8 Things You Must Do Before Getting Pregnant

8 Things You Must Do Before Getting Pregnant

If you are looking to get pregnant, the first thing I would want to tell you is that I wish you the best of luck. And even though I do mean that sincerely, I also want to point out that there are many things to do before you start attempting to conceive. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

You may know of people who have conceived literally after the moment they started trying, and you may know of others who have struggled for years to conceive. If you are concerned that you could potentially end up like the latter who struggled to achieve a pregnancy, then there are steps you need to take in order to lower the odds of that happening.

8 Things to Do Before Getting Pregnant Infographic

 

There are 7 steps to follow before getting pregnant. Let’s go over them bit by bit, shall we?

 

Check your Weight

Before you start attempting to conceive, you absolutely need to pay a visit to your doctor because you will need to be checked out. Your weight will be checked, as well as your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.

If all of that checks out just fine, then you will be given the green light to start trying.

However, if there are issues with any of that, you will need to have those issues addressed. For instance, if your weight is at an acceptable level but your blood pressure is high, you will have to have that examined further as well as making changes to your diet.

Body Mass Index Guide to Getting Pregnant

If your weight is over 25 BMI (or 30 BMI as you can still safely get pregnant if your weight is between 25-30 BMI but you will have to be extremely careful with your diet, even more so than those who have lower BMI’s), you will need to lose weight in order to get to an acceptable level. If your BMI is under 18, then you need to gain weight in order to at least get it to 18 BMI.

If your weight and diet are problematic in regards to achieving a pregnancy, then you will have to take the next step which your doctor will tell you to do. And that will be discussed during the next point.

 

Eat a Fertility Diet

If you need to make changes to your weight and diet, your doctor will refer you to a nutritionist or dietician that will be knowledgeable in pointing you towards foods that will boost your fertility. He or she will also tell you what foods to limit and avoid altogether.

In fact, even if your weight is at an acceptable level and your health is for the most part quite good, your doctor may refer you to a professional anyway because you will want to know what to eat and what not to eat while trying to conceive.

Whether you are trying to gain, lose or maintain your weight, you will need to follow the fertility diet. Here is a brief outline what that entails:

•     Plenty of fruit and vegetables, especially those that are high in vitamin C like citrus fruits because that boosts fertility. Besides, studies have shown more fruits and veggies are more likely to help you conceive a girl!

•     Foods with unsaturated fats and Omega 3’s like nuts, eggs, salmon, avocados, seeds and other fish. Those fats help balance hormonal levels which increase the chances of proper ovulation and you achieve a healthy pregnancy. Stay away from fish like tuna and shark meat because those are high in mercury levels which can be quite detrimental to the developing fetus.

•     Have plenty of protein from vegetables, eggs, fish, and poultry but limit red meat as that can increase cholesterol levels, which can hurt your chances of ovulation.

•     Fill up on fiber to stay full and keep your caloric intake limited, but not too limited to prevent you from getting enough.

•     Stick to complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, lentils, and vegetables, as you need the energy that they provide but you will burn it off slowly so your insulin levels do not spike.

•     Enjoy full-fat dairy foods, and trash the skim milk or low-fat dairy foods. The low-fat dairy foods will not be good for you and in fact, it will increase your testosterone levels which is not what you want! Full-fat dairy foods will help balance your hormones and increase your chances of ovulation. That includes whole milk, full-fat cheese, and full-fat plain Greek yogurt.

•     Limit caffeine to having one cup of coffee a day, as too much caffeine is not good for your hormonal levels, and not good for the developing fetus.

•     Avoid alcohol. There is no reason to explain why as it is very harmful to a developing fetus.

•     Limit refined sugar and trans fats tightly. Refined carbohydrates will cause your blood sugar levels to spike, as well as your insulin levels which will get into the way of proper ovulation. That includes fast food, candy, pastries, cookies, cake, white bread, white pasta, corn syrup, and anything too sugary. You can have a little once a week which will not cause any harm. That is why there is no need to avoid it completely, but to restrict your intake. That means, if you have a craving for a sundae, enjoy it on a Saturday night. Besides, go for it because you have the full-fat dairy as well if you have a sundae!

Fertility diet

What was just outlined for you is referred to as the fertility diet. If you stick to it, you will help your chances of conceiving, even while you are losing or gaining weight! Now if you are extremely underweight, you have a good idea of what foods to bulk up on, and the nutritionist or dietician will also guide you on how to gain weight in a healthy way.

At the same time, if you are trying to lose weight, don’t be afraid to consume full-fat dairy products. You need this to keep your hormones in check which will help your chances of ovulation. You will not gain weight from this, in moderate amounts.

Now that you know what to eat and what not to eat while trying to conceive, there is another important thing to do in order to increase your chances of conceiving.

 

Take a Prenatal Vitamin

Get started on taking a good prenatal vitamin now. Much like a multi-vitamin, a prenatal vitamin will give you all the different vitamins and nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. Unlike a standard multi-vitamin, a prenatal is specifically tailored to aid women trying to conceive and already pregnant by having huge boosts of folic acid and iron as well.

Folic acid and iron are key in your prenatal vitamin.

Be sure to take a prenatal vitamin with at least 400mcg. Some suggest folic acid in amounts as much as 800mcg to really assist you. Other foods have folic acid as well such as green leafy vegetables.  It is not only good for your hormonal levels, but it will prevent your unborn baby from developing serious neural tube defects, and this must be taken at least 3 months before you start trying to get pregnant.

