a prenatal vitamin when you start trying to conceive.
One of the most critical ingredients in your multivitamin supplement is folic acid. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends taking a vitamin that includes 400 mcg daily to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida in babies. However, if you previously had a baby with a neural tube defect, they recommend approximately 10 times that amount, or 4 milligrams, starting three months before pregnancy. So, talk to your healthcare provider to ensure you take the correct amount.
Limit Caffeine And Alcohol
Its also important to monitor your caffeine intake while trying to conceive. Limit to no more than 200 to 300 milligrams per day, according to most experts. While theres no clear link between caffeine consumption and fertility, some research does suggest that it can lead to fertility problems or miscarriage.
Alcohol should be limited during preconception, too. A number of large, multicenter studies indicate that alcohol may have a threshold effect on fertility: light drinking may not have a harmful effect, but heavy drinking does adversely impact fertility and the developing baby.
Healthy tip: If you drink multiple cups of coffee daily or multiple alcoholic beverages each week, consider cutting back now. It will help your body gradually get used to less so that you dont experience withdrawal when you are pregnant. Talk to your doctor if youre concerned about how much coffee and/or alcohol is safe.
Try To Maintain A Healthy Weight
Your BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy. The ideal BMI before conception is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Having a high BMI can reduce your fertility and increases the risk of complications in pregnancy. Being overweight can also contribute to fertility problems in men .
If you have a very high BMI you may feel like it is an impossible task to reach the healthy range and you may have been struggling with your weight your whole life. Try not to lose heart, bringing your BMI a few points down the scale can make a big difference.There is professional support available if you need it.
If your BMI is in the underweight range it may affect your fertility and cause health problems during pregnancy. It may help to put on weight gradually with a healthy diet. There are many reasons why a person may be underweight. You GP can give you help and advice.
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Limit Toxin Exposure At Home And At Work
From cleaning products to cosmetics, you encounter toxins every day many of which can be harmful to reproductive health. While you may not be able to eliminate exposure to certain toxins, there are steps you can take to minimize or avoid exposure. Some tips include:
- Avoid secondhand smoke whenever possible
- Ditch chemical-based household cleaners and make your own using vinegar and water
- Avoid heavy use of in-home air fresheners
- Dont overuse aerosol sprays
- Drink filtered water
- Dont spray for bugs and rodents inside your home: Keep your home clean, use bait traps and hire only a licensed pest control expert
- Always rinse vegetables and fruits with warm water or scrub with a clean brush if needed. Produce labeled pre-washed or ready to eat does not need to be rinsed.
- Use BPA-free products
- Talk to your company about potential toxins you may be exposed to in the workplace
Take A Folic Acid Supplement
It’s recommended that you should take a daily supplement of folic acid when you’re pregnant, or there’s a chance you might get pregnant.
You should take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day before you get pregnant, and every day afterwards, up until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
A microgram is 1,000 times smaller than a milligram . The word microgram is sometimes written with the Greek symbol followed by the letter g .
Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida.
A neural tube defect is when the foetus’s spinal cord does not form normally.
You might be advised to take a higher dose supplement of 5 milligram every day.
You may need to take a 5mg supplement of folic acid if:
- you or the baby’s other biological parent have a neural tube defect
- you previously had a pregnancy affected by a neural tube defect
- you or the baby’s other biological parent have a family history of neural tube defects
- you have diabetes
- you take anti-epilepsy medicine
Talk to a GP if you think you need a 5mg dose of folic acid, as they can prescribe a higher dose.
You can get folic acid tablets at pharmacies, or talk to a GP about getting a prescription.
Do not worry if you get pregnant unexpectedly and were not taking a folic acid supplement at the time. Start taking them as soon as you find out, until you’re past the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
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Ways To Get Your Body Ready For Pregnancy: Two Years 1 Year And 6 Months Out
If youre reading this, youre likely not already pregnant . Maybe your friends are having kids and youre sort of toying with the idea, or you know you want to start a family when the time is right, or maybe having a baby is further in the future for you. Regardless, for women in their late twenties and thirties, its an optimal time to start at least thinking about family planning, even if that means looking into a practice like egg freezing to get pregnant at a later time.
