So you’ve decided to start trying. Yay! Or, maybe you stopped not trying a while ago, but haven’t gotten a Big Fat Positive (BFP) yet. Suddenly you’re getting unsolicited advice from family and friends, and you’re overwhelmed by all the information online. Where do you start? How do you prepare for this exciting and nerve-wracking stage of your life?
We know a thing or two about conception and pregnancy so we’ve put together a checklist to help you take some of the guesswork out of your conception journey. Whether you’re on the path to first-time parenthood, concerned about your ability to get pregnant, or growing your family again, this is a great place to start.
Schedule a visit with your doctor
Let your doctor know you're planning to have a baby, or that you’ve been trying without success and want to look into your options. Many folks will share with their ObGyn or primary care physician as a first step. When you’re at the beginning of your fertility journey, it’s the perfect time to check in and get advice on any health conditions that need to be managed during conception and pregnancy. Your doctor may also recommend genetic testing, often called carrier screening, at this point. These tests help show if you are a carrier for genetic disorders that could be passed on after conception. A variety of tests may be recommended based on your medical and family history. It may sound like a no-brainer, but the goal is to set yourself up for the healthiest pregnancy possible – so starting at the doctor makes perfect sense.
Consider pre-pregnancy health factors (like healthy diet and supplements, if advised)
‘Healthy’ looks different for everyone; what you eat or how much you weigh are just two of many health factors that can help you as you’re trying to conceive. If this is your first pregnancy or you haven’t been pregnant in a while, considering your medical and family history is a good idea. That’s why we started this checklist with a visit to your doctor – uncovering and addressing any health concerns at the get-go can mean a lot less uncertainty in your fertility and pregnancy journey.
While body size doesn’t determine your ability to get pregnant, weight can be one factor as you’re trying to conceive. Weight loss or gain can affect your hormones – and by extension, the timing or frequency of ovulation. For example, those underweight may struggle to get pregnant. And once you’ve gotten that BFP, your weight can impact a variety of pregnancy health conditions, like blood pressure and diabetes.
Another important factor is a balanced and nutrient-rich diet, to ensure that you’re getting everything you need for a healthy pregnancy. Your diet can also impact ovulation: nutrients like iron, vitamin D, and Omega-3s may help you avoid anovulation (when menstruation happens without ovulation) and are all found in foods you may already be eating. In addition to diet changes, you may be advised to start taking pre-pregnancy multivitamins and/or folic acid supplements. Be sure to talk to your doctor before you start taking any new vitamins, supplements, or medications. Not all of them will be right for you and many are not FDA regulated.
Prepare for lifestyle changes: exercise, alcohol, and smoking
This area gets a little messy, and here’s the truth: there’s a lot of conflicting information when it comes to what to avoid while pregnant. That being said, it’s safe to assume that moderating things like high-intensity workouts, reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, and quitting smoking can’t hurt. Take your doctor’s advice about lifestyle factors seriously, and check out our list of fertility risk factors.
Regular, moderate exercise like taking walks, bike rides, and swimming are a few ways to stay active. But if you’re extremely fit you may want to pull back on the amount and intensity of your workouts. As for caffeine and alcohol, we get it – you’re only human. Many doctors are comfortable with a weekly glass of wine or the occasional coffee, but it’s a good idea to start reducing your consumption early to make the transition easy.
As for smoking, it’s more cut and dry: nicotine consumption can impact fertility. It has the potential to damage the fallopian tubes and cervix, and to negatively affect the health and motility of sperm. For these reasons and the potential health of your baby, most health guidance recommends cutting nicotine and smoking out of your life before you start trying to conceive. And with the growth of your family on the horizon, there’s never been a better reason to quit.
Track your fertility window
Whether you’re conceiving through timed intercourse, home insemination, or any other method, knowing your ovulation cycle will be an important factor. This can be done the "old-fashioned" way by tracking your menstrual periods, but that process can take time to learn your body. The more efficient way is to use an Ovulation Predictor Kit or a digital tool. These at-home tests check for luteinizing hormones in your urine. When you get a positive test, that usually means you're about 36 hours away from the beginning of your next ovulation. Keep in mind that the tests work best if you have a regular menstrual cycle.
Reduce stress and keep sex sexy with home insemination
Stress is a big factor for many on the road to parenthood. Performance anxiety and the pressure of timed intercourse can pull all the fun out of a once intimate, enjoyable time with your partner. For anyone trying to conceive, navigating the many insemination options can lead to stress.
Home insemination with Mosie is a safe, simple, affordable alternative that's clinically proven to be as effective as both intrauterine insemination (IUI) and intercourse for conception. Our accessible home insemination kit can help you keep sex sexy while you’re trying to conceive. The Mosie Kit comes with two patented insemination syringes, is safe for sperm, made in the USA, and HSA/FSA eligible. Home insemination may be an option worth considering, no matter where you are in your fertility journey.
Getting pregnant is a huge milestone for many people. When you’re ready to start trying or worried that something isn’t working, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged. We’ve been there. With all the advice out there, we hope you’ll refer back to this list. We’re here cheering you on, wishing you success, and that BFP.
Article written by D. Foster Marketing and reviewed by Dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh, host of the Egg Whisperer Show.
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