Choosing to be prepared for parenthood is an incredible gift to your future little one. There are many ways that you can get ready including gathering support and advice from trusted friends and mentors, making financial plans, and getting yourself in top-notch health.
Your top chances of getting pregnant are resting on your stress levels. In the human body, cortisol (the hormone that is released when you feel stress) is the trump card, and all other hormones fall by the wayside when cortisol is released. Reducing your stress will allow your body to do what it does best - promote health. Your body will be in its best state to conceive if you can find ways to relax, and the method you use to do so is totally personal. De-stress using walking, yoga, music and massage.
You can use Natural Family Planning methods to pinpoint your most fertile days of each cycle. Visit www.fertilityfriend.com for more details on how to use daily temperature charting to increase your chances of conceiving.
It is important to maintain a healthy diet when trying to conceive. This will increase your fertility. There are a number of nutrients to keep an eye on because conception can occur at any time. You may not know you are pregnant until weeks later, so optimal nutrition will ensure that your baby gets what it needs from the beginning. Taking a multivitamin can be a good safety net, just make sure these nutrients are in proper quantities:
Folic Acid: I recommend 1 mg of the B vitamin folate or folic acid every day. It is water-soluble so you must pay attention to it daily, not “overall”. It can reduce your baby’s risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida). Folic acid is in dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale), citrus, nuts, legumes, whole grains, and fortified foods (like bread and cereal). You can also consider a supplement and many multivitamins will contain adequate folic acid (a pill containing .4 - .8mg should be sufficient if you are also eating healthy).
Minerals: Getting enough calcium, magnesium and phosphorus will help your baby grow strong from the beginning. A multivitamin with all of these minerals should help, but it may be more beneficial to take them as a separate supplement, away from your multi, as the iron in a multi may inhibit calcium absorption.
Iron: Build your iron stores because your growing baby will use them (and the iron you provide through breastmilk) as their body’s source until they are one year old. As with calcium, taking an iron supplement separately can be beneficial.
DHA: This healthy fat is essential for a growing brain from day 1. You can add to it your diet through fish, or through pregnancy-safe supplements. Certain vegetarian omega-3’s like flax seeds offer ALA fat which can be converted in the body to DHA, but has a low conversation rate especially if you aren’t particularly healthy, so you may need to increase your intake.
Alcohol, drugs, smoking and other harmful chemicals should be avoided, and caffeine intake should be reduced. And did you know? Daily intake of over 300 mg of caffeine can reduce fertility by 27%. It also decreases absorption of calcium and iron.
There are of course fertility tips for the man in your life too. I may not be an expert on whether he should wear boxers or briefs but there are nutritional considerations: Men should make sure to get enough zinc in their diet to keep their sperm count high.
Want to read more? As a library junkie, I recommend you borrow the following books:
Nutrition for a Healthy Pregnancy by Elizabeth Somer
Fertility & Conception by Karen Trewinnard
Before Your Pregnancy - Amy Ogle
The Fastest Way to Get Pregnant Naturally - Christopher William