This month, take some time to prioritize you. September is PCOS Awareness Month, a national event to support the millions of women in the United States who...
Here is a fact you probably don’t see very often: the chances of getting pregnant in your early 30s are nearly identical to those in your 20s.
With that being said, if you are currently in your 30s, you don’t need to panic. Instead, focus on creating healthy habits to boost your fertility and increase your chances of conceiving.
Here are 8 tips to help you feel, look, and be your absolute best on your preconception journey!
Stop Drinking Alcohol + Smoking
It's well-established that drinking and smoking during pregnancy carry serious risks for an unborn baby. Remember that once you get a positive pregnancy test result back, you’re already considered (at least) four weeks pregnant, so removing these unhealthy habits as soon as possible is a good idea.
Most health professionals recommend quitting smoking and drinking 3 months before trying to conceive to eliminate as many risks as possible.
Get That BMI In Check
Jumping on a scale might not be your idea of a good time, but it’s essential to be mindful of your weight if conceiving is a priority for you. Having a normal BMI - not too high or low - will give you the best chance of getting pregnant. On the other hand, a high or low BMI can inhibit regular ovulation.
BMI can be flawed because it doesn't consider details about age, sex, bone structure, and fat distribution, so don’t rely entirely on it. If you are unsure where your overall health stands, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor.
Let Food Be Thy Medicine
You’ve probably heard this many times by now, but the food you eat truly does impact your health in a significant way - and fertility is no exception.
In general, you want to eat an overall healthy diet. Focus on getting enough lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates to sustain your energy. And while there isn’t a special diet you must follow, here are a few tips to help you:
- Eat Omega 3s and full-fat dairy
- Limit caffeine
- Cut down on sugar
- Choose whole foods over processed
Rest Is Productive
Whether stress directly affects fertility is debatable, but one thing is certain, stress is likely to reinforce unhealthy habits that can affect your ability to get pregnant. Here are a few examples.
- Stress can make you sleep too much or too little.
- Stress can lead to unhealthy eating habits.
- Stress can increase your chances of drinking too much.
- Stress can reduce your interest in sex.
It’s impossible to eliminate stress completely, especially when you are worried about conceiving. However, find ways to reduce your stress as much as possible. Make time for the things you love to do and prioritize rest.
If you find yourself constantly on the go, schedule rest into your calendar.
Identify Your Unique Ovulatory Cycle
Although Sex Ed made it seem like you were bound to get pregnant if you had unprotected sex, it’s not as easy as you think.
The best chance of pregnancy is when sex happens 1-2 days before ovulation. The best way to uncover your ovulation period is by tracking your cycle. There are various methods, but one of the most accurate ways is by monitoring your hormone levels.
Oova is designed to help you track your fertility window and ovulation by monitoring your LH and progesterone levels. It also gives you a visual representation of your data on your smartphone. You don’t have to know the science behind it either because Oova tells you exactly what actions you need to take and when. You can get started with Oova here.
Boost Endorphins With Exercise
Exercise has many benefits. It can strengthen your body, boost your mood, and reduce stress and anxiety. These are all great reasons to take start exercising today.
Exercise can also increase your chances of getting pregnant because it helps you maintain a healthy weight.
- If you’ve always been moderately active, it’s okay to continue your regular exercise routine.
- If you lead a typically sedentary lifestyle, start to build up your level of activity now. Try to work up to 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
- If you tend to exercise too much, try cutting back on your intensity if you have problems getting pregnant.
Get More Zzzz’s
Social media likes to glamorize hustle culture and productivity, but data suggests that an overly busy and stressed lifestyle often leads to emotional and physical health problems.
Health professionals continue to stress the importance of sleep because sleep deprivation can lead to irregular cycles and low sex drive - two aspects that are incredibly important for conception.
How much should you be sleeping? Strive to get more than 7 hours of sleep, but less than 9 hours.
Supplement With High-Quality Vitamins
Eating a healthy diet is vital to getting enough nutrients. However, it’s good to supplement with high-quality vitamins to fill any nutritional gaps.
The most important things to look for are folic acid, calcium, iodine, and iron.
- Folic acid can prevent many birth defects. Doctors recommend that any woman who could get pregnant take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily, starting before conception and continuing for the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
- Extra Calcium prevents the loss of bone density because the baby uses the mom’s calcium for its bone growth.
- Iodine is essential for thyroid health and is responsible for hormone production and regulation.
- Iron helps create more red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the baby.
Taking prenatal vitamins before conception will give your body time to prepare for the pregnancy.
Preconception care is essential for both you and your baby. Taking care of your body early sets the stage for a healthy pregnancy. Research shows that preconception care reduces the risk of miscarriage and improves pregnancy outcomes.
Also, by continuing these healthy habits after pregnancy, you are less likely to experience chronic disease later in life.
So, if you and your partner are considering starting a family, implementing the healthy habits above is an excellent place to start.
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