You have decided it’s time to start a family. Before you begin the fun preparation like choosing names or decorating the nursery, there are some things you need to do to prepare your body. Getting your body ready is important for conception, pregnancy and delivery. There are four steps that are wise to take before you even think about buying that first bag of diapers.
Pre-Pregnancy Step #1 – Develop a regular exercise routine
If exercise isn’t already a daily part of your routine, then make it a daily priority, immediately! A regimen of cardiovascular exercise and strength training is just a smart way to maintain a healthy body when you aren’t trying to get pregnant. It is even more important when wanting to conceive. A body that is in shape will handle pregnancy better than an out of shape body. Women who exercise throughout pregnancy report having an easier time giving birth. Furthermore, women who have a normal body mass index (18.5 – 24.9) have a greater fertility rates than women who have a higher body mass index. Exercise is one of the two essential keys to keeping that weight at a healthy level.
Pre-Pregnancy Step #2 – Adopt Proper Eating Habits
The other essential key to keeping your weight at a healthy level is to eat properly. First of all, you don’t want to be eating too little. A weight that is below recommended levels for age and height can cause ovulation to stop. A weight that is above recommended levels for age and height can cause hormonal imbalances that can diminish fertility. Find out what your target weight range should be and get there, either by eating more, or eating less and exercising more. If you are at a healthy weight, but the quality of what you are eating could be improved, get into the habit of healthy eating before you get pregnant. It will make losing the post baby weight that much easier.
Pre-Pregnancy Step #3 – Stop Taking Oral Contraceptives
Once your body is ready to conceive, it is time to stop the pill. The birth control pill’s primary job is to stop ovulation. So, if you are on the pill and thinking about having a baby, it is a good idea to stop taking the pill a few months prior to trying to get pregnant. Some women will be ovulating a couple of weeks after they stop taking the pill, but other women don’t begin ovulating again for a few months. Once you stop the pill, you can determine whether or not you have started ovulating again by charting your basal temperature, checking the changes in your cervical mucus, or taking an at-home ovulation test.
Pre-Pregnancy Step #4 – Stop Using Alcohol and Tobacco
Most people in this culture understand that alcohol, tobacco and drugs can adversely affect a baby while the mother is using during pregnancy. However, many people don’t know that drinking, smoking and using drugs can dramatically affect fertility. Studies show couples that smoke have a greater rate of infertility than those couples that don’t use tobacco. Studies have shown that nicotine drastically reduces sperm count. Alcohol is known to alter hormonal levels in women, which can halt ovulation, or stop the menstrual cycle altogether. Alcohol and tobacco definitely don’t help the chances of getting pregnant and they definitely do hurt the chances of it.
Get your body ready and you are sure to have a better chance at conception and a healthy baby will be in your future very soon.
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