If you’re hoping for a pregnancy in your future, learning more about your fertility and tracking your data are some great first steps toward trying to conceive.
How to help prepare your body for pregnancy
Even before you conceive, there’s a lot you can do to help prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. These five tips center around living a healthy lifestyle and keeping your body in good shape – so some of these tips can also be helpful in improving your fertility health!
Establishing a diverse exercise routine will improve your cardiovascular endurance and help strengthen your core, which will make it easier to adjust to a growing body (and probably come in pretty handy during labor too). Starting an exercise regimen while TTC also ensures that you won’t be scrambling to find an exercise program that works for you after finding out you’re pregnant.
Feel the burn! Stretching is good exercise, particularly when using resistance, and it has additional benefits when you’re preparing for pregnancy. Muscle aches and pains are pretty common among pregnant women, and stretching can help keep you loose and limber.
3. Take a prenatal vitamin
Many healthcare providers recommend that women begin a prenatal or multivitamin regimen while they’re trying to conceive. This is both to help boost fertility and to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrients you’ll need during early pregnancy.
For instance, pregnant women need about 600 mcg of folic acid a day. Because your body uses that folic acid for some very important tasks very early on in pregnancy (it helps the neural tube close properly at around week six), it’s a good idea to make sure your folic acid intake is sufficient even in the weeks and months before you conceive. Prenatal vitamins are a great source of folic acid, but most multivitamins have an ample amount as well. Make sure to speak with your healthcare provider about what they recommend for nutritional supplementation before pregnancy.
4. Cut down on alcohol and caffeine
Because there is no universally agreed-upon “safe” amount of alcohol or caffeine during pregnancy, many healthcare providers recommend abstaining from alcohol and limiting caffeine (most research indicates that up to 200 mg of caffeine each day is probably safe). The idea of saying goodbye to wine or coffee once pregnant might be tough, so it might be a good idea to get a jump on things by cutting back now – and it will help your fertility too!
5. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet
Nourishing your body with nutritious foods is crucial during pregnancy. It helps your baby develop properly, paces your weight gain, and can contribute to reducing some symptoms. If you think your diet might be a bit less balanced than it could be, you can use your TTC time to transition into a more healthy diet overall, complete with plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables — which will fuel your body so that it can perform at its peak before, during, and after pregnancy.
- Dr. Walter Willett. “Nurses’ Health Study II.” National Institutes of Health. United States, 1989-. Web.
- “Nutrition During Pregnancy: FAQ001.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 4/15/2015. Web.
- M Munafo, M Murphy, D Whiteman, K Hey. “Does Cigarette Smoking Increase Time to Conception.” Journal of Biosocial Science. Volume 34 / Issue 01, Pp 65-73. Web. 1/2/2015.
- Rossi BV, Berry KF, Hornstein MD, Cramer DW, Ehrlich S, Missmer SA. “Effect of alcohol consumption on in vitro fertilization.” Obstetrics & Gynecology. 117(1):136-42. Web. 1/11/2015.
- “What is recurrent pregnancy loss?” ASRM. American Society for Reproductive Medicine, 2014. Web.
- “Moderate Caffeine Consumption During Pregnancy: Committee Opinion Number 462.” ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 8/10/2015. Web.