I know that moment, when you are so ready to be a parent that you are making the all important decision to start trying for a baby. Before you dive in deep to all the ways to help speed up the process there are a few things that can be done now to help you in the whole baby journey. I WISH I knew most of these before my husband and I started trying the first time around. It would have saved so many headaches.
Quit bad stuff/habits
Ok, this is likely going to be the hardest one to face and may mean putting off actively trying depending on the habit. If you smoke or drink alcohol this can affect your little one long-term (think birth defects). So the sooner you stop the better for you and baby.
If you have a lot of chemicals around you or in your system you are going to want to do what you can to get away from them. This could mean changing your makeup, switching from diposable menstrual pads to reusables ones or even a cup, among other things.
For me right now I’m trying to quit sugar, yes you read that right. I have a sugar issue so I’m cutting out things like pop (done), chocolate bars (down to the occasional) and the hardest is my Ice Cappuccino Addiction…. but it is on it’s way out, somethings just need baby steps instead of cold turkey.
What ever it is, find a way to ditch the bad habbits. And that goes for your partner too. Their stuff can be just as affected by smoking or drinking, and chemicals as yours.
Improve your Good Habits
While we are on the topic of habits lets improve on what you are already doing right. If you are already eating well and getting regular exercise continue doing that, and maybe check in with a nutritionist to see if there is anthing else you can improve in your diet.
Spend more “me time” taking care of yourself, if you have things like a benefits plan that covers massages and chiropractor or physio or osteopathy use it! This will help keep your stress levels lower and help your body handle the work of making and incubating a baby when the time comes.
Adding this focus will help you reduce the bad habbits by replacing them with more good, but it also helps keep your body ready and in optimal form to conceive.
Take your pre-natal vitamins
I love my pre-natal vitamins. I take them every day, and have for the better part of 5 years starting well before we were pregnant with our first son and now that he is approaching 2.5 years old I’m still going strong on them.
These little pills may not be something that looks that important, but it is. Taking a solid pre-natal vitamin helps prevent abnormalities in baby’s development and supports your body by building up a healthy supply of all the needed materials to sustain you throughout trying, conception and pregnancy.
And it’s not just the folic acid you are looking at any more. Getting enough Vitamin B before and early on in pregnancy can reduce brain and spine defects by up to 70% according to the March of Dimes. These vitamins are also packed with things like iron to prevent anemia and calcium for strong bones and teeth.
Sleep a little more…
Most of us know that once baby arives we will have our share of sleepless nights. But pregnancy isn’t always easy to sleep through either. From a shrinking bladder that kiddo may want to squish, kick or play with to learning how to move with a new size of body you may not get the greatest rest while pregnant.
And don’t even get me started on the middle of the night cravings for random things that are never in your kitchen….
Search for a Care Provider
I know a lot of people are going to tell you that you need to have an OBGYN and I think these professionals are great and know a tonne of very helpful information that will help you in your journey.
But they are not the only medical professional that can help you… There are also General Practicioners (GP’s aka family doctors), Midwives, and Doulas (seriously you NEED a Doula!). Each of these professions brings a wealth of information that can help you along the path to parenthood.
So start asking your friends and family for information on who they would recomend, but also do your own search to see if other professionals might connect with you better. You really need to trust the person delivering your baby. And you are looking for someone that will guide you through out pregnancy not try and make decisions for you.
With our first, I was overjoyed with the experience I had with our midwife & doula, couldn’t have asked for a better delivery. And I credit that to the fact that I trusted everyone in the room. The Best Labour Advice I Ever Found was that I needed to trust the team around me. So take the time to find the right support team for you.
I had no clue that this was a “thing” I should do, or that my dental health could even affect my baby once I was pregnant. I just showed up to the dentist at 4 months prego and got a little more info then I expected about the impact of dental health on my developing baby…
Things like gum disease can affect your unborn baby, so just check in with your Dentist and see what if anything is happening that you need to take care of.
While you making appointments check with your eye doctor too. Our bodies go through a bunch of changes when pregnant and your eyes are not going to be excluded. At the very least go see if you need to update your glasses (or get some) so you can read about all the cool / fun stuff on the pregnancy app I’m sure you will be downloading.
