Before you start trying to conceive
Planning a pregnancy is the most ideal way to start a family and produce healthy children. If you and or/ your partner are in general good health, problems with fertility may never even cross your mind. You can help things along though, and achieve pregnancy in a healthy way.
Steps you can take to boost your fertility include:
- Checking in with your primary health care providers: Pre-conception guidance and support (prenatal care) from those in the know is always a good idea. If you or your partner have health concerns that may affect fertility, your doctor can ensure to work closely with you to help reduce potential risks. Conditions, and related medications for treatment, such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, thyroid disease, endometriosis (women), fibroids (women), cancer (or a history of) and STIs (sexually transmitted infections) can either impact fertility or a developing baby. Regular appointments to monitor your fertility and overall health is highly recommended. Regular check-ups once you have conceived is also important.
- Folic acid: Women intending to fall pregnant must ensure that they take the required daily dosage (0.4 milligrams or 400 micrograms) of folic acid at least one month before conceiving. Folic acid significantly reduces the risk of serious birth defects and miscarriage.
- Diet and nutrition: Eating well is key to your overall health and wellness. It is also vital for a healthy pregnancy and baby. A balanced diet should incorporate all the vitamins and minerals you need. You can also supplement with multivitamins to ensure you are at your absolute best when trying to conceive.
- Lifestyle: A healthy weight (for you and or/ your partner) matters. Fertility in both men and women can be dramatically reduced if you are underweight or overweight. Your weight directly relates to your nutrition habits and activity levels. If in balance, you should be able to maintain a healthy weight. Exercising for a minimum of 30 minutes (moderate exercise), 5 to 7 days a week will ensure that you build physical strength, maintain a healthy weight and reduce your stress levels. Overly intense exercise can be too much of a good thing, causing problems with fertility for both men and women. If you have certain vices, such as high alcohol and caffeine intake or a smoking or drug habit, it is highly recommended to cut back or cut out altogether. For a woman wanting to fall pregnant, the best time to quit smoking is before conception. Health complications and birth defects increase when a woman smokes, or is exposed to smoke during pregnancy. Conception is known to become increasingly difficult for women who drink excessive amounts of caffeine or alcohol. Both substances can increase the risk of premature birth, birth defects, and even infant death. Toxins found in the home or workplace can potentially impact fertility, a pregnancy or a developing baby. Take measures to reduce exposure to toxins wherever possible by wearing gloves or masks when cleaning or doing repair-work.
- Knowing your family history: Genetics can play a role and it’s important to know what health concerns may run in both your and or/ your partner’s family. It’s also important to ensure that you discuss these with your doctor during check-ups before trying to fall pregnant.