Sunday 19 July 2020

Planning to get Pregnant - 7 Things to Consider

Photo by Anna Pritchard on Unsplash
{This is a collaborative post}

Getting pregnant, having a baby and becoming a parent are something many of us take for granted. Growing up I had no desire to have children of my own; I didn't have any younger family members, so I never babysat and spent time around little ones and I just didn't think they'd be a part of my life. Roll forward a number of years and I found the right partner and kids very firmly become a part of my future.

I never realised what a rollercoaster it could be to conceive and then have a baby though, that knowledge only came to me through experience. In October 2002 when my husband and I were on honeymoon we decided to try for a child and I stopped taking the pill. Having been on it for around a decade I was led to believe it was going to take 6 months to a year for it to leave my system and for me to fall pregnant. Not so! It really is different for everyone. I fell pregnant on 31st December 2002 and had JJ in early October 2003. From planning to having a baby in my arms in just under a year, it was no wonder I thought the second child would come easily.

Things often don't go as expected though and when we decided to try for another baby about a year after having JJ, it just didn't happen. It took until late 2006 and having been off work for a while with neuralgia bought on by bells palsy to fall pregnant again. Then we discovered it was a twin pregnancy, probably due to my taking a super high dose of vitamin B12 (for the bells palsy) and also folic acid at that time, as well as being stress-free.

Sadly the third trimester of both of my pregnancies were pretty tough with me suffering from pre-eclampsia but thanks to excellent health care professionals, like those at Alana Healthcare I had three healthy babies, and now three healthy teenagers!

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash

If you're thinking about conceiving a baby and becoming pregnant, you want to make sure you are in the optimum condition, physically. Read on...

1.   Get your weight into the healthy range

It is widely accepted that being overweight will increase your risk of pregnancy complications and it can make conceiving harder too. Losing even a few pounds or that excess stone can make a difference and surely the end result is worth the effort, Check out the Royal College of Gynaecologists leaflet on why your weight matters in pregnancy.

2.   Be aware of when you are ovulating

You can use a digital ovulation test or start tracking all your symptoms and get to know your body. Before I had the twins I had started to chart my basal body temperature for natural family planning and it was amazing how accurate it was, I started to be able to feel when I ovulated.

It can be so useful to know you are in the peak fertility time of the month so you can have intercourse as many times as possible. Also, if for any reason, you are not ovulating regularly this can act as a flag to get some professional medical advice early on.

3.   Start taking Folic Acid (Vitamin B9)

It's a good idea to start taking a folic acid supplement about 2-3 months before you want to conceive a baby. This gives it time to start building up in your body and will then afford the best protection for your baby against a neural tube defect, such as Spina Bifida. The NHS suggests you should take a 400 microgram supplement of folic acid every day before you get pregnant, and every day afterwards, up until you're 12 weeks pregnant.

4.   Make changes for a healthier lifestyle

We all have our vices and you don't have to move to total clean living for becoming pregnant but it is a good idea to cut back or give up smoking/ vaping, drinking alcohol, and of course, taking recreational drugs. It's also a good idea to start to move a bit more if you are normally very sedentary. Tommy's state that "research has shown that being active before and during early pregnancy can reduce your risk of having problems in pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia."

5.   Talk to your GP if you have a long-term condition

If you have an ongoing condition such as diabetes or epilepsy it is a good idea to talk to your regular GP before attempting to get pregnant, as they can advise on the best course of action for you and set up a plan to monitor your condition once you are pregnant.

6.   Sleep well

Potentially once pregnant (think heartburn, night time peeing and being uncomfortable with a bump) and certainly once you've had your baby, your sleep pattern is going to change dramatically so stock up on good sleep now and fully rest your body and mind. Sleep in on the weekend when you can and keep a good routine of not going to bed too late.

7.   Get your stress levels in check

You may think it is an old wives tale that you'll fall pregnant when you relax and stop thinking about it, but actually having manageable stress levels is really important for regular ovulation and implantation. Web MD says "Several recent studies have found links between the women's levels of day-to-day stress and lowered chances of pregnancy. For example, women whose saliva had high levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme that marks stress, took 29% longer to get pregnant compared to those who had less."

All the very best to you. Happy baby-making and I hope all your parenting dreams come true!

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