Being the best mum possible starts well before birth.
Nurturing a healthy, happy baby doesn’t just start when your little bundle arrives into this world; in fact it begins well before your even fall pregnant. Ideally, you should begin planning for pregnancy at least 3 months before you conceive.
This is because your eggs follow a 90-day life cycle, during which time you can influence the health of your eggs either positively or negatively simply by the lifestyle and dietary choices your make.
Here are some top tips to help you create the healthiest eggs possible to help improve your chances of conception and set yourself on the way to a healthy pregnancy and happy baby!
Although it’s hard to avoid in today’s fast-paced society, stress plays a major role in your ability to conceive. A certain level of stress is normal in our day-to-day lives however high stress levels can interfere with proper hormone function and affect your ability to ovulate.
Basically, if you’re too stressed your body will recognise this as a sign that you’re in no state to carry a baby, making conception difficult. Finding a healthy outlet for stress such as exercise, yoga, writing a journal or using herbs and essential oils can support reduced stress levels and boost your chances of conception.
Being either underweight or overweight will impact your fertility. Being underweight can reduce your ability to ovulate, which is vital for conception. Being overweight also hinders your chances of falling pregnancy as well as increasing the likelihood of pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Although it’s not necessary to be exactly at your recommended BMI, maintaining your weight within your healthy weight range is ideal.
Once released at ovulation, your egg only survives for 24 hours, during which time sperm must be present for conception to occur. Knowing when this 24-hour window is each month, greatly increases your chances of conception. Get to know your body. Tune in to the unique rhythm of your cycles. All of us have our own individual pattern and there are ovulation calculators and many other tools you can use to discover your unique fertile days.
Women have a 40 per cent lower chance of getting pregnant if they smoke, according to a report published by the British Medical Association (BMA). The report also showed that smoking and passive smoking was also responsible for up to 5,000 miscarriages and 120,000 cases of male impotence in men aged between 30 and 50 every year. Therefore it’s highly recommended to quit smoking before trying to conceive.
Cut the coffee
A recent study showed that women who drink in excess of one cup of coffee per day are only half as likely to conceive as those who drink one cup or less per day. Women who drink more than 2-3 cups per day are nearly 5 times less likely to conceive compared to those who drink no coffee at all. It’s recommended to keep caffeine intake under 200mg per day, which is equivalent to around 2 cups of coffee. It’s also important to remember that chocolate, hot chocolate and some soft drinks also contain caffeine.
Ensuring a good balance of all your important nutrients is vital for a healthy conception. Zinc affects hormone levels as well as the body’s ability to ovulate. Adequate folate and choline vital for a successful conception, as well as during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy, to help ensure proper growth and development. Low vitamin D and B12 are associated with reduced fertility and can impact healthy growth and development of the foetus. A healthy diet with a focus on wholefoods is a must and I highly recommend a good quality multivitamin as an ‘insurance policy’ to ensure you’re receiving the right balance of essential nutrients regardless of dietary fluctuations.
For information and support surrounding fertility and conception issues visit our Conception and Fertility Info Hub.
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