Starting a family and having a baby is a dream many loving couples share. However, when trying to conceive, you can take steps that will make the process of falling pregnant easier. We now look at how to prepare yourself for having a baby.
When to stop taking birth control
It takes many women a couple of cycles to fall pregnant, but it can happen as soon as you stop taking birth control. It is paramount to consider this when you are ready to conceive.
You should maintain a record of your menstrual cycle, which will help you determine when you are ovulating. This simple step can help you as a reference point, especially if you have any problems.
Diet and lifestyle changes
While exercise and a healthy diet are always beneficial, it becomes imperative to prepare yourself for nine months of pregnancy.
If you already have an exercise regime in place, stick to your usual routine before falling pregnant. Regarding food; avoid raw meat, caffeine, fish, and chocolate as being relatively fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help you conceive.
Smoking and alcohol
It is essential to stop smoking and drinking. This rule applies to both dads and moms to be.
According to studies, alcohol and smoking affects a man’s testosterone levels, sperm count and sperm function.
Would-be parents are advised to try and stop smoking for at least three months before trying to fall pregnant. And it goes without saying, do not drink any alcohol or smoke during pregnancy, as it can affect the foetus.
Women who want to fall pregnant should start taking folic acid (which is found in all pregnancy supplements) for three months prior to conceiving. It reduces the risk of neural tube defects, like spina bifida.
It is advisable to begin taking supplements before you stop your birth control. Couples wishing to conceive should look for a supplement that is specifically formulated for pregnancy. Additionally, you can also eat foods rich in folates, such as whole grains and dark green leafy vegetables.
Dr. Mary Ellen Pavone, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and Medical Director of the in-vitro fertilization program at Northwestern Medicine’s Fertility and Reproductive Medicine department in Chicago also encourages the use a prenatal vitamin prior to pregnancy. This way, a woman can find one which is agreeable to her system. She also encourages women to stay on it during pregnancy.
Educate yourself on age-related fertility decline
When women age, their fertility decreases due to age-related changes in the ovaries. These changes decrease in both the quantity and quality of a woman’s eggs.
Moreover, as women age, there is also an increased risk of health-related issues, such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and the fallopian tubes’ blockage. All of these can contribute to a loss of fertility.
It is necessary to note a woman’s fertility gradually declines, beginning in her 30s, with a sharper decline after 37 years of age and an even steeper decline after hitting 40.
Advice for parents trying to conceive
Dr Deon van Zyl, obstetrician and gynaecologist at Mediclinic Panorama advises couples to relax and instead enjoy the process, over making it a chore. As this ensures, there is no stress and conflict in the relationship. “Also keep in mind that the average cycle is about 28 days. Start counting on the first day of your period (day one) and then have sex on day 13 and day 15, or day 14 and day 16. Have a break in between to give your partner some time to generate more sperm.” he says.
If a couple has not had success in approximately six months, one should not despair, but rather make an appointment with their respective gynaecologist.
While this can help you grow your family, be sure to visit your local obstetrician and gynaecologist for further information.