Everyone knows it is important to make health a top priority when pregnant but it is also important to make it a priority before conceiving. If you are planning to have a child sometime in your future, you should be making healthy choices now as well. Let’s go over some of the ways you can start making changes now to help improve your chances of conceiving and to ensure you have a healthy pregnancy.If you take in excessive amounts of caffeine, start cutting back. I can appreciate what a challenge this can be. I love coffee. Lucky for me my taste buds always disliked the flavor when pregnant. But prior to getting pregnant, if you are taking in a lot of caffeine cut back. According to an article at www.americanpregnancy.org “some studies have shown a link between high levels of caffeine consumption and delayed conception. A few studies have shown that there may be an increase in miscarriages among women who consume more than 200 mg (one 12oz cup of coffee) a day versus those who do not consume any caffeine.” If you have a lot of stress in your life, find ways to eliminate some of what is causing it, or at least learn how to better manage it. Stress has been known to cause delayed or missed periods. This can also make it harder to conceive. Yoga and meditation are wonderful practices that can teach you how to better manage stress over time. These are practices however, and these skills take some cultivating, so better to start before you decide to conceive as opposed to after. Exercise is a great way to manage stress and make your body stronger at the same time. If you are overweight, start finding ways to get more activity into your day. A higher BMI has been linked to greater difficulties in conceiving. In a study conducted by Dr. Van der Steeg, a medical researcher at the Academic Medical Center in The Netherlands ,” researchers found that women with regular cycles, and otherwise no obvious fertility problems, still have a hard time getting pregnant if they are overweight. They also found that the more overweight the woman is, the lower her chances of pregnancy”. You can read more about this here. You can also seek counsel from a certified nutritionist to lose any excess weight and, at the same time, learn how to eat a well-balanced diet that will keep your body healthy and optimally nutritionally balanced. With that said, weighing too little can also have adverse effects of your abilities to get pregnant. If you have trouble putting on weight a nutritionist can still be equally helpful. If you have fear of putting on weight, have a current eating disorder or a history of them in the past, you need to get that fully in check first before even thinking about getting pregnant. If you are a smoker, quit. If you use recreational drugs, duh, stop. These last two may seem like a no brainer but let’s face it. Some adults do one or both of these things. Even if you quit tomorrow there is some damage that can be irreversible. Even if you don’t plan on getting pregnant for some time, these activities can have serious permanent effects on your ability to get pregnant or to carry a healthy baby to full term. They can also cause serious birth defects. Set up an appointment with your doctor and fully discuss what screenings might be appropriate before getting pregnant. Start reading books about pregnancy so that if any questions arise you can be proactive and address them beforehand. If you walk around sleep deprived most of the time start finding ways to fit more sleep into your day. Once you are pregnant you are going to need it anyway so may as well start now. Pregnancy brings about big changes in your body and your life. Big changes can be that much easier to handle when you are prepared. Taking care of you should be a priority regardless of when you may be planning to get pregnant. So regardless of your personal time line or even if you aren’t sure if you will ever want to conceive, these are positive changes you should make for you first. And if or when the time ever comes, your new addition will also reap the benefits.
Check out more from our fitness contributing author Jeannine Trimboli at her blog, Real [Fit] Life here!