Becoming pregnant is a task in itself. If you’ve decided you want to fall pregnant, but don’t know where to start or how to prepare, there are a few things you can do to prepare your body for fertility. Needless to say, like many women, trying to fall pregnant isn’t as easy as one would like to think it. Infertility impacts roughly 1 in 8 women. Out of these, 40% are due to factors of the female, 40% will involve male/sperm issues, and 20% could be a combination of the two, according toDr. Lucky Sekhon, RMS Fertility Specialist. Dr. Lucky is a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, and an assistant clinical professor in the Mount Sinai Health System.
We asked Dr. Lucky about her top tips on how to get pregnant and prepare the body for fertility. There are a handful of ways you can do this. Keep reading for more.
Fertility Specialist Dr. Lucky Sekhon Shares Her Top Tips On How To Get Pregnant
1) Get off birth control.
Some forms of birth control will be reversible as soon as they are discontinued (ie. IUD). There are, however, birth control pills that have been used longterm can take up to 6 months to wear off. In most cases, women will return to ovulating normally within 1-3 months of stopping. If you don’t have a period for longer than 3-6 months after discontinuing birth control, you should see a gynecologist rule out any medical problems that could be interfering with ovulation. This will prepare you for your pregnancy beforehand if you are currently trying.
2) Start tracking your periods/ovulation.
Efforts to try to conceive should be concentrated on the 2-4 days prior to ovulation. Outside of this window, it is less likely to result in pregnancy. If you notice that your periods are irregular or infrequent, this could be a sign that you are not ovulating regularly, which can make it challenging to time when to try to conceive. Anyone with irregular cycles should consult their doctor before trying to get pregnant.
3) Quit smoking.
Smoking cigarettes accelerates ovarian aging and can increase your risk of early menopause. Cigarette smoke is toxic to pregnancy. It increases the risk of miscarriage, growth problems, and preterm delivery.
4) Reduce your alcohol intake.
Excessive alcohol intake is toxic to the reproductive system. Alcohol exposure in pregnancy can result in fetal alcohol syndrome. Because many people are not aware of early pregnancy, it is important to cut down alcohol intake while trying to conceive so that you aren’t inadvertently exposing an early developing pregnancy to large amounts, which could be harmful.
5) Change your caffeine intake.
Keep caffeine intake to less than 200mg per day. Excessive caffeine intake has been linked to adverse pregnancy outcomes such as miscarriage. Caffeine in moderation, however, is deemed safe in pregnancy.
6) Start taking prenatal vitamins.
Start prenatal vitamins that contain at least 400mg folic acid per day. Ideally, start this process 3 months before you try to conceive. This is to prevent neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
7) Check in with your doctor about any chronic health issues.
Women with health problems (such as high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.) should work with their doctors to optimize their condition and overall health before conceiving. It may be necessary to see a high-risk obstetrician to be counseled regarding the risks of their condition to pregnancy. This is key to manage health issues once they become pregnant.
8) Review your medications with your doctor.
It is important to discontinue any medications prior to conceiving which could be toxic to a developing fetus. You could put your baby at risk of malformations.
9) Do some cancer surveillance.
before getting pregnant, it is ideal to have an up to date pap smear and mammogram to ensure there are no precancerous or cancerous cells that need further follow up, investigation, or treatment. The additional tests and treatments required, should cancer be discovered, are usually not safe or possible to undergo while a woman is pregnant. Pregnancy can then delay the diagnosis and necessary treatment.
10) Get going on a healthy exercise routine, if you aren’t already.
Establishing a healthy exercise routine, with 30-40 minutes of cardio 3 times per week, at a minimum, will optimize your body for pregnancy and reduce the risk of pregnancy complications. It is best to begin exercising regularly prior to pregnancy as it is much harder to begin a new exercise regimen and stick to it, once already pregnant.
11) Switch up your diet!
The best type of diet to optimize your overall fertility and reproductive health is a Mediterranean-style diet. This type of diet is high in antioxidants and lean proteins and healthy sources of fats, such as avocado.
12) Change your household/beauty products to cleaner, less toxic versions.
Many types of plastic and commonly used hair and makeup products contain fragrance and other types of compounds which are harmful chemicals or ‘endocrine disruptors’ which can interfere with our reproductive system and negatively impact our fertility.
13) Have a gynecological evaluation.
If you have known gynecologic issues (ie. fibroids, endometriosis, etc.) have a focused evaluation (ie. pelvic ultrasound) to identify any issues that should be rectified prior to conceiving. For example, if there is a large fibroid distorting or occupying the uterine cavity, it could lead to difficulty conceiving or increased risk of miscarriage and/or preterm labor when pregnancy is achieved.