Clueless about how to get pregnant? This may just be the thing you need. It’s time to gain the know-how by reading the pre pregnancy preparation tips to guide you on this journey.When you’re most fertile, what you should eat, when to go for check-ups and what you should be avoiding…. theAsianparent.com answers your questions.
Must read pre pregnancy preparation tips
When am I most fertile?
In terms of fertility, women are at their best between 20-24. However, the trend of having children at a later age is out there in today’s world. Since the mid 1970s there has been a four-fold increase in the percent of first births to women 30 years and older.
Therefore, it’s important to know that by the age of 35, fertility is already spiralling downwards. Of course you can try for a kid at that age but complications may arise, such as, miscarriages and diabetes in the mother and Down syndrome and autism in the child.
Besides using a calendar to chart your fertile period, be sure to check out your cervical mucus. The cervix produces mucus that protects the body from sperm, bacteria and other organisms.
Several days each month, the stability of the mucus changes to allow sperm to enter. You can determine your fertile period by observing these changes. Do your checks before you shower, bathe, or swim as these activities can all affect the quantity and quality of your cervical mucus.
Is there a link between fertility and a nutritional diet?
Have a diet that balances out the calories, carbohydrates, protein and fibres. Eat wholemeal carbs instead of white carbs such as polished rice, white bread and pasta because they have 15 different nutrients removed. A daily portion of omega-3 fats is also recommended and avoid excess saturated fat.
Water is the most important fertility food to consume. Your baby is your seed. Therefore, water is important to help your baby to grow. It also helps maintain a normal pregnancy.
Bulk up on folic acid, as it is crucial in the formation of blood cells and in the development of the baby’s nervous system. Part of vitamin B, folic acid can be found leafy vegetables, liver and certain cereals. And we’re not just talking about women here, men too should have folic acid in their daily diet. Also bulk up on iron and calcium.
If you love tea and your husband loves colas, then there is a problem. The caffeine in these has been shown to reduce fertility in men by 50% which makes it twice as long to fall pregnant. However, green tea has been given the nod for boosting fertility.
Stay away from diets! Starvation diets, purging, bingeing, and yo-yo dieting can affect your ovulation and consequently your fertility.
Preparing for pregnancy
Taking an antenatal supplement ensures that you are getting enough important minerals and vitamins. Ask your doctor to recommend an antenatal supplement for you.
Think about your weight
Being under or over weight can pose health risks during your pregnancy. Now more than ever, you want to target a healthy BMI and weight. If you are overweight, then start eating a balanced diet and start exercising. Crash dieting can deplete your body’s nutritional stores. Aim for a safe weight loss of 1 kg a week.
If you are underweight, your risk of miscarriage is higher. Underweight mums are also more likely to have low-birth weight babies. So increase your intake of food, but do avoid snacking or gorging yourself on chocolates.
What kind of a check-up should I go for?
Choose a gynaecologist and visit him/ her to discuss your conception chances, any medical problems that you may have or had that may affect your conception or pregnancy and if your family has a history of genetic problems. It is best to do this with your husband.
Here’s a pre pregnancy preparation tip: Try to book the last appointment of the day for your preconception check-up. That’s when your doctor is most likely to be able to take the time to answer your questions and address your concerns without feeling rushed to attend to the next patient.
If you are having pain on one side around your tummy area, feel bloated and sense fatigue– then have a pelvic ultrasound scan that will check for ovarian cysts and fibroids in the womb. Ovarian cysts can be treated by hormonal tablets and at times surgery is not needed. Fibroids usually require surgery. Check with your doctor.
Besides my body, what else should I be thinking of?
No doubt, getting your body in shape and being mentally prepared for pregnancy and then motherhood should on top of the list. But there are other things that you should be considering too, because once you are actually pregnant, you will find that you have less and less time time and even lesser mental bandwidth to consider some of them.
Once such thing is financial planning. Having a baby is blessing and a joy, but it is also an expensive proposition. However, the expenses don’t just begin when the baby actually arrives in this world – they begin to stack up pretty much from the time when he is just a tiny little foetus inside you.
No parents want to think about what can go wrong with a pregnancy – it is a thought that we all shy away from. But in the really unfortunate case that this does happen, you need to make sure that amidst all the unbelievable emotional stress, you are not under financial stress as well.
You need to look at financial plans that cover pregnancy complications, congenital illnesses for baby and also perhaps helps you get coverage for yourselves to enable building savings.
What should I avoid
Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and harmful substances. Wait a minute! You have heard this a million times before, haven’t you? Anyway, now you actually have a reason to stay away from these. Miscarriages, underdevelopment in the baby’s growth (in the womb), placenta bleeding are just some complications that can occur from smoking.
While you are avoiding these with hubby, there is something else he needs to be aware of and try to steer clear of – heat. Heat is bad news. Chefs have lower sperm counts than average men, because they’re exposed to intense heat from ovens. This also means men shouldn’t wear tight pants and trousers, which can cause the sperm to overheat.
This article is part of series supported by AXA to help mums to be in their journey from pregnancy to motherhood.