Are you giving serious thought to starting a family, or is it still a passing notion? There’s practical information here for all stages, whether you are planning a pre-pregnancy doctor’s visit or preparing to embrace a healthier lifestyle. You are squarely at the centre of one of life’s most meaningful journeys: planning a family. Find out all you need to know to take charge.
Step 1 – Pre-Pregnancy Doctor Visit
Get off to a great start by knowing what questions to ask and topics to discuss with your doctor before you are pregnant. The selection of your doctor or other health care provider will be one of your first important decisions. Choose a doctor with whom you are comfortable, whose outlook and treatment of pregnancy is closely aligned with your own beliefs. Referrals from family, friends and other trusted sources are good places to start. Come armed with questions on your first visit. You should also come prepared to answer questions, so you will need to have a good grasp of your own health history. We suggest you discuss the following topics:
- Menstrual cycle timing and regularity
- Past or current illnesses that might affect your ability to conceive
- Sexually transmitted diseases, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), etc.
- Past miscarriages, prior pregnancies or birth defects
- Your medical history and your partner’s as well
- Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications and vitamins (especially folic acid)
- Exercise and eating habits
Evaluate – Consider your current contraception. Experts recommend that you stop using the birth control pill at least three to four months before becoming pregnant. Think about using this time to discuss contraception alternatives.
Step 2 – Embrace Healthy Living
We all have ‘unhealthy’ habits we would like to stop but never get around to doing anything about them. When you first start to think about becoming pregnant is the time to get around to it! Embracing a healthy lifestyle is one of the fundamental ways to truly take charge of your pre-pregnancy planning process.
Reduce Stress – Stress can cause irregular ovulation and can disrupt your menstrual cycle – affecting your overall fertility. If you take just a few deliberate measures, it’ll go far in helping to reduce stress daily.
Get plenty of sleep – Spend time with enjoyable relationships, listen to music, read, meditate, or renew a calming hobby
Nutritional Needs – What you eat — and decide not to eat — at this time is perhaps the single greatest advantage you can give yourself in preparing to get pregnant. Now is the time to follow through on a commitment to eating better. Many key vitamins and minerals are required in greater amounts to meet your increased nutritional needs and those of your growing baby. Follow a well-balanced diet containing food from all of the major food groups. Begin taking a high-quality, high-potency prenatal vitamin containing folic acid and iron and continue throughout your entire pregnancy to ensure that you get the added nutrition necessary for mother and baby. This will help reduce your risk of nutrient deficiency. Don’t diet, either to gain or lose weight, because this may affect your reproductive menstrual cycle
Key Nutrients During Pregnancy
Begin taking these nutrients now before you conceive:
Folic Acid – 0.4 milligrams of folic acid daily are recommended. Folic acid has been found to be instrumental in helping to prevent neural tube defects (NTDs), which often develop before a woman knows she is pregnant. It is essential that an adequate intake of folic acid be maintained throughout your childbearing years.
Iron – Iron is essential for making red blood cells and preventing anemia and fatigue. Make sure to choose a prenatal vitamin with a tolerable form of iron to reduce the possibility of constipation, bloating, and nausea.
DHA – DHA has been linked to many benefits — a healthy heart in mums, improved vision and, best of all, greater mental development in babies. It’s also been shown to increase the length of gestation, helping more babies get their full nine months.
Excercise – Pregnancy is a marathon. Adopting a regular exercise routine now will help you develop the strength and endurance needed down the road. You’ll thank yourself later. Regular exercise will help you:
- Carry the extra weight easier during pregnancy
- Feel less tired and fatigued
- Sleep well
- Reduce muscle and joint pain
- Improve your mental well-being
- Improve posture
- Prevent unnecessary weight gain
- Ease the physical stress of delivery
- Get back in shape faster after the baby is born
Cut It out – Use this time as motivation to eliminate unhealthy habits from your lifestyle such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and any illegal drugs. Also, if necessary, why not begin weaning yourself from caffeine because once you become pregnant, your doctor may ask you to eliminate it altogether.
Step 3 – Identify Your Most Fertile Days
Every month, it’s possible to identify the two days you are most likely to conceive. Are you ready to get pregnant sooner? Predicting your most fertile days can speed up your planning process by helping you to fall pregnant quicker. The FIRST RESPONSE™ 7 Day Pregnancy Planning Kit contains seven ovulation prediction tests to help you identify your two most fertile days during a cycle. This ovulation test kit detects your body’s LH (Luteinising Hormone) surge, giving you an easy and accurate way to determine the two days each month when you’re most likely to ovulate. Your LH surge signals that ovulation will take place in 24 to 36 hours. If you have intercourse within this 24- to 36-hour window, you should maximise your chances of getting pregnant. The FIRST RESPONSE™ 7 Day Pregnancy Planning Kit is over 98% accurate in laboratory studies for detecting LH surge. In addition to the seven ovulation tests, the kit also contains a FIRST RESPONSE™ Early Result In-Stream Pregnancy Test which can detect low levels of the pregnancy hormones, so you can know sooner1