The moment you and your partner decided to try for a baby was no doubt an exciting one; the decision, once made, is one that could change your lives forever. You’ve perhaps overcome a lot of apprehension to get to this point. Can you afford a baby? Are you ready for the commitment of bringing a new life into the world? Can you say, with your hands on your hearts that you’re ready to grow up? These kinds of concerns are quite natural when it comes to having a baby. After all, you need to be certain that you’re ready to expand your family before that baby arrives.
It’s also perfectly normal for women to worry about the emotional and physical changes that will take place before, during, and after pregnancy. However, it’s essential that you start thinking about such things now; mental preparation is integral for conception, a healthy pregnancy, and stress-free labor, as long as you’re able to keep an open mind about what to expect at every turn. Physical preparation is also vital for the journey ahead, ensuring that your body is ready and able to keep up with the demands that accompany growing a new human being. Although the task sounds daunting, preparing your body for pregnancy could be easier that you first thought.
Prenatal vitamins and a healthy diet
If you’ve made the exciting decision to start trying for a baby then it’s essential to focus on your diet, and the nutrients that you ingest on a daily basis. A healthy diet should consist of plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins like chicken and fish, whole grains and cereals, and healthy fats, as well as calcium-rich foods such as cheese and milk. You should also start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you’re able; experts recommend beginning to take supplements up to three months prior to conception, if possible. These contain a comprehensive dose of nutrients, such as calcium, folic acid, iron, and potassium that your baby will need to grow healthily.
A little gentle exercise
A little gentle exercise is good for mom and baby, and can even help women to conceive; one study suggested that light to moderate exercise could increase a woman’s chances of conceiving markedly, although intense training can reduce those odds by up to 42%. Exercise is vital for a healthy, enjoyable pregnancy, increasing endorphins and preparing your body for labor and birth. Believe it or not, an active pregnancy can actually help women to increase their stamina ready for labor, and deliver their baby safely. You might want to try brisk walks, yoga or prenatal Pilates, swimming, and water aerobics to get your heart rate going, all of which will be safe to continue once you’ve conceived.
Relevant health checks and check ups
It’s true there’s plenty you can do to aid conception and increase your chances of enjoying a healthy pregnancy, but there are certain factors that might be out of your control; take existing illnesses, for example. If you’re thinking about trying for a baby it’s vital that you think about any medical conditions or inherited illnesses that might affect conception, or your chances of havinga healthy pregnancy. Blood tests prior to conception will warn you of any pre-existing conditions that could affect your health, or that of your child, such as sickle cell anemia, liver conditions, or genetic disorders. In most cases these tests will provide simple reassurance, but it certainly pays to be prepared and well-informed. It’s essential, therefore, that you find a location to be tested, whether it be a blood or liver function test, to rule out any of those conditions.
Cut out alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes
Although there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to the odd takeaway, piece of chocolate, or sticky dessert every now and again, there are some things you’ll want to rule out of your lifestyle if you’ve plans to conceive a baby. Alcohol, caffeine, and cigarettes can markedly decrease your chances of conceiving, while each has been shown to increase the risks to the fetusif they continue to be enjoyed excessively during pregnancy. Your caffeine intake should be limited to between 200 and 300mg per day, while alcohol and cigarettes should be avoided altogether. Raw and undercooked meat, unpasteurized dairy products, liver, pate, and fish with a high mercury content (marlin, king mackerel, orange roughy, swordfish, shark, tilefish, big eye tuna and ahi tuna) should also be avoided during pregnancy, so cut back now in order to prepare your palette.
Watch your weight
We all know how important it is to remain fit and healthy, and to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). However, did you know that being underweight, or overweight could affect your chances of conceiving? Women with markedly high, or low BMIs can notice ovulation issues over time; such issues can decrease your chances of getting pregnant. Being overweight during pregnancy could also increase the risk of gestational diabetes or hypertension, so it’s important to get your weight under control now. Experts place a healthy BMI between 19 and 24, so aim to meet that measurement prior to conception.
You’re about to enter a wholly exciting, if a little frightening stage of your life; remember to take a little time for yourself now, and only push as far as your body will let you. Allow us to be the first to offer you every success in your quest to conceive a baby, and every happiness as your family flourishes.