If you are closer to starting your parenthood journey, , a doctor at Parsley Health, recommends setting a wellness plan at least a year ahead of the time you want to start trying. That way, you can start prepping yourself mentally, physically, and nutritionally, which will push your body to peak health for when you want to start trying for a baby. Parsley Health works with women at every stage of the maternal journey, including preparing your body for pregnancy: Heres how to optimize your diet, exercise, and stress management ahead of having a baby, whether youre 6 months away, a year out, or even a couple of years away from getting pregnant.
Cut Back On Strenuous Workouts
Being physically active most days of the week can help a woman’s body prepare for the demands of pregnancy and labor, and has been associated with a reduced risk of fertility problems, scientists reported in the March 2020 issue of the journalHuman Reproduction . But getting too much exercise or doing frequent strenuous workouts could interfere with ovulation,Live Science reported.
Doctors see a lot of menstrual disturbances in women who exercise heavily, and a lot of times these women need to cut back on their workouts if they want to become pregnant, Pavone told Live Science.
Related: Can you run while pregnant?
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Start Taking Your Prenatal Vitamins
When you’re planning for a baby you should consider taking folic acid at least three months before you start trying. Folic acid, or folate, the natural form of folic acid found in food, is one of the B vitamins – vitamin B9. Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a neural tube defect, a condition where the babys brain and spinal cord does not form normally, which is seen in cases of spina bifida.
It is an essential daily prenatal vitamin supplement you should take when trying to conceive. The recommended dose is 400 micrograms every day before you get pregnant and every day afterwards, up until you’re 12 weeks pregnant.
You can pick up folic acid supplements at your local pharmacy or ask your GP for a prescription.
Did you know? The UK government recently announced the mandatory fortification of non-wholemeal wheat flour with folic acid for this very reason.
If you live in the UK, you might be at increased risk of Vitamin D-deficiency due to the low levels of sunlight. A Vitamin D supplement is often recommended as part of your prenatal vitamin to ensure your bones and teeth stay healthy during pregnancy. Always consult your doctor before considering any supplements.
Preparing Your Home For Pregnancy
You heard me. I recommend preparing your home for pregnancy.
And no, I dont mean that you need to babyproof your house as soon as you start trying to conceive. I mean that there are products you might want to consider having on hand to help during the TTC process.
Talk to your doctor about your vitamin regimen to ensure it has all you need, but heres what we recommend keeping stocked:
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Your Diet And Activity Levels
Eating a healthy and balanced diet and getting regular exercise is always important for optimized health. When youre pregnant, its even more important, as your diet and activity levels play an important role in a healthy pregnancy and newborn. Prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy by establishing good habits now.
A balanced diet means youre getting your nutrition and energy from whole food sources in a variety of colors, limiting processed, sugary foods, and making sure you have an adequate balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. If youre having a hard time finding good sources for healthy recipes and meal plans, or if you have specific dietary concerns or restrictions, your OBGYN may recommend you speak with a Registered Dietitian or nutritionist. Read more about food during pregnancy.
Exercise is important as well. Its recommended that you exercise 30 minutes/day, 5 days/week before youre pregnant, during your pregnancy, and after. Dont overdo it, however, as excessive exercise can also be harmful. Discuss your activity levels with your OBGYN to see if you might need to make any adjustments to your activities.
Lay Off Smoking Alcohol And Drugs
All three activities are undoubtedly detrimental to both you and your baby. Smoking can expose you both to a lot of toxins and reduce your blood flow. It also affects fertility and may cause preterm delivery, miscarriage or even stillbirth. Alcohol can have long-term problems and developmental issues in the baby, and can also put your baby at the risk of foetal alcohol syndrome. Using drugs is illegal and can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, etc. Drugs like heroin and cocaine can even lead to drug-dependent babies. It is wise to ask your partner also to quit smoking in case he does, as smoking is also related to low sperm count. Exposure to smoke is also not ideal, especially during pregnancy. It is also best if you limit your intake of caffeine every day as pregnant women are recommended only 300 ml of caffeine each day.
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Pregnancy Checklist First Trimester
- The hospital will give you lot of basic baby care items, like diapers and a nasal aspirator. But they have postpartum care items, too, like perineum cold packs or a Velcro belly band for your abdominal muscles if you had a C-section.
This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more abouthow we write Babylist contentand theBabylist Health Advisory Board.
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I hope to get pregnant soon and this was a great little course to take to start thinking about this. Thank you very much for this.
