What should I do to improve my health before conceiving?
Real Mom Problem
“I'm currently trying to conceive and I want to start getting my body ready. Should I be doing anything to prepare for baby?”
- 1. A healthy diet and exercise are not only good for your overall well-being; they can have a positive impact on fertility as well
- 2. Stress can affect your hormones, making it more difficult to conceive
- 3. Many experts recommend that you start taking prenatal vitamins and folic acid before you conceive
Real Mom Solutions
Did you know that eating healthy and staying in shape can increase your chances of conceiving? Learn what to eat and how to get your weight under control from the ladies of CafeMom.
Get Your Weight Under Control
Weight can significantly affect fertility, whether over or under.
Your doctor can calculate your BMI to determine your healthy weight range. Weight can be a very big factor in fertility (although plenty of bigger women carry healthy babies just fine!). I think health is something to focus on whether trying to conceive or not.
I thought being underweight was my problem for a long time. I am 5'1 and before pregnancy was 95-100 lbs. I started drinking Ensure to help, and exercising daily. It helped me gain a little weight but it was after I had all my dental work done that I got pregnant surprisingly. Dental and health problems are more an issue than weight as long as you're not extremely underweight.
I was 208 lbs before my first child and we tried for five years. As soon I got my thyroid under control and started walking and got my weight down to 179 lbs, I conceived four months later. Now it's my second year trying to conceive again, and still no luck, but my weight is up again. I'm going to start to diet and hope I can conceive again.
My lifestyle changes aren't just because I'm trying to conceive, but they won't hurt my efforts either. I am obese and am tired of it so I started making healthier food choices, counting calories, exercising, drinking more water, and although I haven't completely quit the soda I have cut back a lot and switched to a lower calorie, lower sugar version. I don't drink much to begin with and don't plan on doing it anytime soon.
Cut Down on Stress
Stress is much stronger than you think. You can stress without even knowing it, but your body will know. I started taking yoga. It hasn't helped with getting pregnant, but it does help with the anxiety of trying and waiting.
I think that attitude and state of mind, especially stress, can make a difference. We put so much pressure on ourselves as women, especially when we are trying to conceive. And if it doesn't work as fast as we expect it to, then we are quick to worry; wondering where we went wrong, and obsessing over every detail. I think this pressure and stress is too much for the body to handle. A body under stress is toxic. To the soul and to itself, let alone having to deal with creating a whole new life. That's why we so often hear about women getting pregnant when they "stopped trying" or were not even trying at all. Removing the stress creates a body more ready to handle pregnancy. So, I say we stop obsessing. Relax and above all, have fun. Making babies should be fun, right? And come from a place of love. There is nothing better than a baby made from love.
Stress causes this hormone called cortisol to collect in our bodies, and that hormone will mess with our female hormones and can prevent ovulation, cause miscarriages, and even make us fat.
Make Diet & Lifestyle Changes
I'm going to the gym 3-4 times a week (Zumba, Step-Kick) and we are walking as a family most nights. I'm also trying to give up soda but it's HARD! I'm also taking my prenatals along with folic acid and fish oil.
I believe that women can do things as simple as changing their diet to help with fertility. I've heard microwave popcorn can drastically affect fertility in negative ways. And processed foods in general don't help. I also believe how we prepare and store our foods makes a difference as well. They have shown BPA to mimic estrogen. Many plastics we store or heat food in contain BPA. Especially bad is the microwave as it alters both the genetic makeup of the food as well as heats the BPA within the plastics which will then leach into food. I think all this affects women's fertility as well.
My husband and I hired trainers a year ago and changed the way we eat and we've lost 130 lbs together. My trainer suggested the paleo diet or paleo solution. Cut out all dairy and beans, eat grass fed animal meat. We've been trying it and so far my stomach doesn't hurt like it used to and I don't have gas anymore. My trainer had infertility for five years and got on the paleo diet for two months and got pregnant.
If you happen to consume too many sugars/carbs then that excess sugar in your blood often causes your hormones to be off. This is very true for those with PCOS but can affect "normal" ladies as well. Taking cinnamon (you can buy it in capsule form) can actually help keep your levels in check. It will never DROP them like a medicine could, but it will help to stabilize them. And this might sound gross to you, but if I cave in and eat too many sweets, I eat a pickle. The vinegar in the cucumber helps to counter with the sugar and balance things!
I cut all caffeine out and my husband cut all alcohol out.
Taking probiotics can help with your immune system and digestive health. If you don't, I HIGHLY suggest trying them.
I cut out caffeine and I got my positive pregnancy test two months later. I now have a baby boy who is three weeks old.
I've been taking prenatal vitamins since we started trying. I recently started taking royal jelly, evening primrose oil, maca, and fish oil. I've also changed my diet to include more organic food and green tea.