Entering motherhood is one of the biggest decisions for a woman and one of the most exciting journeys she’ll experience in her lifetime. Since every mom-to-be wants to ensure a safe pregnancy and a healthy baby, it’s important to start taking the necessary steps early on, while she’s still trying to conceive.
To help you start things off on the right foot, we’re listing six important things future mothers will need to do to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a lifelong health of their little one.
Ditch any bad habits
Now would be the right time to get rid of any bad habits you may have formed over the years, whether we’re talking about smoking, binge drinking, or taking recreational drugs. Any of these could contribute to reduced fertility in both men and women, damage the baby’s DNA, and potentially lead to serious complications during pregnancy.
If you’re actively trying for a baby and want to improve your chances of conceiving, eliminating any bad habits is a great place to start. It could be difficult to stop – if that is the case, consider seeking the help and support you need to make the changes that will improve your reproductive health.
Creating a healthy and safe environment for your future baby’s development doesn’t stop with quitting bad habits. It also has to do with how healthy your current dietary habits are and making the necessary changes in your diet both before and during pregnancy.
To improve your fertility and ensure a healthy development of the baby in the womb, focus on eating more whole grain foods and vegetable proteins, and go for foods containing unsaturated fats. It is also advisable to take prenatal vitamin supplements such as folic acid as soon as you start planning for a baby (at least 3 months in advance). Finally, make sure to reduce your caffeine intake while trying to conceive (both the mother and the father) and stick to the limited amount of 200 mg a day during pregnancy.
Know your cycle
Every body is different, and knowing your body and cycle is essential when you’re trying for a baby. Write down your cycle dates and consider using apps to keep track of your menstrual cycle more easily. Trying for a baby is all about proper timing, and what may have worked for your friend or a family member may not work for you.
If you have been actively trying to conceive for over a year without using birth control and/or are 35 or older, it might be best to talk to your obstetrician-gynecologist about infertility evaluation to help identify the cause and get proper treatment. This becomes even more important in case you’ve been having irregular menstrual cycles which may reduce your odds of conceiving.
Calculate your ovulation window
Cycle lengths vary from woman to woman, and these differences in menstrual cycles may make it more challenging to calculate your ovulation window. Nevertheless, doing so is essential as ovulation is necessary for pregnancy, and there are a couple of methods you can try.
During ovulation, the cervical mucus feels slippery and looks like raw egg whites. This is the early sign of ovulation and the traditional way to get an estimate of a woman’s fertile window. Nowadays, you have apps that can do the same for you and provide you with accurate information after entering your data for two or three cycles.
Do your best to maintain a healthy weight
Another thing to keep in mind when trying to conceive is your BMI – Body Mass Index. It’s essentially a way to calculate whether you have a healthy weight by taking into account your weight and height. Anything between 18.5 to 24.9 is considered to be within a healthy weight range and represents the ideal BMI for women trying to conceive.
If your BMI happens to be less than 18.5 or over 25 before pregnancy, you will be advised by medical experts to either gain or lose weight until your BMI improves. This will help ensure that the risks are minimized and lead to a safer and healthier pregnancy.
Other than eating healthy, another way to ensure a healthy weight and, therefore, a healthy pregnancy, is to make physical activity a part of your daily routine. Physical activities can be beneficial for women who are trying to conceive as they can boost their fertility, and they also provide long-term benefits for the baby.
Try to stay active as much as possible both before and during pregnancy. Engage in moderate intensity activities on a regular basis (150 minutes a week), and try to find something you really enjoy so your workouts don’t feel like a chore.
Trying for a baby is a big step, and you want to make sure that you’ve done everything you can to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy. Follow the tips above to help improve your fertility, reduce any risk of problems during pregnancy, and protect yourself and your child’s future health.