Congrats! You have officially decided to expand your family and start trying to conceive. If you’re like me, this is your first time entering this crazy world of motherhood—and while there are a lot of changes coming your way, the first changes you need to make start with you. If you’re already trying to have a baby or plan to start trying to conceive soon, these lifestyle changes may make all the difference.
1. Cut out Caffeine and Alcohol
If you start your morning with coffee, consider a drink swap, like a caffeine-free tea instead of your cup of joe. If you can’t function without your caffeine (I feel you there!), stick to one cup daily. The same is true for alcohol. You don’t need to quit cold turkey but try to cut out your nightly glass of wine. There are warnings out there about caffeine and alcohol that indicate overconsumption may be linked to miscarriages or difficulty getting pregnant.1 So be cautious and cut them out as much as possible while trying to conceive! It will also help when you become pregnant, and these things need to be reduced significantly, if not eliminated.
2. Make Healthy Food Choices
If your body is healthy, you create a better environment for a healthy baby. Try to eat a more balanced diet by incorporating healthy fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Other great foods to consider are calcium-rich foods like cheese and whole-fat milk. It’s been said that foods like fish and beans can help with fertility, while spicy foods and trans fats could actually hurt your fertility. Once you become pregnant, this list becomes much longer (and much stricter!), so by creating a wholesome diet while trying to conceive, you will be better prepared for what’s to come.
3. Create a Workout Routine
While it’s true that a healthy body is created in the kitchen, it’s also true that your body needs exercise to be truly ready for a baby. Pregnancy is tough and requires a lot of energy—energy you can gain during regular exercise. If you don’t currently work out at all, consider adding in a workout a few times a week to start. Even a little cardio each week can make a big difference in your fertility, pregnancy, and labor.
4. Consider a Prenatal Vitamin
My gynecologist told me that it is suggested that women start taking a prenatal vitamin the day they get their period. While I am sure that most of us were not taking a prenatal as preteens, it did prompt me to start taking one right away. A prenatal vitamin is just that—a vitamin. Unless they hurt your stomach, there are no downsides to taking one as soon as you can. Taking this vitamin daily can help prepare your body for all the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy.
This one is probably the most important and, yet, the hardest one to do. Stress is never good, but it can be especially bad for women trying to get pregnant. New research has shown that stress can affect fertility.2,3 If you are having trouble conceiving, being told to “relax” may not be quite so easy. Consider trying meditation tactics or joining a yoga studio—taking care of your mind is just as important as taking care of your body.