Prepare Your Body to Make a Baby
Everyone approaches pregnancy differently, and what can come easy for one couple can be very challenging for another couple. Some people try to make it happen while others choose just to let it happen. Any way you want to do it is fine, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some simple and natural things you can do to prepare your body for pregnancy. It should come as no surprise that eating healthy and drinking water are on the top of the list but there are a few things that you may not know.
Achieve a Healthy Weight
Paying attention to your weight before you become pregnant can help you have a better pregnancy. How you get there is by eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. Limit the salty snacks, sweet treats, and anything with a lot of fat. You also need to be active, but that doesn’t mean you have to join a gym. Walks are good, so is riding a bike or going dancing. Find things to do with your friends or your partner and turn it into a fun adventure!
Your weight is important because being both overweight or underweight can have negative impact on your pregnancy. Some issues that can develop are:
- Premature Birth. This is when birth happens before 37 weeks, and can result in the baby having more health problems at birth and/or later in life.
- Birth Defects. This is the change in the shape or function of the body. They do not cause overall health problems but do interfere with how the body develops and functions.
- Gestational Diabetes. This is the state of having too much sugar in your blood which can damage organs and cause pregnancy complications.
- High Blood Pressure. This is also called hypertension and can cause many problems during pregnancy.
A healthy weight isn’t determined by what you look like, it depends on your Body Mass Index or BMI. The BMI is measured using height and weight with a healthy BMI being between 18.5 and 24.9. To figure out your BMI, use this BMI calculator from the CDC.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol
Most people know as a reminder, smoking, drinking and street drugs are off the table if you’re trying to become pregnant, and during your pregnancy. All of these substances can make it harder to conceive and this includes secondhand smoke. Even though marijuana is legal in Canada, it is not recommended when trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy, especially for recreational purposes.
There are some vitamins and nutrients that you need during your pregnancy and some that have been shown to help with conception. For example, taking folic acid even before your pregnant can help protect your baby from neural tube defects (NTDs), which are birth defects of the brain and spine. If women take 400 micrograms of folic acid daily before pregnancy and during early pregnancy it can help prevent 70% of NTDs.
Studies show that vitamin B12 can help increase chances of ovulating, while vitamin B6 can help with implantation and early placental development. Brands like Prenatal Ease have preconception vitamins that contain all these and more. They also have a bundle available on Well.ca where you can buy the preconception vitamin along with Omega 3 which contains both DHA and EPA.
DHA is essential to fetal growth, and EPA helps with the development of the cardiovascular, immune and inflammatory systems. Studies have shown that EPA is needed to help transport the DHA through the placenta to the baby and through the fetal cell membrane.
Talk to your doctor about your prescription drugs if you’re thinking of getting pregnant. Always follow the doctor’s directions and dosages and don’t abuse prescription drugs. While many drugs are perfectly safe for pregnancy and won’t inhibit conception, there are medications that will, and some that doctors aren’t sure about. That is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about your personal medical needs and not rely on Google!
Try Ovulation Tracking
Every woman’s cycle is different but on average the menstrual cycle lasts approximately 28 to 32 days, with most woman ovulating between day 11 and day 21. Ovulation only lasts 12 to 48 hours, but you can in fact be fertile for up to seven days after the egg is released. If you’re looking to get pregnant, taking the time to get to know your cycle can let you know when the best time to try is.
A person can only become pregnant if they have unprotected sex five days before ovulation and up to 24 hours afterward. Not a very long time is it? Traditionally the more regular your period is the easier it will be to pin down when you’re most fertile. But know there are tools that can help you narrow it down, beyond trying the traditional calendar method.
There are now apps that track ovulation. Essentially, they are a souped-up version of the calendar method. Other options are measuring your resting temperature (otherwise known as the basal body temperature). Check it every morning and when you begin to ovulate your temperature rises. There are ovulation predictor kits that work like a pregnancy test and can let you know when your fertility window is opening. And the newest thing is fertility monitors that work in a variety of ways but are largely tracking body temperature.
When you take the time to track your cycle, the more data you’ll have making it easier to predict your fertility window. Sometimes the menstrual cycle can vary month to month as much as it can vary from person to person.
There are a couple of viruses and infections that can impact conception and pregnancy. Toxoplasmosis is an infection you can get from eating undercooked meat or touching cat poop. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV) can be caught from caring for pets from the rodent family. These include hamsters, mice and guinea pigs. So, make sure your meat is fully cooked and try to find a temporary home if you have those kinds of pets.
Doctors know that stress is not good for conception or pregnancy. This is ironic because it is natural to feel stressed while trying to get pregnant or carrying a baby! Learning how you best manage stress even before you’re pregnant is a good idea. Eating healthy, getting exercise and making sure you have enough sleep helps with stress levels. If this isn’t enough, look into additional options like a counsellor, a meditation practice, or ask around and learn what others in your circle do to manage stress. Maybe it’s cat videos or cake decorating? Who knows!
It doesn’t take much to prepare your body for conception but even a little bit can help. Check out the options on Well.ca for quality products to help you all along your pregnancy journey.
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