Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy
Deciding to have a baby can be one of the most exciting times in your life. But when it comes to conceiving, it’s important you remember to prepare your body for pregnancy so that you are able to conceive and to also help get your pregnancy off to the best possible start.
Need a female reproductive system refresher? Just in case you didn’t pay attention in biology (or didn’t study biology in school) let’s quickly recap the basics:
You have ovaries. Your ovaries contain eggs. Sometimes during your menstrual cycle (roughly 14 days after your period starts), your ovaries release an egg, which starts a long journey towards your womb (or uterus). If a sperm is hanging around and comes across the egg, you get pregnant. If not, your body flushes out the egg with your period. Simple.
Here are our essential steps when preparing your body for pregnancy:
1. Get off your Contraceptive
If you’ve been taking contraception to prevent pregnancy, the first step when you decide to have a baby is to come off it. A common question asked is ‘how long does it take for the effects of the contraception to subside?’. Luckily it’s actually possible to become pregnant immediately after going off your contraceptive- as soon as the hormones are out of your system. But this varies per person and per contraception as it can often takes a few months before ovulation begins normally again also. It’s a good idea to talk to your GP for more information.
2. Clean up your diet
Diet affects the health of your entire body so it makes sense that a good diet is needed to get your body in good physical shape to support conception and pregnancy. The healthier you are as you are planning your pregnancy, the more likely you are to have a healthy baby. You want to be in optimal baby-making condition!
· Folic Acid
If you aren’t already it’s time to start taking Folic Acid supplements. It’s recommended by the HSE to start taking a Folic Acid supplement (400 micrograms) everyday for at least 3 months before you become pregnant. Folic acid supports a baby’s spine and brain development, and helps prevent conditions known as neural tube defects (e.g. spina bifida). If you do become pregnant, you’ll need to continue taking a folic acid supplement everyday for the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy.
· Smoking & drinking
Both can adversely affect your health, your soon-to-be baby’s health and have also been linked to the reducing the chances of you being able to conceive or not. If you want a healthy little bundle of joy, it’s best to start the quitting process now so there’s no chance and no risk to your little one when you do get preggers.
Unfortunately, after you find out that you’re pregnant, it’s too late to begin a weight-loss or weight-gain diet. So this is the time to work toward your ideal body weight through both diet and exercise. Being overweight or underweight can complicate a pregnancy.
3. Know your cycle
Knowing your menstrual cycle will help you prepare and conceive your soon-to-be little one. Your cycle begins on the first day that you notice bright red blood and ends on the day before the next cycle begins. A cycle can take anywhere between 21 to 35 days or sometimes even more. Every woman is different so just get to know your won. And get to know it well.
4. Sex, sex and more sex
YES! Another common question from couples trying to conceive is ‘How often should we have sex?’ and the answer is frequently.
A lot of couples trying to conceive spend a lot of energy timing sex, to calculate when the woman is primed for ovulation. But most health care professionals recommend that you have fun and don’t worry too much about perfect timing. Here are a few tricks to boost your chances:
· Having sex during the three days before ovulation gives you the best chance of conception.
· Tilt your pelvis up after sex ( use gravity to help the sperm swim towards your egg)
· Orgasm. The pulsations from an orgasm can also help the sperm swim to its destination. (How this is achieved is, of course, up to you and your partner.)
· Lose the lube. Most lubricants (including saliva) act as barriers to your Mr’s little swimmers.
Stress can cause chaos on your body which can suppress ovulation and decrease sperm count in men. It also tightens your body, which can restrict energy and constrict blood flow. It’s just not good, so try your best to remain Zen throughout the trying to get pregnant process. Yoga, massage, exercise, sleep, a nice long hot bath or even a good book can all help with stress relief.
If you don’t get pregnant right away, please don’t worry. The time it takes to get pregnant varies from woman to woman. If you find you are having prolonged difficulties pay a visit to your GP.
Any more questions?
Our specialist baby advisors and experienced mums are here to talk and ready to help whenever you need them. You can call us or reach us on Live Chat 8.30am-5.30pm Monday-Friday.