Tips To Prepare Your Body For Pregnancy According To A Pregnancy Coach
If you want to become pregnant, or have been trying for some time, there are a number of ways to set yourself up for success. As a pregnancy coach and doula, here are some tips I generally recommend to clients to help prepare the body, mind, and soul for the journey of bringing life into the world.
Pregnancy And Your Medical History
Certain conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid disease and blood clotting disorders may have an impact on your health during pregnancy, so they should be addressed now. Be sure to tell your practitioner about any allergies and drugs that you may be taking including any vitamins, herbs or supplements.
If you are not already taking a folic acid supplement, your practitioner will likely advise you to start taking at least 400 micrograms each day. If you have had previous pregnancies that resulted in a baby born with spina bifida, a higher dose will be recommended.
Look Into Your Benefits
If you work, consider what you want to do once you’ve had your baby. Some companies provide paid time-off after you give birth. Others offer unpaid time-off. You may also be able to use sick days or vacation time before you go back.
Check your health plan, too, to see which doctors and hospitals it covers.
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Day 1: Gather Family Medical History
Your babys health will also be influenced by genetic factors that have roots in your family tree. Before you get pregnant, you may want to ask your parents or other relatives if there are any genetic conditions that run in your bloodline. The same goes for your partner.
Uncover something? You can make an appointment with a genetic counselor to discuss your concerns and get further testing.
Tip : Dont Stress Out
Make sure you get enough quality sleep and do your best to reduce stress in your life. Many women who struggle with anxiety over fertility end up getting pregnant once they relax and stop worrying so hard. If you have trouble conceiving, our team is here to help, and we can refer you to a fertility specialist if needed.
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The Woman’s Monthly Cycle
Ovulation occurs each month when an egg is released from one of the ovaries.
Occasionally, more than one egg is released, usually within 24 hours of the first egg. At the same time, the lining of the womb begins to thicken and the mucus in the cervix becomes thinner so that sperm can swim through it more easily.
The egg begins to travel slowly down the fallopian tube. If a man and a woman have recently had sex, the egg may be fertilised here by the man’s sperm.
The lining of the womb is now thick enough for the egg to be implanted in it after it has been fertilised.
If the egg is not fertilised, it passes out of the body during the woman’s monthly period, along with the lining of the womb, which is also shed. The egg is so small that it cannot be seen.
What If You Have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome , a hormonal disorder, is one of the most common reasons for female infertility. It affects between 6% and 12% of American women of reproductive age.
There is no single test to identify PCOS, but a doctor will determine if a woman fulfills two of the following three criteria,the CDC said:
- Irregular periods or no periods, caused from lack of ovulation
- Higher than normal levels of male hormones that may result in excess hair on the face and body, acne or thinning scalp hair
- Multiple small cysts on the ovaries
It is not clear why some women develop this syndrome, although it is often diagnosed when they struggle to get pregnant.
There is a strong link between PCOS-related infertility and weight. About 40% to 60% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese, and healthy eating and exercise have been shown to improve reproductive problems in women with PCOS, according to a 2019 article in the journal Therapeutic Advcances in Reproductive Health. A number of prescribed medications may also induce ovulation and regulate insulin levels, such asletrozole and metformin. High levels of insulin push thepituitary gland to release large amounts of hormones thatdisrupt ovulation.
Doctors recommend in-vitro fertilization if other interventions have not worked, or as a primary treatment if monitoring, cost and accessibility are not issues.
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What Is A Healthy Diet For Pregnancy
A healthy diet for pregnancy is the same as a healthy diet for life.
- Base meals on starchy food , choosing wholegrain options where possible
- Eat foods with lots of fibre, such as fruit, vegetables, oats, beans, peas, lentils.
- Eat at least 5 portions of different fruits and vegetables each day
- Dont over-eat. For the first two trimesters of pregnancy there is no need to eat more than the normal 2,000 calories recommended for women. You can use the NHS Choices calorie checker to count your daily calories.
- Try not to skip breakfast, choosing sugar-free cereals if you have cereal.
- Be mindful of portion sizes of meals and snacks and how often you eat.
- Avoid saturated bad fats, such as fried foods, pastry, biscuits, pies and cakes.
- Eat more unsaturated good fats, such as avocados, nuts, oily fish and seeds.
- Avoid sugary food and drink, such as sweets, biscuits, cakes and fizzy drinks.
Try to avoid too much ready-prepared food too. The chemical preservatives, colourings, and flavourings added to these can affect the nutrients in the food.
A dietitian can help if you have a condition that requires specific diets or nutritional requirements, such as diabetes. Ask your GP if you are unsure.
Switch To Medications That Will Be Safer For Pregnant Women
In general, with medications, most have not been tested on pregnant women. It often comes down to a risk-benefit discussion with your doctor, Dr. Zapp says. Of course, you have to be reasonableif you have depression or another similar mental health condition that requires medication, it wont benefit you or your baby to get off your normal meds, she adds.
