To give your baby a running start, you should be thinking about priming your body well before you get pregnant! Here are our suggestions to get you started!
1) Go to your GP and get your health checked!
Most professionals agree that it's a good idea to go to your GP to make sure you are generally healthy . A doctor may check that your Pap smear is up-to-date and do several blood tests for immunity to diseases such as rubella and chicken pox. You may also be tested for a range of STD's and although you may think it unnecessary, remember that all babies are made with unprotected sex!
You may also need to discuss with your GP any medication that you are taking. Some medication can be harmful to your unborn baby and may even lower your chances of conception! So it is best to check with your doctor first!
Taking folic acid supplements and making sure that your diet contains food rich in folate can help prevent neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, developing in your unborn baby. Medical professionals suggest women take supplements for at least a month before conceiving and then throughout the pregnancy.
There's a great deal of evidence that smoking decreases the chance of conceiving. In some IVF programs, if a woman smokes more than 10 cigarettes per day, the chance of her conceiving is about half compared to a non-smoking woman. Most Doctors recommend that a woman quits smoking altogether when trying for a baby.
Alcohol is best avoided when you are trying to conceive. While many women may think it's okay to have a drink or two during this time, some professionals say that there is no safe minimal amount you can drink. A Danish study found that even one glass a day increases the time it takes to conceive.
Learn how to recognise the signs that you're ovulating. One of the best ways to detect your peak fertility period is to observe changes in your cervical mucous. You may notice that your mucous is the consistency of egg white when you are fertile while at other times it is thick and claggy. Generally, your mucous will be fertile for around 3-5 days before ovulation actually takes place. You can also speak with your GP or get more information from a family planning clinic to help you identify your fertile times.
Doctors say that it is vital that women planning to fall pregnant maintain a healthy weight. If a woman is underweight, she is less likely to ovulate. If she is overweight, she is less likely to ovulate. You should aim for a normal Body Mass Index or BMI between 20 and 25. You can work it out itself by dividing your weight in kilos by your height in metres squares.
Now is the time for moderate, not excessive, exercise. A recent study found that three or less hours of physical exercise a week doesn't affect IVF outcomes. However, four or more hours of exercise weekly resulted in an increase in pregnancy loss and a reduction in live birth rate.
There is no magic diet guaranteed to increase fertility but it is worth eating a healthy range of foods â€” including fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meat â€” in preparation for pregnancy. Make sure your diet includes foods that are a good source of folate, such as green leafy vegetables. It's also a good idea to cut back on the cappuccinos: studies have shown that a high coffee intake can stop a fertilised egg from implanting, meaning that you can have a miscarriage and not even know it.
Now get down to the fun part! The trying! Best of luck! Hopefully these small changes may go a long way towards that most exciting positive pregnancy test!