So you are thinking about taking that big leap into parenthood and want some tips on getting pregnant? Well, first of all, I must say, congratulations! You have a wonderful path ahead. There are actually a lot of great things you can do to prepare your mind and body for this next step.
If you are anything like me then you are a planner and want to make this journey as successful as possible.
So let’s talk about a few things you can do to optimize your life and body so you can prepare for a healthy pregnancy.
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Simple steps to prepare your body for pregnancy
1. Start by slowly cutting your caffeine intake
I am a coffee drinker, so I get how hard it is to fathom going a day without caffeine. However the American Pregnancy Association recommends drinking no more than 200 mg of caffeine a day, which is about 12 ounces of coffee.
Since caffeine can cross the placental blood barrier, it can cause problems with your baby’s development. It isn’t worth the risk. I recommend decreasing your intake beforehand so your body doesn’t go through as much of a shock. I tried to trick my body by brewing coffee half and half. I got to drink a full cup but it was half decaf so I had half the caffeine intake.
2. Limit your sugar intake
Sugar is really problematic for pregnancy. It causes an insulin dump and leads to complications with your circulatory system such as preeclampsia. This is the time we want our heart and blood vessels to be in the best shape because it’s the vital force of your baby’s life.
Sugar also causes genetic changes in your baby’s DNA predisposing him or her to heart disease, diabetes, and other metabolic conditions.
Try substituting processed sugar with local honey which has many immune benefits. Curve your cravings with frozen fruit and cinnamon. I don’t know why but cinnamon makes things taste sweeter!
3. Get your gut health in check
Proper health and vitality for your pregnancy starts in your gut. In fact, it is where 80% of your immune system resides. Probiotics can help with digestion and absorption of nutrients and assist with the elimination of toxins.
Related: How to naturally improve gut health
Start promoting good gut colonization by increasing your intake of fermented food such as sauerkraut and whole raw kefir. Go to your local health food store to find a high quality probiotic supplement.
How will you know if it is good? It should be found in a refrigerator, have an expiration date, and have a wide variety of bacteria strains. Here is the probiotic we take and have been experiencing amazing healing from it.
4. Reduce your exposure to environmental toxins
It is really unfortunate how many toxins we are exposed to on a daily basis. I feel like we almost need a college degree to try and navigate this!
Look around you! Look on the back of your shampoo bottles, in the lining of canned goods, at the long list of strange ingredients in the foods at the grocery store. You will be surprised at how many words you don’t understand.
We can’t live in a bubble, but we can do our best. Try to eat organic, local, and raw whenever possible. Farmers markets and coops are the best place to start. Not only will you be eating better quality food but you will contribute to your local economy! BONUS!
Get rid of the harmful household chemicals and replace them with cleaning products made from essential oils or vinegar.
Be mindful of the things that you put on your skin and stay away from parabens, fragrances, and BHAs. You can make your own beauty products using extremely affordable natural ingredients.
I highly recommend Dr. Bronner’s soap. It can be used for EVERYTHING from washing dishes, hand soap, dishwasher and laundry detergent, and cleaning your body.
Don’t have time for all the DIY stuff? Check out some of these clean beauty products that will be safe for pregnancy.
Another great way to reduce your exposure to BPAs (harmful endocrine disruptors leading to autoimmune disease and cancer) is to replace your plastic tupperware with glass tupperware. It is a bit on the heavy side to pack in your lunch box. But you can rest assured that you aren’t eating cancerous toxins for lunch.
Install a reverse osmosis system in your home which will filter out any pesticides and chlorine contaminating the local water that is fueling your home. Just know that it will filter out the needed minerals in the water because the system has no way of differentiating the good substances from the bad toxins.
To remedy this, eat a well balanced diet and use himalayan pink salt to replace the lost minerals. You can also take epsom salt baths for mineral replacement which feels OH SO GOOD!
Stay away from vaccines when you are trying to get pregnant and while carrying your child. This is of the utmost importance even though it will go against the common recommendation in some countries. Do the research for yourself on this subject or check out mine.
5. Find ways to minimize stress.
This is a big one because high stress levels are linked to infertility. It is also terrible for your baby’s brain development.
Take a good hard look at the circumstances in your life that are causing you stress. Maybe it’s dysfunctional friendships or family relationships. Perhaps it is the way-to-long work hours.
Could you possible hang out with these people less or make new friends?
Are there ways you could reduce your spending so you don’t have to be at work as much if that is main contributing factor?
I went on a journey to afford stay at home mom status. It actually took multiple steps for us to get financially sound, but now I have peace of mind and more free time to focus on my family and my health.
Maybe there really isn’t anything you can do to eliminate the presence of stressors. But you ARE in control of your MIND.
Take time daily for quiet and meditation. I don’t mean you have to sit on a yoga mat cross-legged, although you certainly can! I just mean take time for yourself to just think and breathe. This is so beneficial for lowering stress.
If I could take one thing back from my first pregnancy, I would have started my maternity leave earlier. I was so worried about maximizing my weeks with him when he was here that I sacrificed some pivotal time for his brain development.
It was very hard on my body to work 12 hour nursing shifts and I ended up having premature rupture of membranes and needed to be induced. I had to be on IV antibiotics during labor as well.
I wish I would have just been kind to my body and growing baby and put my feet up a little more near the end.
You will never get a redo on this time that you are planning to grow your family member. You have to be aggressive in your quest to minimize stress.
6. Start taking a prenatal vitamin now.
Many problems with the early stages of fetal development can be prevented by the availability of proper nutrients in the women’s body. Eating a well-balanced diet is a large part of this.
However pregnancy is not a great time to mess around with specific nutrient deficiencies and prenatal vitamins have the daily requirement of folic acid. This significantly reduces the risk of neural tube defects that lead to spina bifida.
When shopping for prenatals, look for ones that are made from whole foods. Synthetically made prenatal vitamins have limited absorption capacity and can actually do more harm than good.
Whole-food based prenatals are easier to digest, are more bioavailable, and nutrient dense. Here are some different options for prenatals made from real food.
Get Pregnant faster by tracking your fertility
If you are thinking about becoming pregnant in the near future it is a good idea to go ahead and get off birth control now. It can take a while for your body to get back to a regular cycle.
Once you are off, start tracking your cycle with the Ovia Fertility app. This is a super user friendly app that allows you to track the many little nuances about your cycle, which helps to recognize signs of ovulation.
Buy ovulation tests in conjunction so you can confirm your fertility to what the app is telling you.
Also, pay attention to the position of your cervix and vaginal discharge during this time. During ovulation, your cervix will be high up in the vagina, soft, and slightly open. Your cervical mucus will be of an egg white consistency when you are ovulating.
The best way to get pregnant is to have sex during your fertile period, which is about a week before you ovulate to the day of.
I wish you the very best in your journey to become pregnant. Just remember that you will never be able to do things perfectly. But you are already a wonderful mom just because you are trying and you care!