If you take medication for high blood pressure, especially an ACE inhibitor drug, you should work with your doctor and switch to something safer for pregnant women, like a calcium channel blocker drug, Dr. Zapp explains. Another similar situation is blood sugar management pillsthere are certain medications that are safer than others. And if youre on oral or topical retinols for acne, itd be best to find a safer solution before trying to get pregnant, Dr. Zapp advises, since medications such as Acutane can cause birth defects.
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What Else Should We Be Thinking About
Kate Pleace says it’s essential to start saving if you’re considering welcoming a child. “There is lots to pay for during pregnancy and beyond, from bigger clothes to buggies, so having a pot of savings may come in handy,” she said. Kate adds that parenting talk is also essential as it is important to talk to your partner about a variety of parenting issues from the practicalities of sharing childcare to religious views.
Am I pregnant?There are many signs that you could be pregnant, from sensitive breasts to feeling sick, needing to have a wee more often or being more tired than usual. However, only a pregnancy test will confirm if you are pregnant, followed up by an early pregnancy scan, typically around 7 weeks.
My pregnancy test shows positive. What next?First of all, congratulations. Dr Geetha Venkat then suggests you book an appointment with your GP. They will confirm the pregnancy then arrange for you to see a midwife, scans are booked and a care plan is put in place. “Do make sure you continue to keep relaxed and look after yourself and your baby,” she adds.
I Get Stressed My Work And Home Life Get Me Worked Up What Do I Do
Answer: Lifes most complex problems have a common simple answer- Breathe. Take a pause, from your thoughts, from your activity, and your anger/distress and use that pause to take a few deep breaths It may not work immediately but if you make this a habit, you will surely see a change, also try the 4-7-8 breathing by Andrew Weil Multiple videos demonstrating this are available online.
Another solution is using lavender essential oil -it is a natural calming agent and a few dabs of lavender essential oil will have instant calming effects. One could also try sipping on calming tea blends like chamomile lavender or spearmint.
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Stop Smoking Alcohol And Drugs Limit Caffeine
If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, you should stop before you get pregnant. They can:
- Make it harder for you to get pregnant
- Increase the chance of miscarriage
If you need help quitting smoking, alcohol, or drugs, talk to your doctor or midwife.
Alcohol can harm a growing fetus , even in small amounts. Drinking alcohol while you are pregnant can cause long-term problems for your baby, such as intellectual disability, behavioral issues, learning disabilities, and facial and heart defects.
Smoking is bad for unborn babies and puts your child at greater risk of health problems later in life.
- Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with a lower birth weight.
- Smoking also makes it harder for you to recover from your pregnancy.
Drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor can be dangerous for you to take at any point in your life.
You should also cut down on caffeine when you are trying to get pregnant. Women who daily consume more than 2 cups of coffee or 5 cans of soda that contains caffeine may have a harder time getting pregnant and a greater chance of miscarriage.
Limit unnecessary medicines or supplements. Discuss with your provider about both prescribed and over-the-counter medicines and supplements you take before you try to conceive. Most medicines have some risks, but many have unknown risks and have not been thoroughly studied for safety. If medicines or supplements are not absolutely necessary, do not take them.
Watching What You Eat
If you and your partner are preparing for pregnancy, you should look at your diet and see where you may be able to make healthier food choices. Eating a well-balanced diet including plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables will help with your chances of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy.
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Cigarettes And Recreational Drugs
Smoking cigarettes can negatively impact fertility for men and women. In women, smoking has an impact on how receptive a woman’s uterus is to the egg, and in men, smoking cigarettes may reduce sperm count. The same holds true for many recreational drugs, so it is best to avoid them when you are trying to get pregnant.
Prepare Your Immune System
Along with solidifying nutrient levels,youll want your immune system to be strong and equipped to fight any diseases that can cause issues throughout pregnancy . Make sure that youve been adequately vaccinated for any of these diseases, Dr. Zapp says. Also, its a good idea to check in with your OB/GYN about getting a sexually transmitted infection screening before thinking about becoming pregnant.
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Talk To Your Health Care Provider About Physical Activity
Most women can continue regular levels of physical activity throughout pregnancy. Regular physical activity can help you feel better, sleep better, and prepare your body for birth. After your child is born, it can help get you back to your pre-pregnancy shape more quickly.21 Talk to your health care provider about the amount and type of physical activity that is right for you.
Stack Up On Multivitamins
Most doctors advise women to take multivitamins to make up for the lack of certain vitamins in their body. These prenatal vitamins can help bridge any nutritional deficiency that you may have right before getting pregnant. You will need to boost your intake of iron and calcium-rich foods items as well.
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Other Questions About Getting Pregnant
Can you get pregnant while breastfeeding?
