Having Healthy Habits Before Conception
Once you’ve got those regular workouts in place, take a look at your coffee consumption. Low to moderate caffeine intake while TTC may actually help you get and stay pregnant. Some studies have linked too much caffeine consumption with lower fertility levels and an increased risk of miscarriage. So try to stay under 200 milligrams per day about two small cups of brewed coffee.
Also, consider trading your usual drink order for a mocktail now. Heavy drinking can mess with your menstrual cycle, possibly interfering with ovulation and making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.
And because you won’t necessarily know the moment you conceive, there’s a chance you might be drinking when your baby has already taken up residence, which could be dangerous for your little one . That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends abstaining from alcohol when you’re trying to conceive .Trusted SourceCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAlcohol and Pregnancy Questions and AnswersSee All Sources
Consider Stopping Birth Control
If youre taking an oral contraceptive, you may want to consider stopping now. Most women start their periods again a few weeks after they stop using the pill however, others find it can take a couple of months before they return to their regular ovulation cycles. Just remember that if youve stopped taking the pill and are not yet ready to conceive, using a backup form of barrier birth control, like condoms, is the way to go.
Take Vitamins And Folic Acid
Take a vitamin and mineral supplement that includes at least 0.4 milligrams of folic acid.
- Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects, especially problems with the baby’s spine.
- Start taking a vitamin with folic acid before you want to get pregnant.
- Avoid high doses of any vitamin, especially vitamins A, D, E, and K. These vitamins can cause birth defects if you take more than the normal recommended daily amounts. Regular pregnancy prenatal vitamins do not have excessively high doses of any vitamin.
Give Up Bad Habits And Get Help If You Need It
Preparing for pregnancy means getting as healthy as possible. And that includes giving up bad habits. If you smoke or take drugs, now’s the time to stop. Smoking or taking drugs can lead to miscarriage, premature birth, low-birth-weight babies, and other complications. Smoking can also increase your baby’s risk of SIDS. Keep in mind that some drugs can stay in your system even after their noticeable effects have worn off.
What’s more, research suggests that tobacco use can affect your fertility and lower your partner’s sperm count. In fact, studies have shown that even secondhand smoke may reduce your ability to get pregnant.
You’ll want to avoid alcohol, too. While moderate drinking may be okay before you become pregnant, it’s possible that you’ll become pregnant before you know it and wind up drinking with a developing fetus in tow. Once you’re pregnant, experts recommend that you stop drinking completely. Alcohol crosses the placenta, and can possibly affect development and cause lifelong cognitive and behavioral problems.
Stopping unhealthy habits can be very difficult. Don’t hesitate to talk with your healthcare provider. They can talk with you about tools to help you quit smoking or refer you to a program to help you stop taking drugs, for example. Your local health department may also be able to help by putting you in touch with counselors, group programs, and other assistance.
Join our community of moms who are working to quit smoking
Start Taking A Prenatal Vitamin And Folic Acid
Taking a daily prenatal multivitamin three months ahead of conception is a good rule of thumb. Vitamins that prepare you for pregnancy can help ensure that your body has essential nutrients that both you and your baby need from the very start. Look for prenatal supplements that have iron, vitamin C, calcium, and other key nutrients such as:
Folic acid to help support early fetal development of the brain and spinal cord.* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all women in their reproductive years take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily, in addition to consuming food with folate from a varied diet.1 According to the American Pregnancy Association, taking enough folic acid every day for one month before conception and during the first three months of pregnancy is the best way to prevent neural defects.2
Omega-3 DHA, an important fatty acid that helps support your babys brain development* in utero and during breastfeeding.
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Stopping Smoking Drinking And Drug Taking
Because you might not realise youre pregnant straightaway, quitting now will protect your baby in those first few critical days and weeks growing in your womb. Chat to your GP if youd like some support to quit.
Too much caffeine isnt great for a growing bump either so try to cut down your caffeine intake now aim for a maximum of 200mg a day. Thats about 2 mugs of instant coffee.
Stop Drinking Alcohol Smoking And Using Certain Drugs
Smoking, drinking alcohol, and using certain drugs can cause many problems during pregnancy for a woman and her baby, such as premature birth, birth defects, and infant death.
If you are trying to get pregnant and cannot stop drinking, smoking, or using drugsget help! Contact your doctor or local treatment center.
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How Much Physical Activity Do You Need Each Day
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity activity, like fast walking, and strength-training 2 days a week. These recommendations change depending on the intensity of your workouts. And you dont have to do all 2½ hours at once. Do a little bit each day to break it up throughout the week.
If youre already physically active, keep it up! If youre starting or re-starting exercise, take it slowly. Talk to your provider before you start any physical activity if:
- You have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease.
- Youve had a stroke or are at risk for having a stroke.
- You have diabetes or are at risk for having diabetes.
- Youre obese. If you’re obese, you have an excess amount of body fat and your body mass index is 30 or higher. BMI is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight.
- It can help you find out if you need to gain or lose weight..
- Youve had surgery or you have an injury or disability.
- Youve had eye surgery or laser treatment on your eyes, or you have a bleeding or detached retina. The retina is the nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye.
Physical activity can help reduce your risk of having certain health conditions that can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart conditions. It also can help you manage stress, sleep better and quit smoking.
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What about vaping? Although vaping is a relatively new, studies have shown the flavours used appear to harm sperm, with bubblegum and cinnamon flavours having the most impact.
