Are you hoping to get pregnant soon? If so, you might be wondering what to do before you get pregnant. Here are 9 important things to keep in mind before you try to conceive.
What to do Before Trying to Get Pregnant
So you want to have a baby? Congratulations!
I hope that your journey to getting pregnant is an easy one. However, before you get pregnant, there are quite a few important things a person should do to prepare for a healthy pregnancy. While you can never totally anticipate how a pregnancy will go – and someone may do all the right things and still have issues – there are a few things that can increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.
A few months ago I wrote a post about what to do before you get pregnant, which mainly included things that you might miss while pregnant – not necessarily things to help an upcoming pregnancy go more smoothly. I touched on a few of the topics I’ll talk about today, but hopefully there’s some more in-depth and new information.
What to do Before Trying to Conceive
Go to the doctor! I think it’s important to make sure you don’t have any underlying conditions that could cause issues during pregnancy. If you don’t have any previous problems with infertility or some kind of condition that is known to make conception more difficult (such as endometriosis or PCOS), the appointment won’t likely do any fertility testing. However, it’s good to make sure you are in overall good health and to discuss your plans with your doctor. Both you and your spouse should visit with the doctor!
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women go in for an exam before conceiving – not only to make sure there are not any obvious issues but to test for viruses or illnesses that may be harmful to mother or baby even more during pregnancy. It’s also important to discuss any medications you are currently taking with your doctor to see if they are safe during pregnancy, or if they are known to cause fertility issues. If you have a pre-existing condition, your doctor can discuss the effect pregnancy will have on you. The option for genetic counseling is also available, but that’s something I personally never found necessary (but it can be in some cases!)
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Throw out all your ovulation charts and sticks and invest in the Ava Bracelet. I actually have had a chance to use this product (you can read more about that here), and while I’m not currently trying to get pregnant, I do think it gives you insights you won’t find otherwise. It’s great for helping you to understand your cycle, which is what I believe to be the secret to getting pregnant faster.
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Make sure you are taking a prenatal vitamin with folate. A prenatal vitamin will provide your baby with the right blend of nutrients for his/her growing body. It is very important to make sure your prenatal vitamin has folate. Folate is important from the moment you become pregnant – and since most people don’t know the moment they are pregnant, you want to make sure you have been taking a prenatal vitamin before you get pregnant . I believe it’s recommended to start taking one about three months before you get pregnant.
Some prenatal vitamins are harder on the stomach than others. At the beginning of this pregnancy, I was taking this highly recommended one that was organic and supposedly ideal for pregnant women. Well, it made me SO sick. I couldn’t even stomach it for more than a few minutes. So, I opted for another one – a gummy prenatal vitamin was a lot easier for me to handle.
Sometimes prenatal vitamins will have iron in them, and if you find yourself feeling extra sick or constipated, it may be due to the iron. Proper iron levels are important…but if you can’t tolerate the amount/kind in your prenatal vitamin, talk to your provider about another kind of iron supplement (and if you even need one.) For more information on selecting a prenatal vitamin, be sure to check out my post that has everything you need to know about prenatal vitamins.
Go off birth control
It’s a common myth that as soon as you go off of birth control, you will get pregnant. While this does happen, it’s not always the case. Some women will need to adjust to being off birth control before they get pregnant. I recommend going off of hormonal birth control about three months prior to when you want to conceive and use barrier methods of birth control until you are ready to try for the baby!
Go to the dentist
Did you know that dental issues can adversely affect your pregnancy? And even if you don’t have any major dental issues pop up during pregnancy, it’s important to have an exam and get work done before you get pregnancy – trust me on this one. I put off getting my wisdom teeth off, and when I was about four months pregnant, the pain became absolutely unbearable, and I couldn’t put it off any longer.
I had to get them taken out – but since I was pregnant, all I was allowed to have was some local anesthesia and Tylenol afterward. It was pure torture. Dramatic, I know, but it really was.
The doctor also determined that I had the beginning of gum disease (which we decided was likely due to throwing up bile for months upon months between my two pregnancies), and I had to get that work done during pregnancy as well. So, do yourself a favor and make sure your mouth is in tip-top shape before getting pregnant!
Exercise and Get Healthy
Women of every shape and size can have a successful, uneventful pregnancy. However, you should try and be at a healthy weight before you conceive. For one, sometimes being overweight (both man and woman) can result in a more a difficult time getting pregnant. It’s also best for your growing baby if you are at a healthy weight and you are eating healthy.
Stop Risky Behavior
Now is the time to stop smoking and doing drugs if you are into that kind of thing. There is much proof showing that this type of risky behavior has adverse effects on your child. If you need help quitting, speak with your doctor. If you plan to intentionally get pregnant and you are doing either of those things, I think it’s irresponsible to not try to stop.
It’s probably also a good idea to cut back on drinking, artificial sweeteners (and even regular sugar), as well as caffeine.
Figure out Ovulation Patterns
While some may get pregnant without even trying to figure out when they are ovulating, I think it’s a good idea to try and find the days that you are most likely to get pregnant. While most women have a cycle that lasts 28 days, this is definitely not always the case! There are plenty of ovulation calculators out there, but my personal favorite is the one from WebMD, because it creates a personalized ovulation calendar based off the exact dates of your last three months of periods, rather than just asking you what the average length of your cycle is.
There are a lot of options for helping you figure out your ovulation patterns. On Amazon, they have apps, testing kits, etc.
Mentally, Emotionally, and Financially Prepared
Pregnancy can be a trying to for many reasons. While I don’t believe you can ever been 100% prepared for the emotional, physical, and even financial toll it can take on you, it’s good to try and make sure you have the means to take care of yourself and your child during this time. I know that some pregnancies come as a surprise, and that sometimes makes it hard to feel prepared for what’s about to happen. However, if you are planning to get pregnant, I think it’s wise to make sure you at least feel ready for it!
Been trying for awhile without luck? Here are 12 reasons why you might not be getting pregnant.
Did you know that many lubricants can hurt your chances of getting pregnant? If you are trying to conceive, consider switching to a lubricant that is specifically created for couples trying to conceive. Pre-Seed personal lubricant is pretty popular.
Katie is a Colorado-native, BYU graduated, and most importantly, wife to one and mother to three beautiful boys. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with others – especially about pregnancy, breastfeeding, cooking, and crafts. She is currently training to be a Certified Lactation Educator. She loves spending time with her family and helping others find joy in family life.