Preparing for Pregnancy: What to Do

Being healthy and fit will maximize the chances of fertility and will lead to a healthier pregnancy. It is best to prepare for the pregnancy before you start to conceive, as by the time you realise, you could already be pregnant. There are a lot of aspects to consider and it is best to start at some point. The first step is to stop contraception, in case you are taking it. Some contraception methods can make it harder for you to get pregnant, especially when it comes to the contraceptive pills or the contraceptive implant or the intra-uterine device. In case you are using the contraceptive injection, the period of fertility can take longer, even up to 12 months. In case you succeed in getting pregnant right after stopping the hormonal contraceptive, there is nothing to worry about, as the baby will not be harmed in any way.

Many are asking when it is better to conceive. Couples who have sexual intercourse at least two or three times a week without using contraception, there are more than 8 in 10 chances to become pregnant in the first year. Timing sexual intercourse to be close to ovulation is considered by many beneficial and rather productive, but it is not always the case. Regular sex can prevent stress and pressure that occurs with timing ovulation and stress is known to affect fertility. In case you and your partner have been trying for over a year to have a baby and have not succeeded, then you should see a specialist. This is available especially in case of couples who are over their 35. It is known that having a healthy weight is very beneficial for the body, but it is also quite beneficial for the baby making as well. Having a normal weight increases the chances of ovulation. The BMI (body mass index) for the adult woman is among 19-25. In case your BMI is over 29, then you should start a weight loss program in order to improve your chances of getting pregnant. In the other case, if the BMI is under 19, you might face the situation of having irregular or no periods at all. This means that you are not ovulating regularly and thus, you have fewer chances to conceive a baby. This is why it is recommended to start a dietary plan that includes healthy foods and exercising. Speaking of which, deciding to exercise or to follow a sport is very indicated for women who are trying to get pregnant. It helps the muscles develop and stay strong and during the pregnancy, it will make it easier for the woman to carry the extra weight.

Every woman sets up a goal to eat healthier at some point, but they fail to succeed in most cases. But with such a strong reason (having a baby and a healthy one), they should be more determined to do it. By eating healthy, the body will have the needed dosage of vitamins and minerals. It is essential to include healthy foods, plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, good fats, dairy products and more. Protein is needed, found in fish, meat, and starchy foods, including rice, potatoes, bread and pasta. Drinking a lot of fluids daily hydrates the body. But those who drink a lot of coffee should limit the intake of caffeine, especially energy drinks and fizzy drinks. Also, avoid eating foods that are high in sugar, salt and fat. There are certain types of foods that can increase the risk of developing bacteria inside the body, which ultimately affects the baby in a negative way. The Department of Health recommend women who are planning to get pregnant to avoid the following:

  • Uncooked meat or ready-prepared meals
  • Soft cheese, blue-veined cheese, such as Brie, Camembert and Roquefort
  • Pates
  • Raw seafood, such as oysters and large fish, like shark
  • Unpasteurized cheese or milk
  • Uncooked eggs or uncooked egg products, such as mayonnaise (the home-made one)

There are other foods that should be avoided due to certain substances found in them, which can cause complications and risks, such as the following:

  • Large quantities of liver, supplements with plenty vitamin A (these can harm the baby)
  • No more than two cans of tuna on a weekly basis, as they contain high levels of mercury
  • Certain types of fish: swordfish, shark, fresh tuna, marlin, because of the high level of mercury that affects the baby’s nervous system.

Eating large quantity of peanuts while pregnant can increase the chances of your baby developing allergies. In most cases, women are advised by their doctors to take supplements with folic acid, 400 micrograms on a daily basis after they stop taking contraception, up until they are pregnant in 12 weeks. Folic acid can prevent the baby from developing serious complications to the brain and nerves. The Department of Health also advises women to take supplements with vitamin D.