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Learn About Your Cycle
Your menstrual cycle is more than your period. Understanding what happens throughout the month is key, and these can help. Pay close attention to information about ovulation, which is when you release an egg , to fully understand why timing is so important to conception. Knowing your fertility window will improve your chances of getting pregnant more quickly.
Things To Do When Trying For A Baby
There are things you can do now before you try for a baby that will affect your fertility and the health of your baby.
Your health before pregnancy will affect the lifelong health of your baby. By following the advice below you can:
- improve your fertility
- protect your babys future health
- bring down your risk of problems in pregnancy.
Once you start trying for a baby you won’t know you’re pregnant for the first few weeks.
So, if you’re trying for a baby, making these changes sooner rather than later will give you peace of mind when you get pregnant.
- Become more active if you are not already this has been shown to improve fertility and will make your pregnancy and baby healthier
- Have a cervical screening test if you havent had one in the last three years
- Dont take any new medication or stop taking existing medications without talking to your GP or healthcare professional
- Get tested for STIs if you think theres a possibility you may have one
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Day : Stop Birth Control
If you want to conceive, youll need to discontinue any form of birth control youre using. You can get pregnant right away after stopping some types of contraception like birth control pills. In fact, many women get their first period within two weeks of quitting the pill.
When you period starts, so does your first cycle of trying to conceive. Some women get pregnant right away, but for others, it takes a few months.
Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy
It might sound surprising to you, but preconception health is actually a thing. Its meant to help improve your chances of carrying a healthy pregnancy.
Preparing for pregnancy is a great way to keep yourself active and engaged in the planning process before you become pregnant .
Here are 4 active ways to take charge of pre-pregnancy planning for your physical health:
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Have A Sexual Health Check
Sexually transmitted infections can affect your fertility, as well as any future pregnancy and baby.
If there is any reason to think you or your reproductive partner may have a STI, its important that you both get tested. The best places to go are a GUM clinic, sexual health clinic, your own doctor or a young peoples clinic.
Reach A Healthy Weight
Your weight can impact your ability to conceive, so talk to your doctor or dietitian to learn about proper calorie intake, exercise and other healthy habits as you try to conceive.
If youre underweight
Some people who are underweight, especially those with eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia, may not ovulate or may have irregular periods.
Even those who are underweight without eating disorders can have issues that relate to ovulation, cycle management, implantation of pregnancy and preterm delivery once they do become pregnant, Dr. Mooney says.
If youre overweight
Obesity, too, can affect your menstrual cycle, including the quality of your eggs. And people who are who are overweight are at higher risk for:
- Gestational diabetes.
I encourage patients with obesity to first try to maintain their weight, and then we can get a plan in place to begin to lose weight, Dr. Mooney recommends. Start slow, with just five pounds, then 10 or 12, and well go from there.
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When Should I Start Preparing Pregnancy
If you are considering becoming pregnant, you should begin concentrating on improving your health at least three months before you start attempting to conceive a child. It may take you longer to prepare your body ready to carry a baby if you have preexisting health issues that have the potential to disrupt a pregnancy.
Schedule A Preconception Checkup
Even if youre relatively healthy and feel that youre ready for pregnancy, its still important to have a preconception checkup.
In addition to discussing your personal and family health histories and current health status, well review any medications or supplements youre taking, discuss your lifestyle and habits, and make sure youre caught up on vaccinations.
If you havent had a well-woman exam within the past year, you can also expect to have a pelvic exam and Pap smear, and be tested for STDs if youre at risk.
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Start Tracking Your Ovulation
You might not yet know much about your fertile window the time of the month when you can get pregnant. Enter ovulation tracking, which can be done through various methods.
- Phone apps: Some apps predict when youll ovulate based on data you provide about your menstrual cycle. This is more accurate than guessing, but not as accurate as other methods, Dr. Mooney says.
- Ovulation predictor strips: These over-the-counter strips test your urine to tell you whether youre ovulating. Theyre one of the most reliable at-home ways to identify your fertile window.
- Basal body temperature charting: Using a specialized thermometer each morning, you can monitor your body temperature to identify when youve ovulated. This confirms that ovulation occurred, but only after the fact, Dr. Mooney notes. Its not necessarily best when trying to achieve pregnancy, but it can help you better understand your cycle.