Hoping to get pregnant soon? Wondering what you can to do to boost your fertility and prepare your body for all the crazy changes that come with pregnancy?
Of course, we can’t always plan when our babies are conceived. But, by making some lifestyle changes at least 3 months leading up to conception, we can create the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. Some of which, may also simultaneously improve your fertility.
In this post, we’ll cover 15 natural and healthy ways to prepare your body for pregnancy.
15 Ways to Prepare Your Body for Pregnancy
Mark these 15 things off your preparing for pregnancy checklist:
1. Get a Checkup
It’s a good idea to visit your midwife or OB before trying to conceive. A checkup before pregnancy will help to make sure you’re healthy when you DO get pregnant, giving your baby a healthy start at life.
Your provider will check for health conditions which could negatively effect your pregnancy or the health of your baby, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or obesity. They may suggest some genetic screening if certain health conditions run in your family, and they’ll also check to see if your current medications are compatible with pregnancy.
A preconception checkup is especially important if you’ve previously had a premature birth, miscarriage, baby with birth defects, or a stillbirth (source).
2. Start Taking Prenatals
Maternity professionals now recommend taking prenatal vitamins before you get pregnant, as the folic acid in them will help prevent spinal defects in your growing baby. You should be taking 400mcg/day of folic acid. If you have the MTHFR gene mutation, you’ll want to be sure your prenatal has folic acid in the form of folate (often times you’ll see methlyfolate), so it’s actually usable to your body.
You’ll also want to aim for 200mg of DHA a day, as this Omega-3 fatty acid will help improve your baby’s health and brain development. Not all prenatals include DHA, so be sure to get an additional supplement if needed.
Prenatals are also loaded with other essentials nutrients that will help improve your pregnancy. The B vitamins will help give you energy and reduce morning sickness, the vitamin D will help support your mood and bone growth, and the iron will help prevent anemia, as your body will begin making more blood than it ever has before.
3. Adjust Your Diet
Nutrition is not only important for your general well-being, but it can also affect how your body works, your chances of getting pregnant, and how your baby is developing in the womb.
Aim for whole grains, healthy fats and proteins, and lots of fruits and veggies throughout the day. Steer clear of artificial preservatives, colors, and flavorings. Foods high in antioxidants may even improve fertility in both men and women. One study even showed that eating a portion of walnuts a day can improve your man’s sperm motility (source).
You’ll also need to start limiting your caffeine intake to 200mg/day (1 cup of coffee), as large amounts may increase your chance for miscarriage. It’s also important to remember that there’s no need for any extra calories within that first trimester.
4. Cut the Addiction
Both you AND your partner will need to stop lighting up, as smoking not only makes it harder to pregnant, but also increases your risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and other major health problems. Tobacco also lowers your partner’s sperm count and increases your baby’s risk for SIDS.
Illegal drugs and alcohol can also affect your fertility and your baby’s development. There’s no amount of alcohol that is safe for baby, so it’s best to completely give up the booze before you even start trying to conceive.
Cutting the addiction doesn’t always come easy though. Luckily, we have resources today, like DrugRehab.com, that help women take that first step toward recovery. They even provide women a safe environment for treatment if they’re already expecting.
DrugRehab.com provides clear cut information on the risks associated with drug and alcohol use during pregnancy, the effects it can have on your growing baby, and how to find the support and help that you need.
5. Get Regular Exercise
Getting regular exercise before (and during) pregnancy will help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid potential health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. A healthy weight also lowers your risk for premature birth, spinal defects, and your baby growing larger than normal inside your womb (source).
Exercising before you get pregnant will also help prepare your body for all the changes it will go through during pregnancy and childbirth. Try to aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. Incorporate brisk walks, swimming, yoga, and gentle stretches.
Remember, to not over do it though. Excessive amounts of exercise can actually lead to fertility problems.
