Getting Pregnancy-Ready: 7 Must Dos Before You Start Trying to Conceive

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If you’re looking to get pregnant in the near future, listen up! If you’re a planner like me (hint: you know you’re a planner if you’ve already got a Pinterest board full of nursery ideas and a spreadsheet mapping out your conception journey, not judging!), getting pregnancy-ready takes preparation and intention.

Preparing your body ahead of time can really help boost your chances of getting pregnant faster. We all get so focused on timing ovulation just right once we start trying, but your pre-pregnancy prep matters a lot too.

These 7 Getting Pregnancy-Ready tips are your must-do list to get your body in prime babymaking shape before it’s go-time:

Start Taking Prenatals ASAP

You’ve heard it a million times, but start taking prenatals now if you aren’t already! Most experts recommend starting at least 3 months before you want to conceive. Those nutrients are so critical for fertility and fetal development.

Folic acid in particular helps prevent certain birth defects. Research shows that women who take folic acid pre-conception have a 70% lower risk of neural tube defects compared to women who don’t take it. Since there’s already so much out of our control, this is at least something we can all do to make sure we’re well-prepared.

Find a prenatal vitamin with 400-800 mcg of folic acid. If you’re like me and hate choking down giant horse pills, gummies are a great option too. Side note: many gummies don’t contain iron. If your gummy doesn’t have iron, you’ll need to pair it with an iron-rich diet or a separate iron supplement. Good iron sources include red meat, seafood, spinach, beans, fortified cereal, and more. For a list of some of my favorite prenatals; check out my recommended products, but personally, I stick to a well known brand that contains DHA Omega-3’s like the Nature Made prenatal vitamin.

Eat Your Way to Babymaking

I won’t lie, my diet wasn’t all that amazing before I was trying to get pregnant. But when you’re preparing to bring new life into this world, you have to start taking care of yourself first. So I started doing weekly meal prep with my husband, which ensured we had balanced homemade meals on hand. Smoothies are also a great way to pack extra nutrients into your day (looking at you kale!).

Making gradual improvements is totally doable if your diet has room for improvement. Focus on getting more fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains. Don’t obsess about “eating for two” yet – just aim for balance and nourishment as best you can. Your future baby will thank you!

Also, stay hydrated! I suggest filling one of those huge motivational water bottles in the morning and making yourself drink it all.

If you’re craving more food tips for fertility (okay, I suck at puns!), check out my very detailed post: 10 Fertility Diet Tips to Implement Today.

Make Exercise a Habit

running is good for fertility

Listen, I know exercise isn’t everyone’s jam. Some people hate working out with the fire of a thousand suns. I absolutely get it!

But still, regular activity helps keep your weight in check, regulate hormones, and relieve stress. Even just 30 minutes a day of gentle exercise can prime your body for babymaking! And staying active now establishes a healthy habit to continue during pregnancy.

Find what you enjoy – walking, prenatal yoga, cycling, swimming, dancing to Beyonce – and commit to something most days of the week. I believe in you! Your future baby is worth sweating for. You’ve got this!

Get Your Pre-Baby Checkup

See your OB-GYN now to make sure your health is in tip-top shape before trying to conceive. I admit I dragged my feet a bit making a preconception appointment, but just go for it! Block out time on your calendar, ask for PTO if you need it, and prioritize this crucial preventative care.

At your visit, your doctor will likely review your full medical history, family history, menstrual cycle and any prior pregnancies/pregnancy attempts. They may check your hormone levels, and make sure you’re up-to-date on important health screenings like Pap smears, STI tests, and mammograms based on your age and risk factors. It’s not the most fun exam, but early detection of any issues is key!

You’ll walk out with peace of mind knowing you did everything possible to prep your body for pregnancy. Don’t leave this vital step until you already have a bun in the oven – schedule your preconception appointment today!

Eat Folate-Rich Foods

In addition to a prenatal with folic acid, you can boost your levels by eating folate-rich foods! Folate is the natural form of folic acid found in things like leafy greens, citrus fruits, beans, and fortified cereals and bread.

You can easily sneak extra greens into a fruit smoothie without altering the flavor. I love adding spinach or kale to my morning smoothie for a folate boost. Top your salads with avocado or lemon juice. Snack on raw nuts and seeds.

Leafy greens pack the most folate punch, so aim for 1-2 servings daily. You can saute greens in olive oil or mix them into pasta dishes, tacos, pesto, soups – get creative! The vitamin C in citrus fruits helps your body absorb folate, so pair them together.

Loading up on natural folate sources combined with a supplement gives you the best shot at optimal folic acid levels for fertility and fetal health. Eat these yummy foods and you won’t even feel like you’re taking a supplement!

Optimize Your Lifestyle

Your doctor can provide specific guidance on any lifestyle tweaks to make before you start trying to conceive. I know not all of these apply to everyone, but common recommendations include:

  • Quitting smoking – we all know it’s unhealthy! But lighting up can specifically impair fertility and fetal development. Kicking the habit now improves your chances of conception.
  • Limiting alcohol – most experts say 1-2 drinks per week max once you’re trying to conceive. I’m not much of a drinker, so this wasn’t hard for me. But for some, cutting back on wine, cocktails and happy hours is a big change.
  • Reducing caffeine – high caffeine intake can potentially disrupt conception. Trade some coffee for green tea or just decaf to minimize caffeine while still getting your warm drink fix. For more info, see: Two Reasons Coffee is Terrible When Trying For a Baby.
  • Managing stress – easier said than done! But chronic stress takes a toll on your mind and body. Try yoga, meditation, journaling, or whatever helps you decompress.
  • Adjusting medications – some prescriptions and over-the-counter meds can impact conception or pregnancy. Your doctor can help identify any you may need to switch.
  • Reaching a healthy weight – being significantly under or overweight disrupts hormones that enable pregnancy. Just losing/adding a few pounds can already make a difference.

Focus on the 1 or 2 lifestyle changes most relevant to you. Going all-in trying to overhaul everything overnight rarely sticks. Small, gradual steps do add up! The preconception period is all about setting yourself up for success.

Don’t Forget Your Dental Visit!

Finally, schedule a visit with your dentist to take care of any lingering dental needs before pregnancy. I know, I’m not a fan of the dentist either – no one likes having fingers poked in their mouth! But getting your pearly whites thoroughly cleaned and addressing any cavities now means you can stay on top of your dental hygiene during pregnancy without worrying about invasive procedures.

Changing hormone levels during pregnancy can affect your oral health in various ways. Some women experience increased sensitivity and bleeding gums. Getting a deep clean beforehand minimizes bacteria and reduces inflammation, making your mouth better equipped to handle the hormonal shifts of pregnancy.

Schedule your cleaning, get any fillings out of the way, and start pregnancy with your dentist’s seal of approval. You’ll have one less thing to stress about for the next 9 months! A bonus tip – use an electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to optimize your at-home dental care as well.

Okay, that about covers it! I know it’s a lot, but taking these key steps now means your body will be fully prepped for pregnancy. Wishing you lots of luck and babydust, friend! Go get that baby!

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