Most people are familiar with the basics of what to do and what not to do while pregnant, but the best lifestyle choices to make while trying to conceive are somewhat less common knowledge. Many of these continue to be important once you’ve successfully become pregnant. If you are working with a fertility specialist, they will have valuable guidance but let’s discuss some basic dos and don’ts of trying to conceive.
DO get to know your menstrual cycle. Being familiar with your body’s cycle will make it easier to identify when you’re ovulating and can therefore conceive. Along with keeping a calendar of your period and making predictions based on the most fertile periods around it, there are at-home ovulation prediction kits that can include urine tests and apps that will help you determine ovulation probability based on basal temperatures. The kits are available over the counter at most pharmacies and there are a number of apps on the market for both Apple and Android devices.
DON’T use most regular lubricants. Many of the standard sexual lubricants sold at drug stores can hurt the chances of conception. The ingredients in these lubricants can negatively affect sperm integrity and motility. However, sometimes lubricant is necessary, especially if you are trying to conceive and having sex on something of a schedule. There are lubricants on the market that are friendlier for conception. These lubricants include brands like Pre-Seed, Astroglide TTC (Trying to Conceive), Yes Baby, Conceive Plus, and other natural and organic varieties. Check with your doctor or healthcare provider if you want to be sure you’re using a sperm-friendly lubricant.
DO pay close attention to your diet. Diet is a critical component of wellness in general and becomes even more important when you’re trying to conceive. Make sure you have a diet based on whole, unprocessed foods. Include lots of fresh vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and whole grains. Balance your protein sources so not too much of it comes from animal sources and always avoid fish that might contain excess mercury. Limit processed foods like pre-packaged goods and fast foods. Also, choose filtered water when available.
DON’T consume too much caffeine. Again, this is something many people know to do once pregnant. However, limiting caffeine intake is helpful for conception. Keep your caffeine consumption below 100 mg every day, which usually means only one cup of coffee or caffeinated tea.
DO take prenatal vitamins and supplements to enhance your diet and get the necessary nutrients. Prenatal vitamins are not just helpful during pregnancy. It is generally recommended that women take them before conception, during pregnancy, and even after the birth (especially if they’re breastfeeding). You should make sure to get a vitamin with plenty of folic acid, DHA, calcium, vitamin D, and iodine among other nutrients. Consult your healthcare provider for more recommendations on what to look for in these vitamins and supplements, specific brands, or even a prescription. The Mayo Clinic also has guidelines and more information on prenatal vitamins.
DON’T smoke. Smoking is detrimental to your health regardless of whether you’re trying to get pregnant or not. You should strive for optimum wellness when you’re trying to conceive, and nobody would argue that smoking is part of the healthiest lifestyle possible. Quitting is something you should do before you get pregnant because if you’re still smoking when pregnant, it can cause harm to the baby.
DO limit alcohol intake. Just like smoking, drinking in excess is not the healthiest of choices. When trying to conceive, limit yourself to one drink per day, and preferably not every day. No more than three drinks per week is recommended.
DON’T forget to get enough sleep. Getting much less than eight hours of sleep a night can play havoc with your hormones, making conception less likely. Being well-rested will also help you feel better in general, so doing the other things on this list are easier to take on.
DO establish a safe workout routine. Being in top shape will help you conceive and help with early fetal development. Being active is important, as is exercising regularly. However, you should avoid high-intensity or high-impact workouts and heavy lifting. You should also monitor your heart rate and keep it below 130 beats per minute. If you already have a workout regimen, speak with your healthcare provider to see if you need to modify it.
DON’T stress too much. Obviously, this is something easier said than done when trying to get pregnant, but it’s important nonetheless. Stress can affect the ovulation process. Getting enough sleep and exercise as mentioned before can help with that. Also, practicing meditation or breathing exercises can be helpful.
Since 2006, the fertility specialists at Carolina Conceptions have helped thousands of people around the North Carolina Triangle build their families. Our success rates exceed the national average and we’re committed to helping you build your family with as little intervention as possible. If you have questions or are ready to start the process of getting the family you want, call (919) 782-5911 or request an appointment online.