If you’re starting to think about beginning a family, you’ll be wanting to give your baby the best start in life. That means making sure you’re as healthy as possible before getting pregnant. This can be very exciting but also an anxious time in many peoples lives. There is lots to consider and think about. It’s important to make sure you’re looking after yourself, as an individual and as a couple.
Let’s have a look at some of the things you should be doing before trying for a baby:
See Your Doctor
It’s wise to have a good idea of your general health before you start trying for a baby. Especially if you have any long-standing health concerns such as high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes. Visiting your doctor will confirm that your immunisations are up to date as certain preventable infections like German measles, hepatitis B and chickenpox can cause birth defects and miscarriage. If you haven’t been vaccinated it’s a good idea to make sure you are before trying to conceive. Your doctor will advise you when it’s safe to get pregnant after this.
If you’re worried about sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), you should discuss this with your doctor too. Having treatments for STIs before you get pregnant may improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
If you’re currently on contraception you may also want to discuss stopping this. This may involve having things like the coil or implant removed. Depending on what methods you have been using, will depend on how long it takes to leave your system.
When visiting your doctor it’s also a good idea to consider your environmental impact on fertility. If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while your doctor will also be able to discuss possible tests to discover if something could be affecting your fertility.
Start Taking Supplements
Most people know that you need to take supplements while you’re pregnant, but it’s also advisable to start taking them when you’re trying for a baby too. Folic acid supplements, that you’re advised to take when pregnant, should also be taken as soon as you stop using contraception and start trying for a baby. You should then continue to take them until at least your twelve-week of pregnancy. If you have diabetes, coeliac disease, had a previous child with spina bifida or are overweight then you will be advised to take more than the recommended 400mc. Your doctor will be able to advise you if this is necessary.
It’s highly important to make sure you have enough folic acid in your system before you get pregnant. Your baby needs it to develop a healthy brain and nervous system in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Having a lack of folic acid can cause things like neural tube defects, which can cause spina bifida.
Once you’re pregnant it’s then advisable to start taking a vitamin D supplement. You should also continue to take this if you’re breastfeeding. It’s also essential to make sure you get enough iron and calcium from your diet, iron deficiency is very common in pregnancy and even more so in pregnancies that occur close together. Signs of iron deficiency include fatigue, shakiness and feeling sick so if you’re worried it’s best to speak to your doctor.
If you’re someone who takes multivitamins, you need to more careful with your choice when trying to conceive, it’s advised that you take one that is specially formulated for conception and pregnancy. The standard multivitamins can contain too much vitamin A which ultimately can be harmful to your unborn baby.
Be Mindful Of Your Weight
This isn’t all about being overweight. It’s both about being overweight and underweight as both can hinder your chances of successfully conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy. Both come with risk of complications and can reduce your fertility.
If you’re obese with a Body Mass Index of 30 or more, it’s wise to lose weight before you start trying for your baby. Plus starting an exercise programme will mean that you’re fitter throughout pregnancy and ready for when labour comes.
If you’re underweight with a Body Mass Index of less than 18.5, the chances of you having an irregular menstrual cycle are higher, this can make it difficult when trying for a baby, especially if you’re tracking your ovulation cycle. A healthy BMI is classed as between 19 and 25 so you should aim to be in this bracket when trying to conceive.
If you’re concerned about your weight it’s best to speak to your doctor.
Make Sure You Rest And Relax
When you’ve been trying for a baby for a while it can be far too easy to become worried and stressed over the situation. You start to think too much about why your not yet pregnant. Being worried and stressed can have an effect on your fertility so it’s important to remain relaxed and rested.
The main reason that stress impacts your chance of conceiving isn’t purely down to being stressed it’s more about what it leads to. Being stressed can lead to overeating, weight gain, weight loss, easting badly and insomnia. This kind of behaviours doesn’t make it very easy to conceive.
If stress is having an impact on how you eat or sleep, try talking over your concerns with a trusted friend or seek professional help. Simple things like relaxation music and yoga have been known to help alleviate symptoms of stress.
Tidy Up Your Lifestyle
Everyone knows that things like drinking and smoking can harm your baby when pregnant but did you know that it also has an effect on your fertility?
Cigarettes, alcohol and illegal drugs can have a significant increase in your risk of miscarriage, birth defects, and also cause low birth-weight. It’s best to give them up now, it will make it much easier to stick to your healthy lifestyle whilst you’re pregnant.
This is just a short guide to help you on your way to becoming as healthy as possible before trying for a baby. Do you have anything else that should be included that you can share in the comments section below?