One of the major questions women have when trying to conceive (besides “how can I get pregnant right now?” of course) is what they can do before pregnancy that will help them prepare for the nine months of carrying baby. And as it turns out, there is plenty you can do right now to help encourage a healthy and happy pregnancy.
Exercise is absolutely crucial during pregnancy (and all the time), so why not start now? Establishing an exercise regimen now won’t just help boost your fertility, but will also help strengthen your core, and your cardiovascular endurance, both of which you’ll be glad you worked on before pregnancy. Starting an exercise regimen while TTC also makes it easier to transition into a regular exercise program when you do conceive
Feel the burn! Stretching is good exercise, particularly when using resistance, or if incorporated to a larger workout routine, but it has added benefits for when you’re preparing for pregnancy. Muscle aches and pains are no infrequent occurrence during pregnancy, so stretching can help keep you loose and limber, and more able to deal with both the physical and mental stresses of pregnancy.
- Folic acid/prenatal vitamin
For years, healthcare providers have recommended that women who are TTC begin a prenatal or multivitamin regimen both in order to help boost their fertility, and to ensure that they are getting all of the nutrients they’ll need during early pregnancy, like folic acid. Pregnant women need about 600 mcg of folic acid a day, but because it’s used so early on in pregnancy (it helps the neural tube close properly around week 6), it’s a very good idea to make sure your folic acid intake is sufficient even in the weeks and months before you do conceive – prenatal vitamins are a great source of folic acid, but most multivitamins have an ample amount as well. You should speak with your healthcare provider about what he or she recommends for nutritional supplementation before pregnancy.
- Cut down on alcohol and caffeine
Most every healthcare professional is in agreement that overconsumption of alcohol or caffeine during pregnancy can have drastic side effects for a developing baby, and as there is no universally agreed-upon “safe” amount of caffeine or alcohol during pregnancy, many healthcare providers recommend abstaining from, or cutting back on, both (although most research indicates that up to 200 mg of caffeine each day is probably safe). Eliminating a nightly glass of wine or that third cup of afternoon coffee can be difficult for many, so it’s a good idea to get a jump on your good habits – and it will help with your fertility, too!
- Work on your diet
Keeping to a healthy diet is most crucial during pregnancy, both for helping your baby develop properly, and for pacing your weight gain and reducing symptoms. If you think your diet might be a bit less healthy than it could/should be, you can use your TTC time to transition into a more healthy diet overall, complete with plenty of lean meats, fruits, and vegetables – the natural fuel sources your body needs to perform at its peak, before, during, and after pregnancy.