10 Things To Think About Before Conception
Let’s Have A Baby!
You’ve decided that the time has come, you and your partner are ready to start trying for a baby. But now what? Whether you consider yourself high on the ‘need to know’ scale or high on the ‘need to plan’ scale here at Mama Wellness Co. we use this foolproof (and extremely easy) list of 10 things to do once you’ve decided you’re ready to start trying.
- Get In With Your Doctor
Family planning visits offer a great opportunity to ask all of your burning questions: do I have to worry about Zika? Is my current medication regimen safe to continue as we being trying to conceive? Do I need to update any of my vaccinations? Additionally, these visits offer your doctor an opportunity to identify any potential pregnancy risks to you and the baby before pregnancy as opposed to during.
- Genetic Testing
There are 19 genetic diseases that are more commonly found among Ashkenazi Jews. My testing was covered by insurance, for my husband we used JScreen- he was able to swab and send from home. The Jewish Genetic Disease Consortium recommends genetic testing in interfaith couples stating that the Ashkenazi member of the couple gets screened first and if they are a carrier for a genetic disease the other parent-to-be should also be screened.
- Stop Popping The Pill
So long, birth control! We’ll keep this one short and sweet: when you stop using hormonal contraception or a non-hormonal IUD your fertility will return and when your fertility returns you can get pregnant. Believe it or not, you can get pregnant as soon as 24 hours after going off of birth control.
- Start Popping Other Pills
Start popping pills, prenatal vitamins that is. Most doctors recommend you start taking prenatal vitamins three months before you are hoping to conceive. If you know that you are going to start trying soonish- it’s not a bad idea to start taking your prenatal now. I simply swapped my daily lady vitamin for a prenatal.
- Meditation, Relaxation and Maybe Some Very Small Needles
Ohmmm your way to pregnancy. An increase in stress can have an impact on ovulation, which in turn can have an impact on getting pregnant. Try to utilize your favorite activities to lower your levels of stress: yoga, acupuncture, meditation, reading, running, painting, talking to your therapist. Working to decrease your stress can positively impact your overall health, and there is nothing wrong with that!
- Get to know your cycle.
There are 3-5 days each month in which you can get pregnant. And there are tons and tons of tools to help you identify those 3-5 days. You can use sticks you pee on that identify changes in your hormones, a magnifying glass that looks at the ferning pattern in your saliva, fertility monitors, taking your temperature or one of many apps to track your cycle. I recommend finding the tool that fits into your life seamlessly and doesn’t stress you out. These tools can help guide you to better understanding when you are most fertile.
- So long, latte. Well, sort of.
Do you reach for coffee before water in the morning? Once you know you’re ready to start trying for a baby, begin thinking about cutting down on caffeine. The maximum recommended intake of caffeine during pregnancy is 200mg per day, this is equivalent to 3 cups of coffee or 4 cups of strong tea. If you rely on 3+ cups of caffeine per day it could be helpful to start cutting back now. It will make cutting back much easier once you become pregnant.
- Set Realistic Expectations.
Most couples will not get pregnant in their first month of trying. That said, most couples WILL get pregnant within 12 months of trying to conceive. I always recommend setting a realistic window of expectation, usually between 3 and 12 months, to help relieve some of the natural pressure that comes with trying to conceive. Allow yourself to live within healthy expectations and understanding that getting pregnant may take time. Most of what I’ve heard from reproductive endocrinologists suggests that if you have been having timed intercourse for 12 months and have not conceived, it is a good time to talk to your doctor. If you are a lady over 35, some recommend contacting your doctor after 6 months of timed intercourse.
- Let’s Talk About Sex
Let’s be honest, timing sex with your partner can take the fun and whimsy out of it. When sex feels like a ‘have to’ and not a ‘want to’ but you know you need to have sex to continue your efforts to get pregnant just remember that having sex daily during your fertile time (usually several days leading up to ovulation, and then the day you ovulate) does not increase your chances of getting pregnant. You don’t have to overdo it. My doctor recommended sex every other day during my most fertile days.
- Baby Bucket List
I tell couples to make a pre-baby bucket list and then to start checking items off! Go on adventures, see all of the live music, work on your relationship, travel, read, pack away the sleep. Most importantly, try to have fun, relax and make your pre-baby life a life you love.