Pregnancy planning

There are lots of things you can do in preparation of getting pregnant and it’s important to do what is right for you.

It is easy to get obsessive about having everything perfect such as body temperature, times of the month or even day, your diet, and even the clothes you both can wear.

The main thing is that you should stay healthy and happy and calm. If your body is stressed then this is not an ideal state for you to get pregnant. There are some general things however, which can greatly increase your chances of conceiving.
A healthy diet is essential to overall wellbeing. You should try and eat your recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. Also protein from meat, cheese and fish, especially oily fish, is very important. If you are not sure about what you should be eating, you should ask your doctor who will be able to provide you with healthy eating plans and lists of what you should be avoiding.

Folic acid
Folic acid has been shown to improve the chances of having a healthy baby and reduce some birth defects. It can also be beneficial to take this whist you are trying to conceive. It is widely available in most good pharmacies. Again, if you are not sure, ask your doctor before you start taking it.

It is advisable to cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink when you are trying to conceive. If you can you should try and give it up all together. Alcohol acts as a poison in the body. It can lower men's sperm count even when men are only drinking small amounts. It also prevents the body from taking in those essential minerals and vitamins that are needed for conception.

It isn’t healthy for a man’s sperm count if he wears tight boxers or shorts. Wearing looser cotton underwear, avoiding tight clothing in general and not taking very hot baths or showers can really help improve chances of conceiving. It can take up to six months to have an effect so start to sooner the better.

Spend time together
Trying for a baby can be stressful and time consuming and it’s easy to loose sight of why you wanted to have a baby together in the first place! Make sure you spend time together as a couple, just like you used to do. Go on dates or just sit and watch a DVD together or read the Sunday papers. Try and keep othere interests apart form trying for a baby. This all helps to keep you both happy and stress-free which is really important at this time.

Try and take some gentle exercise at least three times a week. It’s a great way of relieving stress and boosts hormones. It doesn’t have to be too vigorous or something that you don’t enjoy. Find something that you like doing that is easy to fit into your life such as yoga or swimming. If you exercise too hard you will be exhausted and not have any energy for anything else!

Smoking can seriously damage your health at any time, causing long term damage to lungs as well as a multitude of other problems. If you are trying to conceive neither you or your partner should be smoking. Like alcohol it is a poison and both men’s and women’s fertility levels drop when smoking. Smoking while pregnant can also cause long term birth defects.

Know your cycle
For the best chances of conceiving, you should be having sex around the time you ovulate each month. If you don’t know when this is you should start making a note of the dates of your periods in your diary or a calendar. If you are on a regular 28 day menstrual cycle, you’ll probably be most fertile around day 13 or 14, just after you ovulate (with day one being the first day of your period).

Have sex
It sounds obvious but sometimes the pressure of trying to conceive can have a negative effect on your sex drive. It’s important to have sex around the time you ovulate as this is the best time of the month to conceive. However, having sex at times you would do normally as a couple is also advisable. Sex is part of your relationship and is not just about making a baby. Try and see the conceiving part of your lovemaking as an added extra rather then the sole reason you are having sex.