Baby planning is one of the most important decisions to make in a relationship. Just as with any major decision, it is very vital to know when and how to cross the t’s and dot the i’s!
A lot of times, information you get is based on you being pregnant. How about before pregnancy? How many people are truly prepared to be parents? It is not as glamorous as painted by celebrities, photoshoots or movies, it is a load of work and takes tons of commitment mentally, physically and financially. In this article, we take a look at those things you need to know before you actually start planning to have babies.
1. Ensure both of you are on the same page
Have a talk with your partner/spouse to confirm that they are equally as ready as you are. Talk about expectations and how to handle whatever outcomes come your way. Discussions involving money should not be off limits. Discuss healthh insurance packages, determine parenting styles and emotional involvement. nothing should be left to chance. Just ensure the principal parties are ready for the journey into parenthood.
2. Have a chat with your doctor
it is vital that you both check the status of your health with your doctor to know if your body is ready to accept a baby. He/she will review your personal and family medical history, your current health, and any medications or supplements you’re taking. Some medications and supplements are a no-no during pregnancy, and may need to either be discontinued or replaced before you can even consider conception.
Your doctor will possibly discuss diet, weight, exercise, and any unhealthy habits you may have (such as smoking, drinking, and taking drugs); recommend a multivitamin; make sure you’re up to date on your immunizations; test you for immunity to childhood diseases such as chicken pox; and answer any questions you have. In addition, you may be referred to a specialist if you have certain medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, that need to be controlled before you get pregnant.
If it’s been at least a year since you had a checkup, you can also expect to have a pelvic exam and a Pap smear, and to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases if you’re at risk.
3. If you have been on birth control pills, now is the best time to probably stop
Which should be at least 2 months before you indeed plan to start conceiving. Birth control pills tamper with your monthly cycle, stopping it at least 2 months prior allows your body to return to default settings. If you have been taking the pill for quite a while, it might take a bit longer for your hormone levels to balance out, but if you are yet to see your periods after 3 months, it is probably a great idea to have your doctor check you out.
4. Pre-conception supplements are advised
The process of the egg and sperm cells maturing before conception takes about 100 days, it is usually advised during the baby planning process, to start taking prenatal supplements at least three months before you start trying to conceive. Allow your doctor prescribe the best option for you based on your own unique needs. however, commonly prescribed are;
- fish oils supplements because they help reduce the risk of preterm delivery and increase infant weight, height, and head circumference.
- multivitamin supplements – which must be a mix of iron, calcium, folic acid, and potassium iodide – because they increase the odds of becoming pregnant and reduce your risk of pregnancy loss.
- watch out for vitamin A though. Too much can cause birth defects so confirm the prescribed dosage from your doctor.
5. Improve on your sleeping habits
Studies show that women who get too little sleep while baby planning, tend to have more problems ovulating regularly than those who don’t. Try to catch up on more sleep now as it may even help you get pregnant faster. Sleepless nights do not just come after baby, a lot of sleepless nights are associated with pregnancy too, especially when dealing with heart-burns, constant peeing, muscle cramps, increased body heat, etc.
6. Avoid stress inducing environments
It has been proven by research, that during baby planning; having high levels of stress can interfere with the body’s ability to conceive such as reducing the chances of an embryo to implant or even messing with ovulation cycles. Constantly working on destressing yourself is important, but this is dependent on whether you know your stress levels or not. Identify the causes of your stress – work, lack of sleep, relationships, money – and decide on the several ways to destress yourself which is based on what works best for you. Engage in relaxing activities and hobbies and mentally prepare yourself for the pregnancy when it does happen. For some, it might mean resigning or taking a vacation from work.
7. Improve on your feeding habits
When baby planning; it is not just enough taking supplements, you need to support them by eating the right meals. Cut down on your junk, caffeine and fizzy drinks. Eat more nutritious meals that contain loads of protein, vitamins such as healthy meats, eggs, vegetables, fruits and do not forget the almighty water. Experts advice that fish with high levels of mercury (such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish) should be avoided during this period well into pregnancy and after childbirth. These help to prepare your body from within. It is easier for a healthy body to produce a healthy baby.
8. Check up on your dental health
You might think this totally unrelated, but, in baby planning; a lot of studies have connected oral hygiene to a healthy pregnancy. You probably did not know that women with unchecked gum disease are more prone to miscarriage, preterm birth, and preeclampsia? It is being touted that brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly can cut miscarriage risks by up to 70 percent. Having your teeth examined now gives you time to get gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) under control and get x-rays (which should be avoided during pregnancy) if you need them.
9. Cut down on your shopping for shoes and clothes
Which makes perfect sense, because body changes occur when conception happens. Not just increased body sizes, feet have been known to swell up as well. Instead, if you have to shop, shop for comfort or else focus on handbags, other accessories, books, or even fun stuff around the house. Or you can save up your money to get those beautiful maternity outfits especially as you are entering your second tri-mester. There will be plenty of time to shop after baby.
10. Do not joke with a fitness routine
Body weight plays a huge role in determining how your pregnancy journey goes. maintain a perfect BMI by creating an exercise regimen and sticking to it, after consulting with your doctor, of course. If you are having challenges creating one or being faithful to your plan, enlist the help of a coach. However, your routine does not have to be complicated. Activities as simple as walking, jogging or cycling can suffice. For flexibility incorporate yoga or stretching.
11. Have sex…and loads of it
The only way to increase your chances of conception is having sex more often. Once a week might just not cut it. While released eggs last for just a day, released sperm cells can survive for as long as 5 days. So having sex at least 3 times in a week will boost your chances. Do ensure you make it a fun and pleasurable experience though, when it feels contrived and official it affects the mental contribution needed. Pleasure keeps the cervix more lubricated which increases conception chances