6. Limit Exposure to Toxins
It’s certainly hard in this day and age, but there are some crucial chemicals you should try to avoid for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
A big one that’s found in a lot of commercial makeup products is parabens. Parabens can mimic certain characteristics of estrogen, so they reduce your chances of creating healthy eggs. BPA and BPA alternatives found in plastic and some canned foods can also act like estrogen and has even been linked to recurrent miscarriage. Try to stick with glass, stainless steel, and BPA-free cans (source).
Synthetic fragrances can also disrupt hormone levels, and high VOC paints have been linked to a greater risk of miscarriage and birth defects. If your career involves handling or being near fumes and/or chemicals, speak with your employer about possibly avoiding these duties while your TTC and pregnant. If you can’t get away from the toxins, be sure to wear protective clothing, masks, and keep the area well ventilated.
7. Eliminate Stress
Stress doesn’t cause longterm infertility, but it can affect your chances of becoming pregnant.
You may have noticed a late or irregular period during an unusually stressful time. This is because stress can have an effect on your hormone levels. This is also thought to be the reason why it can decrease your chances of becoming pregnant.
Women that are stressed are also more inclined to indulge in unhealthy habits that impact their fertility, such as getting poor sleep, not exercising, emotional eating, and losing interest in sex.
Try to get plenty of rest and relaxation when trying to conceive. Decompress with a warm bath, a good book, some music, or a favorite hobby.
If you’re having trouble relaxing, it may be a good idea to talk to a counselor about how you can handle your stress.
8. Chiropractic Care
Routine chiropractic care has so many benefits for your overall health. All couples trying to conceive should consider getting adjusted, especially if you’re struggling with infertility.
Chiropractic reduces stress and minimizes any interference there may be in your nervous system. Regular chiropractic care can improve your breathing, blood vessel dilation, and digestion. All of which, can help encourage a fertilized egg to move through the fallopian tubes.
If your pelvis is out of alignment, it could be putting too much pressure and stress on your reproductive organs, preventing you from getting pregnant. You AND your partner may both benefit from chiropractic care.
9. Prep Your Vagina
There are even certain things you can do to make your vagina as sperm-friendly as possible! Start by avoiding vaginal sprays and scented tampons and soaps, which can alter the pH of your lady parts. Steer clear of artificial lubricants, vegetable oil, glycerin, and even saliva when having sex, as these are known to kill off sperm.
You’ll also want to avoid douching, or washing out your vagina with soaps or vinegar, as this can upset the natural balance of your vaginal flora, increasing your chance of infection and pelvic inflammatory disease. It may also wash away the cervical mucus, which is crucial for sperm transportation (source).
Douching has even be linked to ectopic pregnancies and cervical cancer (source). Just say no to douching. All you need is plain water to keep your vaginal in optimal baby-making health.
10. Get Your Teeth Checked
Pregnancy does some weird stuff to your body. And, that includes your teeth.
The changes in periodontal tissue that comes with pregnancy, puts you at greater risk for gingivitis and periodontitis. These conditions can cause swollen bloody gums, loosening teeth, and may even lead to dead or lost teeth.
It’s important to get your teeth checked pre-pregnancy in case you already have disease present. Restoring your oral health now will help prevent the condition from worsening to an irreversible state during pregnancy.
You’ll also want to visit your dentist before you start trying for a baby, because it’s best to avoid x-rays, antibiotics, pain meds, and procedures during pregnancy. Get all your previously placed fillings, crowns, root canals, etc. checked now. Establish a baseline with your dentist, so you can maintain good oral health throughout your entire pregnancy (source).
11. Boost Your Immune System
Pregnancy naturally lowers your immune system, so it’s best to get it as strong as possible before you conceive. A lot of these are already mentioned within this post, but you can enhance your immune system by:
- Eating healthy foods: Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables will help keep you in tip top shape. There are also certain foods that contain essential nutrients and antioxidants to help boost your immune system, such as blueberries, dark chocolate, spinach, and sunflower seeds (source).
- Exercising regularly: Maintaining a healthy weight and getting routine exercise will help strengthen your body, so you can fight off illnesses faster.