Be sure your prenatal vitamin also contains additional iron, especially if your iron is low. Iron is a key vitamin to keep in good balance when trying to conceive.

 

Start Charting Your Cycles

You need to know when you ovulate and to be sure you are in fact ovulating!

There are several ways to chart your cycles. What many women do initially is chart their cycles by using a basal body thermometer by tracking their temperatures to find out when they are ovulating.

•     Chart your BBT

If you go this route, which is a good idea to do so you get to know your cycles, be sure to start tracking your cycles at least 3 months before you are officially trying. The way it works is after ovulation, your temperature will rise. However the temp rise reading won’t do you any good as it indicates you have already ovulated, and then it will be too late to start trying. This method will help you determine when in your cycle you are ovulating.

Charting BBT temperature using a BBT

All you need to do is buy a basal body thermometer from drug stores like Walgreens, which is not the same kind that you use to take if you suspect you have a fever. You also get some graph paper and place the thermometer and paper with a pen on your nightstand which is within easy reach to you when you first wake up. Because your body basal temperature will be the most accurate when you wake up without moving much! That means before you go to the bathroom, the temperature has to be taken. Take the thermometer right after you wake up, use it, and then take the paper and mark down what your temperature is. Do this each morning throughout your cycle.

If you do this for three months, you will see a pattern of when the temperature rises, which will tell you when in your cycle that you are ovulating.

If you are not seeing any rises, then there is a chance that you are not taking it properly (such as moving too much right after waking up), or you are not ovulating on a regular basis. However, there is another way to chart your cycle which you can do while you are actively trying to conceive.

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•     Track your cervical mucus

You will want to check the consistency of your cervical mucus, by taking your fingers and touching the area around your cervix to grab some mucus to examine it. After you finish with your period, you will have dry and very little mucus because you are not fertile at that time. The further into your cycle you progress, your cervical mucus will be more sticky and cloudy.

However, once it becomes abundant and has a texture similar to raw egg-whites, then that is your fertile time.

You will be ovulating 1-2 days after, and that is when to start getting busy.

 

•     Use ovulation predictor kits

The easiest method by far is to to use ovulation predictor kits which will measure the luteinizing hormone levels in your urine. Just like with a pregnancy test, you simply pee on a stick. If the ovulation test shows positive (2 dark lines), it means the LH is increasing.

If the LH is increasing, then you are getting ready to ovulate in 1-3 days, which means that is also time to get busy.

When it is time to get pregnant, you will want to begin taking ovulation tests around Day 10-11 of your cycle and take a test every single day until a positive result is achieved, by getting two double dark lines. You can purchase them in bulk, especially as test strips, both online and in local drug stores. You can also get 20 free ovulation tests when you try the ConceiveEasy TTC Kit for free – be sure to see the offer above.

free opks via conceiveeasy TTC Kit

 

Reduce Stress Levels

It is easy to become incredibly stressed while trying to conceive! And if other areas of your life are causing you stress, it is even more important to find ways to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Too much stress can hurt your chances of ovulating and getting pregnant.

Therefore, you may want to take up yoga, meditation, winding down by reading a good book, listening to good music, and watching a good comedy. It is important to do these things while trying to conceive especially. Stress hurts!!

 

Exercise, but Not Too Much

If you are an athlete or you work out too much, you must scale back because too much exercise will stress your body out. However, it is a terrible idea to be sedentary because that will not help either. If you take a half hour walk for 5 days a week and do some light aerobics, you will be getting the right amount of exercise to help keep your body healthy and things flowing.

 

Have Your Man Wear Boxers

If there is too much restriction around the scrotum, that will hurt your man’s sperm count due to the heat surrounding it. That said, your man should be wearing boxers instead of briefs for at least 3 months before trying to conceive.

Wear boxers, not briefs!

The same applies to him taking hot showers, and him sitting in hot tubs. None of those are good. It is also a good idea that he takes a vitamin that will help his sperm quality and production go up, such as folic acid and zinc.

You definitely not only want to achieve a pregnancy but increase your chances of achieving a healthy one! Let’s talk about what you should do before trying to get pregnant as well in the next point.

let your partner wear boxers and not briefs

 

Know Your Genetics

Even though this point will not affect your fertility, it is a good idea for you and your man to know your genetic history. You need to know if there is a chance that you could potentially pass something genetically harmful to your child. What is your ethnic background? If you have Ashkenazi Jewish, Irish or French Canadian background, there is a chance that you could pass down Tay-Sachs, if you are Caucasian, there is a chance you could pass down cystic fibrosis. If you are African American, you could pass down Sickle Cell Anemia, or if you are of Mediterranean  descent, you could pass down Thalassemia.

You can buy a kit online that will collect saliva samples to see if you could be a carrier of any of these mutations. Or better yet, discuss having a genetic panel done with your doctor, which many doctors automatically do blood tests for. If these things would not matter to you in conceiving, you also always have the right to refuse any specific blood tests as well.

 

Bottom Line

If you have been utilizing the previous tips for a year and no pregnancy has been achieved, then you will have to go back to your doctor to be referred to a fertility specialist because there could be an underlying cause which could prevent you from getting pregnant. But hopefully you will be successful quickly. Best of luck!

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Monica Scott, BS, RN
Monica Scott, BS, RN | ConceiveEasy
Ms. Scott joined ConceiveEasy after working in prenatal obstetrical care for two years in a private practice before being promoted to Director of Nursing. She has a strong interest in women's health with an emphasis on promoting fertility awareness.