You should also try to minimise alcohol and caffeine intake as these will impact your fertility. As Dr Tim Child explains: Research hasnt yet found a strong link between moderate alcohol intake and infertility, although heavier drinking is associated with a decrease in fertility, particularly in men. So, at a time when everyone seems to be telling you to stop everything, if a glass of wine helps you to relax and importantly spend quality time with your partner then go aheadbut keep it in moderation.
It should go without saying that recreational drugs should be completely avoided. For some people, trying to conceive can be stressful but this wont help you to get pregnant, so try to keep relaxed when you can. Maybe look at your job and how much stress this causes, start to do a little meditation or yoga which can help you focus on your breathing and being in the here and now, and generally look after your mental health.
What other vitamins and supplements are important?The Department of Health does suggest taking a vitamin D supplement when you are pregnant. If you are eating a well-balanced diet then there shouldnt be a need to take any extra supplements.
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Assess Your Caffeine Intake
While experts dont agree on exactly how much caffeine is safe during pregnancy, they do agree that you should avoid consuming large amounts of caffeine both when youre trying to conceive and throughout your pregnancy. Try to limit yourself to no more than two cups of coffee per day. Women who consume more may have a harder time becoming pregnant and an increased risk of miscarriage.
Preparing For Pregnancy: A 3
Pregnancy doesnt only start at conception. If youre planning to have a baby, start preparing early to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Thinking about trying for a baby soon? The good news is there, there are some things you can do beforehand to increase your chances of a healthy pregnancy and baby. If you are already in the midst of baby-making, its not too late to make these lifestyle changes.
Read on to find out how to prepare your body for pregnancy.
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Talk With Your Doctor
Reviewing Your Medications Before Conception
Now is a good time to take a close look at your medicine cabinet. Some prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and even herbal remedies and supplements have an effect not only on pregnancy and a developing fetus but also on fertility and preconception.
Some drugs or supplements carry warnings about their use for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive, so read labels carefully. Better yet? If you’re taking medication while trying to conceive, don’t make assumptions. Ask your practitioner during a preconception checkup for guidance about what’s safe and what’s not.
If you depend on prescription drugs to treat a chronic condition , discuss any concerns with your physician and gynecologist. Together, you can come up with a plan that’ll keep you healthy, fertile and ready to welcome a pregnancy. There may be some medicines you need to continue, so don’t stop taking any meds thinking that will be best for a baby your future child needs you to be healthy in order to thrive.
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Tip : Seek Out Preconception Care
Before you start trying to conceive, make sure your body is in good health and you are physically, emotionally, and mentally ready for pregnancy. Having a preconception checkup can help you highlight health areas you can improve to help assure your conception process leads to the best chance of a healthy baby.
At this visit, well ask many questions about your personal and family health histories and make a comprehensive assessment of your current health status. We can go over any chronic health conditions you may have and discuss how to manage them and any medications you are on during your pregnancy. We will also discuss any factors that could lead to a high-risk pregnancy.
Preparing For Pregnancy: Getting Your Body And Life Ready For A Baby
Youve decided youd like to have a baby. Congratulations! This is an exciting time that may also raise a number of questions for you, especially if you havent been pregnant before. Deciding when youre ready for a baby is a very personal choice. The timing is different for everyone, whether its your first pregnancy or your fourth.
You may be wondering how far in advance you need to plan to have a baby and when you should stop using contraceptives . Maybe youre concerned that your medication could be harmful once you get pregnant. Some women are also curious about pregnancy weight gain and how to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
These questions and more are why a preconception visit is a great first step!
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Aim For A Healthy Weight
Attaining and maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to prepare for pregnancy. Being overweight or underweight can make it harder for some women to become pregnant. It can also affect your pregnancy.
Being overweight during pregnancy is associated with high blood pressure and preeclampsia, preterm birth, and gestational diabetes. And obesity increases your risk of macrosomia, birth injury, cesarean birth, and birth defects .
Women who start pregnancy with a low BMI and fail to gain enough weight are at increased risk of having a baby with low birth weight and having a preterm birth.
The best time to get to a healthy weight is in preparation for pregnancy rather than during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to achieve your weight goals.
Reaching And Maintaining A Healthy Weight
Being a healthy weight improves your chances of conceiving. Choosing to lose weight will help reduce the risk of health problems for both you and your baby during pregnancy and beyond.
If youre underweight, you might experience irregular periods. This can make it a bit trickier to conceive. Talk to your GP about healthy ways to gain weight.
Nows a great time to start a healthy diet and regular exercising. If you choose pregnancy-friendly exercises, you wont have to change your routine once you are pregnant.
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Don’t Forget Your Mental Health
Your mental health is an important part of your overall health. Here are some things to think about when preparing for pregnancy:
Stress. While we don’t know the exact connections between stress and fertility, we do know that high stress levels can affect your hormone function, which can in turn affect your menstrual cycles. We also know that stress isn’t healthy, and your goal right now is to become as healthy as possible.
So do what you can to reduce stress in your life. Eliminate unnecessary stressors as much as you can, and explore methods for reducing stress, such as yoga, meditation, massage, and deep-breathing exercises. Take time to de-stress with long walks, time with good friends, quiet time, and exercise.
Getting enough sleep can help you better cope with stress throughout the day and contribute to your overall health, too. If you need help dealing with stress, your healthcare provider can refer you to a therapist.
Depression. Women who suffer from depression are more likely to have problems with fertility than women who don’t, says Alice Domar, PhD., Chief Compassion Officer at Inception Fertility.
Domestic violence. Physical harm or emotional abuse by a partner is unlikely to get better during pregnancy or after your baby is born. If you’re the victim of domestic violence, reach out for help through your healthcare provider or by getting in touch with the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 799-7233.
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.
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