Plan 3 months before you wish to conceive
Both eggs and sperm take about 2-3 months to get made. Hence, it is advisable to watch your diet and lifestyle 3 months before you plan to conceive. We have a suggested list of steps that both the male and female partner have to follow in order to ensure fertility and a healthy pregnancy.
· Keeping tabs on your period cycle is essential to calculate the best time to conceive. Understanding the length of the cycle, and ovulation period increases the chances of getting pregnant. An ovulation calculator or ovulation prediction kit can be used to estimate one’s fertile window.
· Discontinue birth control medications. Speak to your doctor about when to stop as it depends on the type of contraceptives used. It might take a few months for your menstrual cycle to regularize if you are on hormonal medication.
· If you have any medical condition like thyroid, diabetes, etc. make sure to take your medicines regularly and keep them under control. Also, find an alternative to the medications (under medical supervision) that might affect the pregnancy.
· Check if you are up to date and have got all your vaccines.
· Some medical conditions like PCOS make it difficult to get pregnant. Get relevant treatment from your fertility specialist.
· Get checked for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), before planning on pregnancy. STIs pose a risk to the baby during pregnancy.
· Talk to your doctor regarding any previous pregnancy complications and plan your pregnancy accordingly.
· Take folic acid. Folic acid is part of the Vitamin B complex. It prevents birth defects in newborns. Consume foods rich in folic acid. Consult your doctor regarding your daily requirement of Folic acid.
· In case of any nutritional deficiencies like iron or calcium, take nutritional supplements.
· Avoid or manage your stress. High-stress levels are known to cause hormonal imbalances in both men and women that impact their sexual life.
· Avoid caffeine as much as possible. It is harmful to the development of the baby. In fact, we suggest that you avoid decaf too since it still contains a certain amount of caffeine. Stick to herbal teas (ensure that they are herbal teas and not black tea flavored).
· A healthy weight is the key to maintaining your body in its perfect condition. Improve your well-being and blood flow by taking up some form of exercise. A regular exercise routine will not only help during pregnancy but it helps with the overall health of an individual in the long run.
· Eat well. Try to consume home-cooked food. Avoid junk food. Choose the food you intake smartly as the diet you take, affects your health and the baby’s development during pregnancy. So, try and avoid genetically modified food and try to source organic produce.
· Rest and stay hydrated. Get enough sleep. Drink at least 6 glasses of water a day.
· Quit Smoking. Smoking affects sperm quality and causes DNA damage. It affects fertility in men and women. Get help if you find it difficult to give up.
· Stop alcohol consumption. Alcohol is known to affect fertility and cause complications during pregnancy.
· Review your family’s genetic history. Consult with your pre-conception counsellor if there is any history of genetic disorders in the family that might affect the baby.
· Cut down on sugars. Processed sugars are known to increase body weight. Avoid aspartame (this is an artificial sweetener found in sugar substitutes)
· Avoid using harsh chemical skin products and try to lower your exposure to general household products that contain harmful chemicals. They contain endocrine disruptors that interfere with the hormones and cause detrimental health issues. Try to use natural, organic, and chemical-free products.
· Avoid excessive radiation exposure. Keep your mobile phone away from you when you sleep and try to eat lesser amounts of microwaved food.
· Avoid using a lubricant during intercourse since the lubricant inhibits sperm.
· Mental health should also be equally emphasized along with physical well-being. If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, or any other mental condition, please get help from a psychiatrist or psychologist.