This will at least give you a base line of where your eye sight will return to after baby is born. And is another one of those appointments I showed up to not knowing that it was important. Bonus you may find when pregnant that your eye sight improves dramatically, mine got 2 points better then before pregnancy.
Check out your Maternity Leave
If you are working and the company has paid maternity leave find out what the details are. How long, how much etc. You’ll want to know what you can expect and if you can afford to live on it.
Also, check out any government programs that may offer assistance, I know where I live we have Federal and State paid Maternity Leave. Double check what you need to qualify and if you have an option make sure you also know what if any taxes are collected… we didn’t and got hit with a big income tax bill after I returned to work… not fun.
You’ll also want to know if you can extend the Leave or if it is restricted to the time stated.
Set up a slush fund
You know at some point you’ll need to pay for things like diapers, and all the baby stuff. But also factor in extra costs you may not think of now, like medical visits while pregnant and the actual delivery.
Even if you have health care factoring in things like extra ultrasounds and maternity clothing to college funds a slush fund will come in handy at some point.
I recomend starting with $20 per paycheck, it will help you feel better knowing you have some type of nest egg set aside. And if you have some extra you can always splurge on something baby related later.
Take a vacation
If you can afford it and have the time, take a vacation. Do yourself a favour even if it is a mini vacation with your spouse, it doesn’t matter where, just take it. Enjoy it, and take advantage of the alone and quiet time you will have.
This will help reduce the stress from work and life in general, and helps you feel more happy and at ease. Besides the extra alone & relaxed time might just lead to … a baby 😉
Know if you are ready before trying for a baby
Before trying for a baby, ask yourself if you are ready for this life changing event. There really is no “perfect time” to have a family, but there will likely be a feeling in your heart that you are read and want to be a Mom. Other then that you should also talk to your spouse and ensure that they are on board with the idea too, this is NOT something you want to spring on them after it happens and “hope” that they love the idea as much as you. It’s not going to go down well.
So have that parenting talk, and make a general plan for parenthood. At least around the biggie things like religious traditions, childcare, working vs staying home, etc. The big thing is to open the conversation, you want to see where you are on the same page and what needs further discusion, but keep in mind that on many things both you and your partner will change your minds over time or when the situation arrises. There is no need to freak out over different opinions.
Consider your mental health
There is some research that states those who suffer from certian mental health concerns may struggle more to get pregnant. While having a mental health concern shouldn’t deter you entierly from having a baby is it something to think about in relation to the impact on your life and abiliaty to manage any concerns you may have.
I struggle with Anxiety, and a few other concerns myself. Prior to getting pregnant the symptoms were not that hard to handle. The occasional Migrane, and random days where I never wanted to get out of bed were anoying at most. But baby didn’t know or care if Mommy was having a “stress day” or a migraine, Baby still needed to be taken care of.
The extra stress and strain was more then a bit much to handle. And my anxiety sky rocketed. Even this many years later I’m still dealing with daily issues that crop up because of the intensity of emotions, hormones and so much more.
So please take the time to consider your mental health and what could happen. And put a plan in place to get help if you need it.
Go off your hormonal birth control
What ever you are using, the pill, IUD, or patch, stop using it. This gives you a chance to see what your regular menstrual cycle is like, are you 27 days? 45 days? Or are you all over the map like I was?
This information will help you figure out when you are ovulating (or like me NOT ovulating). If you have been on the birth control for a while your cycle may not be the same as it was before you went on it. So give your body some time to tell you what it’s normal rhythm is.
Keep in mind that it can take time for your hormones to get back on track, but if your period is still MIA after three months you should see your doctor.
Before trying for a baby there are some things that can be done to improve your chances of conception. And while these may improve those chances it can also be beneficial to decide how long you are willing to try before asking for medical help. Or even if you will ask for medical help.
I know we struggled to conceive with our first, and now our second. But we also knew what limits we were willing to go to in order to have our baby before we started trying. And in the end yes we sought help, but we did that with confidence knowing it was part of the plan and not some random idea sprung on us by our doctor.