If you’re actively trying to conceive a baby with your partner, there are a few lifestyle changes you should make to ensure both you and your baby are healthy. From medications to your diet, here is everything you need to know about experiencing a healthy pregnancy, even before you conceive.
Know When You’re Ovulating
For women wanting to get pregnant, you first need to know when you’re ovulating. During ovulation, the ovary releases a matured egg that is pushed down to the Fallopian tube to get fertilized by sperm, making it the time women are the most fertile and most likely to conceive.
Women ovulate two weeks before their next period and, according to doctors, are likely to get pregnant five days prior to ovulation. Keeping track of your cycles and ovulation can be tricky with a busy lifestyle. Make sure to take advantage of helpful resources like menstrual calendars and ovulation calculators to be sure you’re trying to conceive when you’re the most fertile.
Complete a Pre-Pregnancy Check-Up
A healthy pregnancy starts with making sure both partners are in good health to have a baby. Before you conceive, you and your partner should see your doctors for a pre-pregnancy check-up. This gives you both the chance to get your questions answered by a trained medical professional, and as well as the opportunity to make sure you are both physically and emotionally ready to conceive a baby.
At the appointment, you doctor will complete a full physical exam and will check your medical history to make sure there is nothing that could affect your pregnancy. The genetic history of both partners and families will also be examined to reduce the risk of passing a chromosomal condition to your baby. If there is a cause for concern in your history, your doctor may recommend a carrier screening test to determine exactly your risk of passing a genetic disease to your baby.
Increase Intake of Iron-Rich Foods
Anemia, a condition caused by an iron deficiency, is a common problem among Indian women. In fact, India is home to the highest number of anemic women in the world. It is suggested this is because of increased rates of poverty, malnutrition, poor sanitation and an imbalanced diet throughout the country. It has also been found that anemia is the top cause of maternal deaths in India – making it a major cause for concern for anyone who is pregnant or is thinking about conceiving.
To prevent becoming anemic, be sure you diet includes food rich in iron. Increase your consumption of meat, raisins, prunes, beans and spinach to fortify your iron levels and reduce developing this condition.
Check Your Meds
The medications you are taking could have a major impact on the health of you baby. Some aren’t “baby-friendly” and could cause birth defects. In addition, pregnant women are not normally included in drug studies, meaning we have little to no research on how a medication will affect you or your baby during pregnancy.
Avoid any unnecessary health risk by discussing any current medication you are taking with your doctor. This includes prescriptions, over the counter meds, vitamins and supplements. Be sure you are only taking medications that are absolutely necessary for your health. Your doctor can also prescribe a baby-friendly alternative meds if need be.
Add Fertility-Boosting Foods to Your Diet
Infertility is becoming an issue for a lot of Indian couples. Stress, caffeine intake, smoking and your age can all affect how long it takes you to conceive. Recent trends, including a spike in working hours and a tendency to wait longer to get married, have contributed to an increase in infertility in both Indian men and women.
While there are some things you need to avoid to boost your fertility, there are certain foods you can add to your diet to increase the chances of conceiving. This includes leafy greens, whole grains, eggs, legumes, meat, and lots and lots of water.
Protect Yourself from Air Pollution
Throughout India, we are dealing with air pollution and its effects on the population. Pregnant women living in areas with high pollution levels need to be proactive to protect themselves and their babies from the long-term consequences unclean air can have. Studies have shown extreme air pollution can result in preterm delivery, low birthweight and irregular brain development.
While you can’t avoid all pollution, you can take a few steps to minimize your exposure. Avoid early morning walks when pollution levels are at their highest, wear a mask to filter pollutants when you must go outside and invest in an air purifier to reduce the risk in your home.
Consider Carrier Screening
With genetic diseases being so widespread throughout India, you may want to consider a carrier screening test – especially if you suffer from a genetic condition or have a family history of one. These DNA screening tests were developed to determine if you or your partner carry any genetic disorders that could affect your baby’s health or be passed on to your baby.
With a simple blood test, carrier screening can detect diseases specific to the Indian population. Once you receive your results, a certified genetic counselor can help you understand your options and help you decide the next step.
Develop a Support System
Even the healthiest people can take more time than planned to conceive a baby. There are many factors that go into a successful pregnancy, which means you may not get pregnant right away. This is completely normal but there is still a stigma when it comes to infertility in married, Indian women. The stress of not getting pregnant right after marriage could affect your overall health and slow down your chances of conceiving.
To combat this, make sure you have a support system in place that you can turn to when you’re feeling overwhelmed and unsure. This could be a family member or friend, or even your doctor. Don’t let the stigma of not getting pregnant right away affect your chances down the road.
Check Something off Your Bucket List
Before your life is consumed with doctor appointments, baby showers and preparing your home for your newest arrival, be sure you and your partner take some time for yourselves. Your lives and priorities will drastically change the moment you find out you’re pregnant, and even more so once you deliver, so there is no better time to check something off your bucket list than pre-conception .
Take a trip, add an addition to your house, or get a new puppy. Trust me, it is so much harder to accomplish anything when you’ve got what feels like a 20 lb. watermelon growing under your shirt.