Planning for a Little One – A Guide to Pre-Pregnancy Health
Deciding to try for a baby is such an exciting time in life. Baby names, nursery room colours, cute onesies are all lovely things to look forward to! First things first though, it’s important to make sure you are in great physical and mental condition to increase your chances of conceiving.
There are a number of factors that can impact fertility in both women and men and by incorporating a few little changes into your lifestyle, you can increase your chances of having a future happy, healthy pregnancy.
If you’re considering having a little one, chances are you’ve heard of the importance of folate or folic acid. In fact, this B vitamin is so essential that it’s recommended that all women of childbearing age should be taking it. It works by helping the body create healthy new cells and protects against birth defects in the spine and brain of the baby.
For prospective mums-to-be, it’s recommended you get 400mcg of folic acid a day with the best sources being dark leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, lentils and fortified cereals.
Eat a Balanced, Healthy Diet
It’s not just folic acid that’s important when it comes to your fertility. Prospective parents, make sure you are eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with vegetables, fruit, protein-rich foods, and some dairy. This will help you get a wide variety of fertility boosting minerals and vitamins.
Embrace a Healthy Lifestyle
Paired with a healthy, balanced diet, it’s important to exercise. Being overweight has been shown to significantly impact both men and women’s chances of conceiving. For men, obesity has been shown to lower sperm count and for women, it can create a hormone imbalance. Aiming to keep your BMI (Body Mass Index) at a healthy rate (between 18-25) by adding a quick 30-minute workout into your day and eating a balanced diet can positively impact your fertility.
Take some precious “me’ time
If you are experiencing stress in your day to day life or are anxious about trying to conceive, it could affect your odds of getting pregnant. Although it’s difficult, taking some time to de-stress by doing yoga, talking about your problems or just taking some “me” time could be a small step that really impacts your chances of conceiving.
Ditch the bad habits
We all have our vices, but smoking and drinking are two that are particularly bad for fertility. For men, both smoking and drinking have been shown to reduce the quality and quantity of sperm and lower testosterone.
Similarly, for women, smoking can affect how receptive the uterus is to the egg and although it’s unclear why drinking affects fertility, studies suggest that as little as 1-5 drinks a week can reduce a woman’s chances of conceiving. So it’s best to cut out the cigarettes and limit the number of glasses of wine you are having.
Talk to your Doctor
Unfortunately, sometimes things don’t go to plan when it comes to fertility and if you are worried there might be a problem, don’t be afraid to chat to your doctor. For couples who are under 35, visit your doctor if you have been actively trying for a year and for over 35’s or people who may have health issues that could affect their fertility, visit after six months. Hopefully, talking to your doctor will ease your mind or point you in the direction of help.