How To Stay Healthy When Trying to Conceive 

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for your health and wellbeing but it is particularly important if you are trying for a baby. If you are hoping to conceive there are things that you can do that will affect not only your fertility but your health and the health of your baby in both the long and short term. So, here is a list of some of the steps you can take to help promote your health, your baby’s health and potentially improve your chances of conceiving. 

Stop smoking

The dangers and the detrimental effects of smoking on your health are well known. Smokers have an increased risk of common illnesses but also long-term serious medical complaints affecting the lungs and respiratory system. Further, it is commonly understood that smoking during pregnancy can affect the health of your baby.  What is often less understood is the impact smoking can have on fertility. Smokers are likely to take longer to get pregnant than non-smokers, as smoking can affect the lining of the womb.

Avoid alcohol

When it comes to alcohol there is no known safe level of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy or pre-pregnancy. What is known is that drinking a large amount of alcohol can affect the health of your unborn child. It is also known that alcohol can be linked to fertility problems in both men and women making it harder for people who consume large amounts of alcohol to conceive. What is more consuming large amounts of alcohol or binge drinking can affect your health and wellbeing, it can affect your sleep, your mood, anxiety, diet, and motivation, all of which can contribute to poor overall health. If you want to put yourself in the best mental and physical position pre-pregnancy then cutting down or out the alcohol is a great step to take. 

Take supplements

Folic acid

Folic acid is a vitamin (B9) and can be found in certain foods or taken as a tablet supplement. If you are planning on having a baby then taking folic acid up to two to three months before you conceive can be a vital step. This will allow the vitamin to build up in your body so that it can offer maximum protection from developing neural tube defects, these are common defects that affect the brain or spinal cord. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important vitamin for men and women all year round but it can have some additional benefits for women looking to conceive, as in pregnancy vitamin D is important for the development of strong bones. Unfortunately, vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins that many people are commonly deficient in, and as such taking additional supplements may be required. Other ways to help keep your stocks of vitamin D high are to ensure you get plenty of safe exposure to sunlight and eat a diet rich in vitamin D foods. 

Herbs

There are a variety of herbs available that can help to improve the reproductive health and hormone levels in both men and women. If you want to know more about the types of herbs that could be beneficial to your pre-pregnancy or even help you in your fatality journey consider these best fertility herbs.

Monitor your caffeine levels

While caffeine is not necessarily thought to be harmful pre-pregnancy it is advised that you should stop or considerably limit your caffeine intake as soon as you are trying to conceive. Caffeine can be harmful to your baby and increase the risk of miscarriage and as such, it is recommended that you have no more than 200mg of caffeine a day. Caffeine is found in tea, coffee, energy drinks, some soft drinks, and even chocolate, so it is important that you are mindful of what you are consuming and that you consider the alternatives. Decaf tea and coffee is a great alternative as is switching to water or juices to avoid consuming too much caffeine.
 

Eat well

What you eat can have a huge impact on your overall health and fitness and this is especially true when it comes to your pre-pregnancy diet. It is thought that what you eat can affect your chances of getting pregnant and as such a well-balanced nutrient-rich diet is always recommended. Here are some top tips for eating a good pre-pregnancy diet;

  • Switch from white processed foods (breach, rice, etc) to wholegrain options which are higher in fiber (brown rice, seeds, brown bread)
  • Up your fruit and veg intake, to increase the fiber you consume. 
  • Add lentils and beans into your diet, again this will help to up your fiber intake.
  • Avoid saturated fats, fried foods, biscuits, cakes.
  • Increase your ‘healthy fat’ intake such as nuts, oily fish, and avocados
  • Avoid sugary drinks and foods
  • Be mindful of your salt intake. 
  • Don’t overeat. There is a common misconception that because you are eating for two you can eat twice the amount. This simply isn’t the case. While you will need to increase your calorie intake in the third trimester this should be done with healthy food choices and not dense calories that have no nutritional impact.  

Not only will eating well help put your physical health in the best position when conceiving a child it will also help to regulate your body mass, which can be important pre-pregnancy.

Keep active 

The benefits of exercise for both your physical and mental health are plentiful and well known. What is more regular exercise or being active can help to boost your fertility. The good news is that exercise can come in many forms and it doesn’t have to be a long and laborious run or intense spin session. Moderate exercise such as a brisk walk can be enough to raise your heart rate, get you breathing faster and burn extra calories. 

By being active or undertaking regular moderate exercise both pre-and during pregnancy can help to increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and birth. It can also help to physically prepare your body and strengthen it for the tolls that labor can bring and help to reduce the recovery time. 

It is not just the physical benefits that exercise can bring that make it so vital but the mental health benefits also. Planning for a baby can be an anxious time, which may only be contributing to the usual stresses and strains of life. Staying active can ease the burden of anxiety and stress as it is known to be a natural mood booster by releasing endorphins that are known to promote positive feelings. 

Finally, regular exercise coupled with a well-balanced diet will help to regulate your body mass, which is important to maintaining a healthy and lower-risk pregnancy. 

Evaluate your life stressors

Stress is an incredibly unhealthy factor of life that so many just ‘put up with’ and it comes in many forms. While not every stress you experience can be debilitating or harmful the fact remains that intense stress or anxiety can have a detrimental effect on both your physical and mental wellbeing. It has even been suggested that there can be situations where stress can affect fertility or menstrual cycles. 

Even if the stress you are under is not the cause of potential fertility problems it is still something that needs to be addressed and kept in check. Pregnancy is exciting but also a potentially anxious experience that can consume a lot of your time and headspace. To put you in the best possible position to deal with this you may want to evaluate the stressors in your life and what you can do to placate or reduce them. If you don’t think there is any room for movement then consider ways and techniques that you can use to help you successfully manage your stress levels to avoid it being all-consuming and even detrimental to your health and wellbeing. 

Sleep

Sleep is and always had been an incredibly important tool for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Sleep helps to promote recovery from injury or illness. Sleep strengthens your immune system. Sleep helps to improve your mental health and ability to cope with the stresses and strains of the day and a good night’s sleep will inevitably leave you feeling brighter and better placed to face the day ahead. This is equally as important both pre-pregnancy and during pregnancy. 

Vaccinations

There are some infections that if contracted can be harmful to your baby should you catch them could be harmful to your baby. So you want to ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date. It is also advisable to get a flu shot to help protect you and your baby against the dangers of contracting influenza. When it comes to what vaccinations you may or may not require it is always recommended that you seek medical advice so that you are confident in the decisions you make. 

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