Ideally, we’d all live a holistically pristine lifestyle from the start. Realistically, that’s not often the case. You probably partied a little, you may have let your exercise routine slip by the wayside, there may be minor, latent health issues you’ve let slide by.
When it’s time to get pregnant, however, all those “little things” can mean not conceiving as quickly as you’d like, or it could mean your body experiences more miscarriages than normal.
Preparing Your Body for Pregnancy Can Increase Fertility Rates
Rather than waiting until you’re ready to get pregnant, we recommend being proactive about fertility and start preparing your body months before you want to start trying.
Preparing your body for conception, the same way you’d prepare it for a race or an awesome backpacking trip, may help you get pregnant faster. On the flip side, it may also tune you in if something is amiss. And, in the worst-case scenario of an infertility diagnosis, your healthier body and mindset will facilitate better fertility chances with whatever form of fertility treatment the diagnosis requires.
Here are steps we recommend to prepare your body for conception, starting several months (or years) ahead of time:
Have a pre-conception appointment with your gynecologist
Schedule an appointment separately from your annual well-woman visit in order to discuss pre-conception health. Now that you’re serious about getting pregnant – or planning to get pregnant – you may find you’re more candid with your doctor than you’ve been in the past.
In addition to discussing personal and family medical histories, now’s the time to bring up things you’ve avoided mentioning during previous appointments:
- Your history of skipped or irregular periods.
- The fact that you have more severe PMS or physical pain during your periods than friends do.
- That you’ve had more than one sexual partner in the past and were never screened for STDs like you should have been.
- You’ve had an abortion.
- You had an STD that went untreated, or that was treated but you’re not sure how long you had it before it was diagnosed.
- You’ve miscarried
Every little piece of information paints a picture of your future fertility path or will highlight whether certain diagnostic tools (such as STD screening or an ultrasound) should be used before-hand to get the “all clear.”
Clean up your lifestyle
Healthy maternal bodies have higher fertility rates, lower rates of miscarriage and lower rates of pre-term labor and low birth weights. If you’ve played ostrich about the foods you eat, your weight, your lack of exercise, recreational drug use, etc., it’s time to clean it all up.
- Diet. When it comes to diet, we recommend sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet. It’s the best way to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, without all the unhealthy stuff, or foods known to exacerbate inflammation – the bane of both the immune and reproductive systems.
- Exercise. Just enough but not too much. Everybody should get up and move for about 30-minutes, at least five days a week. In addition to helping you reach and maintain reasonable weight goals, exercise is good for your heart as well as blood sugar levels. However, there is such thing as too much exercise. Women who are extreme athletes often struggle with infertility because low-weight, and/or the physical toll the exercise exacts, affects their ability to conceive and carry a baby. Check in to make sure your current exercise program gets your doctor’s approval.
- Weight. The optimal body mass index for fertility – both male and female – is between 19 and 24. Obesity in both women and men has shown to reduce fertility rates and/or increase the time it takes for a couple to get pregnant. Use an online BMI calculator to assess your BMI (and your partner’s), and make the changes necessary to move it into the “optimal” range.
It goes without saying, right, that excessive drinking, illicit drug use and smoking are out of the question. Women who don’t get pregnant within the first several months of trying should also give up drinking and caffeine altogether for a little while to give their body the very best chances.
We wish you a quick and smooth road to fertility. If, however, things get bumpy along the way, contact us and schedule a consultation. We’re here to help!