If you’re thinking of expanding your family and welcoming a new addition, it’s essential to look after yourself. Your body will go through a lot in the coming months, and it’s wise to be in good shape before you start trying to conceive. If you’ve decided that you’d like to have a baby, here are five essential health tips to take on board.
- Check your BMI
Your BMI (body mass index) indicates whether or not you are a healthy weight. If you’re overweight, this can affect your fertility. If your BMI is too high, it’s worth taking steps to lose weight before you start trying for a baby. The best way to lose weight and keep it off is combining regular exercise with healthy eating. Try and monitor your calorie intake and make healthy food choices. Work out frequently, and you’ll notice a difference on the scale in no time.
2. Give up smoking
Smoking during pregnancy can have profound consequences for your unborn baby. It can also reduce fertility in both men and women. If you’re hoping to conceive in the coming months, the sooner you give up, the better. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but it is possible. Ask your doctor for advice about effective therapies, such as nicotine replacement and group support. Set yourself a target, switch up your routine, and keep busy. The longer you avoid smoking, the higher the chance of giving up for good. Use the prospect of having a baby as motivation.
3. Keep an eye on your alcohol consumption
Many women don’t find out that they’re pregnant until at least a few weeks into their pregnancy. For this reason, it’s best to cut down on drinking as soon as you decide you want to try for a baby. For some, early pregnancy symptoms can be vague. You may not even think twice about feeling a bit sick or being bloated. If you’ve made the decision to start trying, cut down, or give up drinking altogether. Alcohol can be incredibly harmful to an unborn baby, and it can also have an adverse effect on fertility.
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4. Start taking folic acid supplements
Most women know that they should take folic acid supplements during pregnancy, but it can also be beneficial beforehand. Folic acid helps to reduce the risk of birth defects, including spina bifida. You can now buy supplements specially designed for women trying to conceive. Look in your local health store, or search online for more information.
5. Have an STI test
STIs (sexually transmitted infections) can reduce fertility. If you long to hear the pitter patter of tiny feet, it’s wise to organize an STI test. Most doctors recommend testing both partners. You may feel apprehensive or embarrassed about having an STI test. But don’t be. It only takes a few minutes. If you do test positive, treatment usually involves a course of antibiotics.
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Pregnancy involves major changes, and it’s best to get your mind and body prepared in advance. Exercise frequently, eat well and look after yourself. See your doctor if you haven’t had an STI test recently, and start taking prenatal supplements.