- Getting plenty of rest: Getting plenty of rest is also crucial to a healthy immune system. Try to aim for 7-9 hours each night.
- Minimizing stress: When you’re stressed, your body’s ability to fight off viruses is lowered, making you more susceptible to illness.
- Getting out in the sun: Vitamin D is such a powerful immune booster, and all you have to do to get some is to spend 20-30 minutes outside a day. If you live in a cold climate, considering eating vitamin D rich foods, like fish or cheese, or taking a supplement. Your prenatal vitamin may also contain some vitamin D (source).
- Healing your gut: Fermented foods that contain “good” bacteria, aka probiotics, help fight off “bad” bacteria, reduce inflammation, and increase your antioxidant activity. Foods, such as yogurt, kefir, or sauerkraut can help heal your gut, improving your overall health.
12. Avoid Zoonotic Diseases
There are certain viruses and illnesses that could be detrimental to your pregnancy, such as toxoplasmosis, leptospirosis, and lymphocytic choriomeningitis (also called LCMV). Toxoplasmosis is transmitted by eating undercooked meat or directly touching cat poop. Make sure all your meat is throughly cooked before and during pregnancy, and let your partner handle the cat box until your baby is born. Most people do not show signs of toxoplasmosis, but it can be very harmful to an unborn baby and to those with weakened immune systems.
Leptospirosis infection occurs when a human comes into contact with contaminated animal urine. Becoming infected during pregnancy could lead to some serious outcomes, including fetal or maternal death. It’s a good idea to wear protective gloves when cleaning up animal urine, in the off chance the animal is infected (source). Leptosporosis is pretty rare in cats, but you can learn more about the symptoms, signs, and risks for dogs over on the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) website.
LCMV is another zoonotic disease that can be transmitted through rodents, such as hamsters, mice and guinea pigs. If you have one of these animals, it’s best to find another caregiver for them for the time being.
13. Give Yourself a Wide Window
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself by expecting to get pregnant within a very short time frame. Minimize stress and worrying by giving yourself a year or two to conceive. If you’ve been taking birth control, it may take your body a few months to even just get adjusted off of it.
14. Do the Deed!
You can’t get pregnant without having sex (Shocker right?). So, start hitting the sack with your loved one.
You may want to consider tracking your cycle, so you know when you’re ovulating. That way you can be sure to have sex when you’re most fertile.
However, if this is just putting too much stress and anxiety on you, you may want to skip it. All that stress will only decrease your chances of getting pregnant.
Just take this time to connect with your partner and enjoy it. Have fun with it, get romantic, and put your heart into it.
15. Have Positive Vibes
Having a positive attitude will help lower your stress and increase your chances of becoming a mom. Being pessimistic and hard on yourself is only going to make matters worse. Remember, stress can play a huge role in your chances of becoming pregnant, as it messes with your hormones and puts you at risk of engaging in unhealthy habits. Which, in turn, results in lower fertility.
Instead, focus on what you CAN control. Celebrate your small wins. Give yourself a pat on the back for making your body as healthy as can be for when your baby does decide to implant. You’ll be giving your baby the best chance you possibly can and that already makes you an awesome mama!
Off to a Healthy Start
With this list, you’ve got everything you need to get your pregnancy off to a healthy start. By preparing your body before you conceive, you’ll be more likely to have a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby.
If you and your partner are thinking about conceiving soon, be sure to get a pre-conecption checkup and start engaging in healthy habits. You’ll want to start taking your folic acid (or folate), exercising routinely, and minimizing stress. Cut out the smoking, alcohol, and toxins, and try to steer clear of certain zoonotic diseases which could be detrimental to your pregnancy.
And, most importantly, have sex and stay positive! You’re already a great mom by making your body as healthy as can be before your baby is even here!
What About You?
Did you do anything special to prepare your body for pregnancy? Share your experiences with us in the comments below and be sure to share this post with all your friends that are hoping to conceive soon too.