When most people start a family, they may not think about how to prepare for pregnancy. But if you have had a history of infertility or want to give your baby the best start, ensuring your body is healthy before becoming pregnant is a good idea.
The first step is to meet with your health practitioner for a preconception checkup. A preconception checkup looks at how healthy you are before pregnancy and helps to reduce any possible complications when pregnant. It would help if you did this at least three months before you tried to become pregnant.
Three months is adequate time for you to make any changes to your diet, lifestyle, and supplements to help replenish your body and encourage fertilization. Also, if you discover that you don't have optimal health, you can work with your doctor or see a fertility specialist to start you on the path to optimal health. You may also need to update your vaccinations before becoming pregnant.
Genes play a vital role in pregnancy, and your family history may help inform any health conditions in your family. In addition, certain genetic disorders run in families or cultural groups. Knowing this information may help you to form a treatment plan ahead of time or help you understand the risks, if any, of becoming pregnant.
Your family history may also help you understand problems that you had in a previous pregnancy. Your doctor can run tests or do an ultrasound to inform your treatment plan and find the cause of the problem before. Miscarriage, unfortunately, is more common than you think. According to the March of Dimes, about 10-20% of all pregnancies before 12 weeks end in a miscarriage.
How much you weigh is essential when it comes to becoming pregnant. However, being overweight can cause problems as well as being underweight. Growing a baby takes an enormous amount of energy and nutrients from the mother. So if you're overweight or underweight, it can make conception more complicated and to carry a baby to full term without complications.
One of the best things you can do is eat as healthy as possible. It would help to focus on healthy eating for at least three months before becoming pregnant. While there are different opinions about a nutritious diet, the general consensus from multiple sources is that a whole foods diet is the best.
It would be best to avoid processed foods, especially fast food. The general rule of thumb is that whole foods should include fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Food that has been touched the least by manufacturing. Processed food is full of preservatives and added sugar. You should also include plenty of protein.
Plant-based protein is good because it contains plenty of fiber and antioxidants, but you need to make sure you eat a wide variety of plants to ensure you get a variety of different nutrients and proteins. Animal protein is also good, but try to avoid red meat and stick to fish and chicken. Red meat is higher in fat and less healthy than other animal-based proteins.
Getting your body ready for pregnancy should always include supplements like B vitamins. One crucial B vitamin is folic acid, which is essential for a baby's development. Folic acid helps prevent congenital disabilities of the spine and brain.
Neural tube defects (NTDs) are problems presented at birth or noticeable through ultrasound and tests in the womb. They affect the form and function of the spine and body and determine how well they work.
You can lower the risk of NTDs by taking 400 mcg of folic acid before and throughout pregnancy. In addition, supplementing with B vitamins ensures you get the right amount of nutrients you need to maintain a healthy pregnancy.
Hormones are specialized messengers circulating throughout your body and giving constant instructions to every cell. Two vital hormones for conception are estrogen and progesterone. Known as female sex hormones, they work together to ensure pregnancy happens.
If you have a hormone imbalance, becoming pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy can be difficult. For example, estrogen is primarily produced in the ovaries and helps build an egg follicle for maturation and release for fertilization. Estrogen at this day in a woman's cycle (typically, day 13) must be high.
After the egg drops from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes, progesterone becomes critical in the process. It helps nurture the uterine lining, providing a healthy place for the egg to implant. Conversely, if progesterone is low, the uterine lining will shed early, resulting in a miscarriage.
If you're having difficulty conceiving, your cycle may be shorter due to an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone. You can have your doctor test your levels of hormones, in particular the follicle-stimulating hormone ( FSH), which will tell you whether you have infertility concerns. In addition, you can supplement with high-quality progesterone cream to boost progesterone levels.
Finding ways to alleviate stress will help boost your chances of conceiving. For example, a melatonin cream can help if sleep becomes an issue. Melatonin helps your body relax before bed and mimics the same hormone produced. Meditation and yoga can also help with stress. Stress may also encourage you to partake in alcohol and cigarettes, but staying away from these toxic substances can help you become pregnant.
Preparing your body for pregnancy is an integral part of becoming pregnant. You must start at least three months before trying for a baby, make sure your hormones are balanced, and follow a healthy diet. For some, becoming pregnant is easy, and for others more challenging. But rest assured, you're taking the first step by preparing your body.