Yes, a woman can get pregnant while breastfeeding. It is possible to become pregnant as soon as three weeks after giving birth, even if the person is exclusively breastfeeding and has yet to begin menstruating again according to the U.K.’s National Health Service .
Can you get pregnant on your period?
Yes, it is possible to get pregnant if a woman has sex during their period, according to theCleveland Clinic. A woman is less likely to get pregnant during menstruation, but it is still possible. Women are most fertile around the time they ovulate, but predicting this window is not an exact science and this is particularly true for women who have irregular periods.
How to get pregnant fast
Many people want to know how to get pregnant as quickly as possible. There is no sure-fire way of ensuring a speedy conception, however by following the science and evidence the above tips can help you find the most optimal times to have sex and get pregnant.
Are pregnancy tests accurate?
When used properly, pregnancy tests are claimed to be up to 99% effective, according to the Mayo Clinic. If your test reads positive, this is rarely an error, however false negatives are more common, according to the NHS.
A pregnancy test works by detecting the human chorionic gonadotropin hormone . Around six days after successful fertilisation, the body produces this hormone.
How To Save On Organic Produce
It can be expensive to consume a diet filled with organic produce and meat from organically-raised livestock. There are ways to save on organic produce, and on your overall shopping bill.
Shop at local farms and farmers’ markets – Any organic foods you may find in the grocery store have been certified by the USDA. You will also notice that they come with a higher price tag than conventionally-grown produce. There are two reasons for this. First, organic farming practices simply cost more than conventional farming practices. Second, the process of being certified by the USDA can also be expensive. It can be so cost prohibitive that some smaller farmers simply skip the process. You may find that produce at the local farm or farmers’ market is grown organically even though it is not labeled as such. Ask questions.
Buy selectively – If you cannot afford to buy everything organic, take a look at the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list. This list ranks the top 48 foods that are most heavily sprayed with pesticides. If possible, buy as many of these foods in organic versions as your budget will allow. Currently, the Dirty Dozen includes, in order of most to least toxic, apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, peaches, spinach, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, snap peas and potatoes.
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Soy Products And Fertility
There is a lot of misinformation being circulated about the relationship between soy, fertility and hormones, so it is high time we set the record straight. After all, it is important to know if you should avoid this so-called wonder bean while trying to conceive. And it is not as easy as you may think to avoid soy – even for non-vegetarians. Soy is an ingredient in many of the foods we eat.
Ways To Prepare Before Starting A Family
Pregnancy is an exciting time in life, but it also is a time of big lifestyle changes. If you are thinking about starting a family, its a good idea to consider the impact children will have on your life. Knowing what to prepare for, such as changes you need to make to your diet and how to deal with pregnancy while working, will help you better plan to have a baby.
Review these five ways to prepare for pregnancy:
The foods you eat and beverages you drink will provide nutritional support to your baby. It is important to think about what you consume while pregnant by following these tips:
- Begin taking prenatal vitamins even if you are not yet pregnant. Look for vitamins that are high in iron, vitamin D and contain 400 micrograms of folic acid. The neural tube develops into the brain and spinal cord of pregnancy sometimes before you even know you are pregnant. Taking vitamins containing folic acid can help prevent neural tube defects.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins and dairy in appropriate amounts. Limit sugar and fat intake.
- Limit alcohol when you are trying to become pregnant. Once you find out you are pregnant or suspect you are pregnant, stop drinking alcohol.
- Limit caffeine to less than 200 milligrams per day, the equivalent of about one or two 6- to 8- ounce cups.
2. Lifestyle changes
If you are trying to become pregnant, you likely will need to make lifestyle changes, such as:
If you are already pregnant:
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To Begin See Your Healthcare Provider
One of the first things you should do is schedule a preconception counseling appointment with your current healthcare provider to discuss your pregnancy plans. This can help you identify your health strengths, as well as any family history or health problems that might affect pregnancy, such as diabetes, asthma, or high blood pressure. Your healthcare provider will be interested to learn about your work or hobbies to help you identify whether you are at risk for developing certain viruses or infections.
Try to work with your provider to get any chronic health conditions under as much control as possible before you become pregnant.
You should consider your overall health and wellbeing, including diet, exercise, relationships, to name a few.
Work to maintain or achieve a normal weightfor your height.
Nutrition is very important while you are trying to become pregnant. A balanced, healthy diet should include sources of protein , whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and sources of calcium .
In general, fresh whole foods are preferable to highly processed foods, and you might want to consider organic foods when available, especially when choosing fresh fruits and vegetables. Commercially grown grapes, strawberries, cherries, peaches, apples, apricots, spinach, bell peppers, celery, green beans, cucumbers, and cantaloupe are among the foods most highly sprayed with pesticides and herbicides, so choosing organically grown alternatives is especially beneficial for these products.