Planning for pregnancy? These tips can help
Jun 22, 2022 • 7 min
If you’re trying to get pregnant, you know how exciting this time of your life can be. It can also be physically exhausting and emotionally stressful, especially if it takes awhile to conceive. Fertility struggles are a very common problem. Estimates suggest that 12% to 15% of couples in the United States are unable to conceive after a year of trying. If you’re preparing to get pregnant, here are a few simple tips to help you take care of yourself throughout the process.
Get a checkup
Once you decide to try to conceive, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider as part of your pregnancy preparation. Your provider can order pre-pregnancy tests to check for the risk of certain genetic disorders and can support you in making any necessary lifestyle changes. Your provider can also make sure that you’re up to date on all your immunizations before you get pregnant.
Start taking prenatal vitamins now
Prenatal vitamins are formulated to provide essential vitamins and minerals for both mom and baby. Research shows that healthy levels of folic acid (vitamin B9) can help prevent serious birth defects that may develop very early in the pregnancy (as early as 3 to 4 weeks, which is before most women know they’re pregnant). That means that if you’re trying to conceive, taking a prenatal vitamin every day is a smart way to protect your baby’s development from day one.
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Prioritize your everyday emotional well-being
If you’re feeling worried or overwhelmed these days, you’re not alone. But if you’re trying to conceive, it’s a good idea to find healthy ways to deal with those feelings. Studies suggest that stress can make it harder to get pregnant, which can be challenging if fertility struggles are a source of that stress. Try a few stress-busting self-care techniques, from spending time outside to connecting with friends. Establishing habits that support your emotional health now will continue to benefit you throughout pregnancy and beyond.
Check out some simple ways to give your everyday mental well-being a boost.
Get plenty of sleep
Research suggests that problems with sleep can make it harder to conceive. That means that if you’re trying to get pregnant, getting good-quality sleep each night is a smart move. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night.
Use an app to track your cycle
When it comes to getting pregnant, timing is important. Knowing where you are in your cycle, and when you’re due to ovulate, can help you see the days on which you’re most likely to get pregnant, so you can plan accordingly. There are several apps available to help you get a handle on your cycle, and some smartphones even have built-in cycle tracking already included in their health apps.
Cut out unhealthy habits
Taking steps to get as healthy as possible before you conceive can help you withstand the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s a great idea, for example, to exercise regularly, eat well and stay hydrated. But cutting out unhealthy habits now—like alcohol use and smoking, both of which are associated with reproductive risks—is another important way you can improve your health ahead of time. Stopping now will also make it easier to avoid drinking and smoking once you’re pregnant, helping to protect your baby from a host of serious health problems.
Don’t forget about your teeth
Women are particularly susceptible to developing dental problems during pregnancy, like gingivitis and cavities. Some oral health problems can even spell trouble for the developing fetus’s teeth, too. That’s why it’s important to make sure your teeth are in good shape before you get pregnant. Schedule a checkup with your dentist as part of your pregnancy preparation, and make sure to keep up with brushing and flossing both before and during pregnancy.
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