So you’re ready for a little bundle of joy? There are a few things you need to put in place before you bring your little one into the world.
With some important lifestyle changes, you can prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy.
It’s time to get off birth control
Before you start trying for a baby, you’ll have to stop your birth control a couple of months in advance. This will give you a bit of time to see what your natural menstrual cycle is like, so you can figure out when you’re ovulating (the time of the month when you’re most fertile). Your cycle may be different from what you’re used to after you’re off your contraceptives.
Figure out your fertile days
Your most fertile days are between three to five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. Your best chances are a day or two before ovulation. Have sex at least two to three times every week. As long as your partner has a normal sperm count, having sex every other day or every day will boost your chances of getting pregnant.
How to calculate when you’re ovulating
You need to know how long your average menstrual cycle is. Day one is the first day of the menstrual period and the last day is the day before the next period begins. Ovulation happens about two weeks before the next expected period. So, if your average menstrual cycle is 28 days, you ovulate around day 14.
Take prenatal vitamins
Prenatal vitamins contain more folic acid and iron than normal adult multivitamins. Folic acid helps prevent neural tube defects in a baby, which are serious abnormalities of the brain and spinal cord.
Iron will support your baby’s growth and development. It also helps prevent anaemia. This is a condition where your blood has a low number of healthy red blood cells.
Start including important foods in your diet.
- Spinach is good for healthy egg and sperm production as it contains zinc.
- Bananas are filled with Vitamin B6, which will help regulate hormones.
- Eggs and fortified cereals will help you get your dose of Vitamin D.
- Beans, lentils, and nuts are great plant-based proteins to boost fertility.
Amongst men, having a low sperm count has been linked with zinc deficiency. Making healthy nutritional changes can help to increase your sperm count.
Curb your alcohol intake
The first four to eight-week period of your pregnancy is a critical time as this is when the foetus organs and structures are formed. It’s important to stop drinking as soon as you start trying for a baby as you may be pregnant without knowing it!.
Stub it out
Smoking can make it difficult for you to fall pregnant. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain. Studies also suggest a link between tobacco and miscarriage. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep your developing baby from getting enough oxygen. Tobacco smoke also contains other chemicals that can harm unborn babies.
Cut back on caffeine
Caffeine is a stimulant which can increase your blood pressure and heart rate. It’s also a diuretic (increases production of urine). This is not recommended during pregnancy as it can cause a reduction in your body fluid levels and lead to dehydration.
Get ready to take tests
Commit to taking a pregnancy test when your period is at least a few days late. Don’t put pressure on yourself. And don’t get upset if you don’t succeed the first time. Most couples don’t.
Get medical help if needed
If you don’t conceive within six months, (if you’re over 35), or within a year (if you’re younger than 35), see your doctor. He or she will be able to refer you to specialists to run fertility tests to check if there could be a medical reason as to why you’ve been struggling to conceive.
Some causes of infertility get worse with time. Get help and treatment sooner than later.