You have decided that you want to conceive and intend to plan your actions accordingly. Getting pregnant involves mental, emotional, and physical preparation to ensure the health and safety of the baby. And this pregnancy involves your partner too, as both of you have to be well and ready.
The physical aspect of preparing yourself for conception is a challenge within a challenge. Depending on your current condition, you may have to adapt or modify your behavior to make room for healthy choices.
So what do you expect when you want to expect?
Consult Your Doctor before and during Pregnancy
Mayo Clinic recommends women, along with their partners, trying to conceive to go on a preconception appointment that covers a tall order of critical issues relating to fertility and more:
- Birth control
- Vaccines, especially if you are up-to-date
- Medications or supplements
- Chronic conditions
- Health history (yours and your family’s)
- Previous pregnancies
- Weight ideal for conception
This visit to the doctor sets you up for realistic and deliberate planning for your pregnancy. As you conceive successfully, you have to undergo ultrasound scans to monitor the growth of your baby. The ultrasound transducer typically glides over the abdomen to perform the scan. You can look into what ultrasound transducers that hospitals and clinics use here.
Go Easy on Coffee
A study reveals that there’s little association between coffee intake and fertility or achieving pregnancy. However, the study finds that consuming 300 milligrams of caffeine every day during early pregnancy is tied to a greater risk of spontaneous abortion (SAB). To be on the safe side, limit your coffee intake to less than 200 milligrams a day or a 12-ounce cup, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
What about herbal tea?
It may be generally safe for you to drink tea products while waiting to conceive. Still, consult with your medical practitioner regarding the consumption of such products and their effect on your fertility, if any.
A study notes that consuming more than four cups of green tea a day leads to low serum folate levels during the early stage of pregnancy. Folic acid reduces the risk of birth defects such as neural tube defects (NTD), and tea consumption may increase such risk.
Eat Healthy and Right
You may have to lose or gain weight to get pregnant. What’s important is to achieve this ideal weight prior to pregnancy.
Thus, eat a balanced meal by doing these:
- Cut back on junk food, empty calories, and high-sugar foods.
- Include fruits, vegetables, and grains in your meal plan.
- Take vitamins and mineral supplements, including folic acid.
Ask your doctor about specific restrictions or inclusions to your diet.
Exercise plays a role in improving fertility and helps you manage or control your weight for pregnancy. According to the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA), obese women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) but exercise regularly can increase their frequency of ovulation. That then leads to regular menstrual cycles and higher chances of conceiving.
Per FSA, do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity that includes brisk walking and dancing every day.
Can you travel during the preconception stage?
Traveling itself can influence the levels of melatonin and cortisol. That, in turn, affects your monthly cycle. The fluctuations in the levels of those hormones can disrupt the window of fertility. You may have to scale back on traveling that can unduly stress you and mess up with your cycle. Instead, bank on sleep and rest.
Abstain from or Quit Drinking, Smoking, and Using Drugs
Medical experts always warn both men and women about consuming cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs and its effects on the unborn baby.
- Alcohol: the substance can interfere with ovulation and may make it difficult for women to get pregnant. Alcohol can also decrease men’s sperm count.
- Smoking: it can damage the eggs and cause miscarriages. Aside from lowering the sperm count on men, cigarettes have been linked to sluggish sperm motility.
- Drugs: they can cause hormonal imbalance that leads to fertility issues. If your partner chronically smokes marijuana, then the sperm count and development of the sperm also take a hit.
Thus, you need to abstain or refrain from taking any such substances leading to and during pregnancy. You must also avoid environmental toxins, such as those from pollutants that can interfere with the baby’s development.
You can refer to this ultimate guide to flush drug toxins out of your body and pass a drug test if you or your partner needs to take one for the workplace. The key takeaway is that you have options to ensure you are clean months or so before you plan to get pregnant.
Follow these tips to physically prepare for conception, and coordinate your efforts with your doctor every step of the way.