It is important to prepare yourself for pregnancy because being in good health makes it easier to become pregnant. Read on to learn more about how you can prepare your body for pregnancy.
What to know before pregnancy
1. Getting body ready
Improving your health to prepare for pregnancy starts with exercising regularly and you may be recommended to lose weight to reach a healthy weight. The best exercises are running, cycling, yoga, and aerobic exercises; these also help with breathing and meditation.
2. Preparing your mind
Stress has a clear impact on conception, and your thoughts and feelings are connected to your mental health. How you manage your day-to-day life is also important. Elevated stress hormones can lead to delayed ovulation or irregular menstruation.
3. Financial statement preparation
Money plays an important role in preparing for pregnancy because adding a baby to the family will increase expenses by one- or two-fold. Expenses begin before pregnancy and will continue to increase after. Thus, it is important to be financially ready for pregnancy.
Preparing for pregnancy
Both partners must prepare physically for pregnancy through health screenings and self-care to prevent any diseases that can be passed on to a baby. Confirming that both partners are healthy also helps ensure that the baby will be healthy and will decrease the risk of complications.
1. Preconception counseling with a doctor
At Beyond IVF we offer a complimentary counseling session for those preparing to become pregnant or those who are experiencing infertility. We also offer detailed fertility testing that includes:
Blood testing for infectious diseases that may affect the baby, concentration of blood cells, rubella antibodies, blood sugar levels, HIV, and genetic conditions like thalassemia.
There are many types of thalassemia, some that are serious enough to cause fetus death during pregnancy. Some can cause severe anemia that requires frequent blood transfusions, but other types may not cause any symptoms other than mild anemia. The likelihood of thalassemia passing on to a baby are as follows:
If both parents have thalassemia, the baby has a 100% chance of having thalassemia.
If both parents are carriers, there is a 25% chance that the baby will be completely healthy, a 50% chance that they will be a carrier, and a 25% chance that they will have thalassemia.
If only one parent is a carrier and the other isn’t, there’s an equal chance that the baby will be a carrier or not.
If one parent has thalassemia and the other doesn’t, there’s a 100% chance that the baby will be a thalassemia carrier.
If one parent has thalassemia and the other is a carrier, there’s an equal chance that the baby will have thalassemia or be a carrier.
Blood testing for reproductive hormone levels to assess ovarian and testicular function and hormonal balance, including:
Anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) indicates the quality of the ovaries as it is produced by the ovaries
Estradiol (ER) is a basic female hormone
Progesterone (P4) is important for conception and maintaining a pregnancy as it prepares the uterus
Luteinizing hormone (LH) is produced by the pituitary gland to stimulate testicular and ovarian functions and without LH, reproduction is impossible
Prolactin (PRL) is produced by the pituitary gland and supports sperm production in men and regulates menstruation in women as well as prepares the breasts for lactation after birth
Follicular-stimulating hormone (FSH) helps eggs mature so they can be fertilized by sperm
Transvaginal ultrasound may be done to check the uterus and ovaries to make sure there are no growths or cysts or any abnormalities that might directly or indirectly impact pregnancy.
Eat a varied and balanced diet with foods from the five food groups. Avoid foods high in fat and sugar. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, including leafy green vegetables, nuts and legumes, corn, oranges, and bananas.
These are high in folic acid, which lowers the risk of spina bifida. Focus on whole grains and brown rice to get enough carbohydrates and eat protein at every meal. Iron is also very important during pregnancy for the development of the baby’s brain.
If you are underweight or overweight..
If you are not a healthy weight, this can impact your ability to become pregnant. Having a higher-than-normal body fat composition can lead to overproduction of estrogen, which affects ovulation.
3. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol
Smoking isn’t just harmful to health in general, but during pregnancy can affect the baby’s development and their hearts. Smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy.
Avoid drinking alcohol
There is no “safe” amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy. Drinking alcohol while pregnant puts the baby’s development at risk and carries long-term complications.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercising regularly when you’re planning to become pregnant helps manage stress and increases the chances of becoming pregnant. A healthy pregnant person helps ensure that the baby growing inside them is also healthy. Exercise shouldn’t be too strenuous and walking, swimming, aerobic exercises, and yoga are recommended.
5. Get enough sleep
It is important to get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep helps manage stress and stress is a leading cause of infertility as stress hormones disrupt reproductive hormones, preventing ovulation and making it harder for fertilized eggs to implant in the uterus.
6. Consult with doctor about your medications
If you are taking medications and planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about whether the medications can impact pregnancy. Some may need to be stopped for a time. If you are taking oral contraceptive pills, you will be asked to stop.
Pregnancy might happen right away when you stop or it may take a few months for ovulation to resume. Becoming pregnant immediately after stopping birth control is not dangerous.
However, stopping birth control for a time before becoming pregnant can help the uterine lining become thicker, making it easier for an embryo to implant.
The vaccines you should receive before becoming pregnant include:
The MMR (mumps, measles, and rubella) vaccine and the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine should be given at least three months before pregnancy.
The flu vaccine should be given during pregnancy to prevent severe complications.
The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) vaccine is a combined vaccine and a booster should be given every 10 years. If you are planning to become pregnant, get the booster at least one month before pregnancy or during pregnancy, after 27 weeks, to pass on immunity to the baby.
The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine to prevent cervical cancer is recommended for girls and women between 9 and 26 years, but is not recommended during pregnancy. All three doses should be completed for highest efficacy. If you received a dose before you became pregnant, wait until you have given birth to receive the remaining doses.
Both hepatitis A and B can be passed from the mother to the baby so it is important to check if you’ve received these vaccines before you are pregnant.
Physically preparing for pregnancy is very important. If you are wondering how to best prepare your body for pregnancy, visit a doctor or do some research into how you can take care of yourself to ensure an easy pregnancy and a healthy baby.