Whether it’s your first or second child, preparing to start or continue a family is a beautiful step to take. It will likely change your life in ways you would never imagine and also add a new dynamic to your family. Housing a baby in your body for nine months isn’t an easy thing to do, so it’s important that you’re as prepared as possible. This means being mentally prepared by having as much information and knowledge as possible as well as being physically prepared. There are several ways that you can get physically prepared and most include making modifications to your lifestyle. This article is going to help you get started by giving you 5 ways that you can begin to prepare your body for pregnancy.
Get a Check-up
Before doing anything, one of the first things you should try when preparing your body for pregnancy is to go and get a full pre-pregnancy checkup. If you’ve never had one before, ideally the appointment will begin with the doctor going through yourself and your partners’ medical history. They may then go on to run a blood test as well as a pap smear in order to check for any conditions that could affect your likeliness of getting pregnant. Some other diseases they may be likely to check for are hepatitis B, HIV, Herpes, or other STDs. Depending on your ethnicity, they may also check for genetic diseases such as sickle cell, Thalassemia, or Tay-Sachs disease as they could affect your baby in the long-run. When going for a checkup, it is also important that you discuss any existing medical conditions that you may have with your doctor too. If, for instance, you have high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes, or asthma, keeping these illnesses under control is crucial. If it is discovered that you’re unable to carry a child for any reason, then you could also explore options such as adoption or a surrogate pregnancy in which another woman helps you carry your baby but uses your eggs.
Find Out When You’re Most Fertile
Tracking your cycle is another way that you can prepare for pregnancy. Everyone has a time of the month where they happen to be most fertile. You should, therefore, try and figure out when your most fertile period is as this will likely help you get pregnant faster. If you’re wondering how you can do this, you can begin by recording the beginning and end of your cycle every month. You should also look out for any irregularities such as abnormal bleeding and spotting. It is said that you’re likely to ovulate halfway through your cycle which is day 14. Your fertile window should begin at about day 10, so you’re more likely to get pregnant if you have sex between day 10 and 14 of a 28-day cycle. There are apps available that can help you identify your fertile days such as Fertility Friend, Glow, Clue, Ovia, Period Tracker and Conceivable. Aside from these, there are several others that you can look for in your app store. Also, if you’ve been on birth control, it’s a good idea to stop so that you can get back into the swing of a regular cycle again.
Avoid smoking and Drinking
If you happen to be a smoker or heavy drinker, then while preparing for pregnancy you should think about dropping those habits. This is because they can make it difficult for you to get pregnant as well as cause complications in your pregnancy too. Research shows that it’s likely that drinking more than five alcoholic beverages on a weekly basis could cause lower fertility. This could be because alcohol is said to depress the adrenal glands and slow the release of hormones that are produced by the adrenal glands which could directly impair your egg health and libido. You shouldn’t worry too much if you consume alcohol moderately, however, as this shouldn’t affect your ability to conceive. In terms of smoking, apparently, 10 or more cigarettes a day could affect your ability to get pregnant. More specifically, smoking can cause blockages in the fallopian tube, increase chances of an ectopic pregnancy, damage your eggs as they develop in your ovaries, cause cervical changes and increase your risk of miscarriage. For these reasons, it may be best to just avoid these things altogether.
When you’re under a lot of stress, it can make getting pregnant more of a challenge. Some ways that stress can affect fertility is by affecting the functioning of the hypothalamus which is the gland in the brain that regulates your appetite, emotions, and most significantly the hormones that tell your ovaries to release eggs. When you’re stressed, this could mean that you ovulate later in your cycle or you don’t ovulate at all. This then obviously has a direct impact on your ability to get pregnant. You should also note that it is sudden stress, both positive and negative, that could have an effect on your cycle. Some ways to manage your stress levels to speed up the process include taking time out to relax, not overburdening yourself. and engaging in relaxing activities on a regular basis.
Exercise is an important step you should take when preparing your body for a baby. Being physically active prepares your body for the many changes that are going to happen during and after pregnancy. It should give you the energy that you need, ease constipation, help lift your spirit and reduce the chances of high blood pressure. Working out could also help prepare your body for labor which can be a stressful and challenging time for both you and your baby. For these reasons, it’s best to get into an exercise routine before getting pregnant.
Certain studies link exercise with fertility, and you can confirm with your doctor any recommended or restricted activities as you prepare to get pregnant. You may have also heard of wearing compression clothing when exercising. These garments are designed to help boost blood circulation and provide relief from muscle soreness.
For pregnant women who may be experiencing swelling in the ankles and lower leg, wearing compression socks may help in that area. On your to-buy list, consider having a pair of compression socks for exercising, walking, and traveling before and during pregnancy. They can come in a wide-calf option to get the right fit.
When preparing for pregnancy, it is likely that you feel many different emotions in addition to a little anxiety. It can be nail biting waiting for a positive pregnancy test every month as well as challenging trying to make lifestyle changes. You should remember, however, that everything happens in its own time, so the best thing may be to relax, look after your body and think positively in the interim.