When trying for a baby, it is important to make sure that you are in optimal health to give you the best chance of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy and baby. Let’s talk about a few things you can do to increase your chances of a smooth pregnancy, enhance fertility, and give your future little human the best start possible.
Check-in with your healthcare provider: Checking in with your healthcare provider is a great first step to take before trying to conceive. It is likely that your doctor will discuss the importance of two key nutrients - folate and iodine (just the tip of the iceberg!), take a detailed family history to identify if there is an increased risk of disease, review any medications you are currently taking to ensure they are safe throughout pregnancy, and make sure you are up to date with your immunizations.
Get your bloods done: When thinking about trying for a baby it is recommended to get your bloods done, to check hormones and nutrient levels, so you are not ‘taking a stab in the dark’. This gives you an understanding of whether there are any nutrient deficiencies or illnesses present that may be harmful throughout pregnancy. Screening for Rubella, hepatitis B and C, and HIV, and screening for your blood type are all standard prenatal blood tests too. It is also recommended to get baseline tests done such as your iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, cholesterol, blood sugar, sex hormones, and a thyroid panel. This will give you a clear picture of your health and help you to correct any underlying health issues before trying for a baby.
Key prenatal nutrients: Although a nutrient-dense diet is one of the pillars of your health, our soil is often depleted in many key nutrients, increasing the risk of nutrient deficiencies. This is where supplementation comes into play. Supplements help to enhance the quality of your eggs and sperm, as well as correct any nutrient deficiencies to prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy. Folate, iodine, omega 3, vitamin D and choline are key prenatal nutrients to provide your body with for pregnancy. A good prenatal should be prescribed with your needs in mind. Standard 'off the shelf' brands typically lack key nutrients. To learn more about the fundamental nutrition changes for pregnancy and conception click here.
Reduce alcohol: Reducing alcohol is recommended for both parties when trying to conceive. For women, it is important to avoid alcohol when trying to get pregnant as there is a strong link between alcohol consumption and lower fertility. Avoiding alcohol throughout pregnancy is advised as this can have detrimental effects to your baby’s brain development and increase the chance of low birth weight. For males, alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce sperm concentration, total sperm count, and increase the amount of sperm with an abnormal shape – impairing fertility.
Get moving: It is important to maintain activity throughout all stages of life. Exercise helps to get us in optimal health to reduce risks throughout pregnancy and birth and has also been associated with a reduced risk of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia. However, it is important to note that over-exercising can shut down ovulation. It’s all about balance and implementing movement in a way that is enjoyable and sustainable.
Trying for a baby is such an exciting time. However, with so much information available at our fingertips, it can also be an overwhelming time. For evidence based, straight forward information and ongoing support while trying to conceive join the WBJ Fertility Masterclass.