Starting 2023 with Operation Baby Preparation
Happy New Year to all! If you’ve decided that this is the year to conceive – or to begin the incredibly exciting, yet daunting journey of fertility treatment – this is for you!
Before any great journey, a fair amount of preparation is required to make sure that both your mental and physical health is at its peak.
We’re here to give you some helpful pointers for prepping your body for a pregnancy or the beginning of a fertility journey.
The first step in the baby making journey starts with a planned trip to one of our health-care providers. Since it takes two to do the reproductive tango, you should schedule a pre-conception checkup for yourself and your partner. During this check, your health care provider will review your and your partner’s health histories among other routine health checks.
If you are planning a family as a same-sex couple or as single parent – exactly the same goes. The first priority is making sure that you are creating the most ideal and healthy environment for a baby to be conceived.
Whatever your narrative – it all begins with health.
Stopping Birth Control
Everyone responds differently to the stopping of a birth control pill or hormonal methods of contraception. The body can take from a day or two, to a number of months to balance out and regain previous levels of fertility. Learn about your specific method.
Closely monitor your ovulation after stopping your contraception and have patience – the body is a miraculous vessel.
If you’re not sure about stopping your contraception method, or wish to now more information, you can contact one of our healthcare specialists and they will gladly advise.
Addressing Chronic Healthcare Issues
If you suffer from any chronic healthcare issues, make sure to consult with one of our healthcare professionals before embarking on this journey.
It will be important to know the parameters of your condition, as well as to make sure that you are in great physical condition before trying to conceive.
If you have chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, thyroid disease, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, or lupus, you’ll need to manage them before and during pregnancy carefully. For example, with diabetes, the odds of having a healthy pregnancy and baby increase if you can get your blood sugar under control before becoming pregnant.
A pre-conception checkup should include a test for diabetes. Current or past depression, anxiety, or mood disorders should also get special attention.
Starting a pregnancy or fertility journey means assessing your chronic medications and raiding the medicine chest to do research on what promotes fertility versus what may not.
Some common over the counter medications may also be harmful to a developing fetus.
If you have any concerns, our healthcare specialists will gladly advise you on your medication selections and choices during your fertility journey.
Live Healthy, Eat Healthy
From the onset of pregnancy prep or the start of your fertility journey there are an almost overwhelming number of health-related factors to consider.
Let us simplify this for you in a few bite-sized facts;
- Avoid Toxins
Household sprays (e.g., hair spray, deodorants or aerosol cleansers) create a cloud of synthetic chemicals and nasty solvents around you. It’s not only the presence of hazardous chemicals but the concentration and duration of exposure that matters. That said, you probably don’t need to worry if you’ve been using these products in normal amounts.Tobacco smoke, pesticides, paint fumes, improperly maintained stoves, kerosene heaters, solvents and car exhausts are also also air pollutants to avoid.
- Eat and Drink Clean
Drinking a large amount of water is essential during pregnancy – but issues with lead and mercury may be a concern within your drinking water. To avoid this, we recommend having your water tested, or investing in a high quality water filter.
Some research shows that organic foods (those grown without pesticides and antibiotics) are not nutritionally superior to those produced conventionally. But a University of California, Davis, study of organic berries and corn found that they contained 60 percent more antioxidants than their nonorganic counterparts.
Regardless, eating organic at least some of the time is a great way to minimise pesticide intake.
- Take Supplements
An increase in vitamins and and supplements is necessary during pregnancy.
One of the most critical ingredients in your multivitamin supplement is folic acid or folate (which has superior benefits and is more bioavailable). The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends taking a vitamin that includes 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid daily to reduce the risk of neural-tube defects such as spina bifida in babies.
However, if you previously had a baby with a neural tube defect, they recommend approximately 10 times that amount, or 4 milligrams (mg), starting three months before pregnancy. So, talk to one of our health care providers to ensure that you take the right amount for you.
Finding the right Pre-natal Vitamins
There are dozens of pre-natal multi-vitamins on the market. If you’re looking to fall pregnant or embarking on a fertility journey, we have a list of ingredients that every pre-natal multi-vitamin should have according to our healthcare specialists.
Folate or Folic Acid
Perhaps the most important ingredient in a prenatal vitamin is folic acid, a vitamin that can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine. Folate is also the only form of Folic Acid that can cross the blood-brain-barrier and is essential to producing happy “neurotransmitters” like serotonin, dopamine and Norepinephrine.Many studies have also shown that a low folate status can reduce the effectiveness of your Anti-Depressant and thus it is important to use Folate in combination with your to your Anti-Depressant.
Prenatal vitamins with iron should be a top priority. You’ll need twice as much of this mineral, now that you’re pregnant, to make extra blood to take care of your baby.
This mineral is vital for the development of your baby’s bones, teeth, heart, muscles, and nerves.
This vitamin helps you absorb calcium and is important for your baby’s bones, teeth, eyes, and skin.
Found in fresh fruits and vegetables, vitamin C helps with the development of baby’s cartilage, tendons, bones, and skin.
During pregnancy, you need 220 micrograms of iodine every day to help your baby’s brain development and nervous system,
Get on with Physical Fitness
If you’re not currently engaging in any fitness programs, consider starting a program now that you can continue through your fertility journey. Being physically active when you’re pregnant, or trying to fall pregnant can help relieve aches and pains. It may also boost your energy, help you sleep, improve your mood, help you cope with stress, and could help to prepare your body for labour.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Remember, people with a wide variety of body types have healthy pregnancies. We are not suggesting a weight focused goal, but rather improving your nutrition and physical activity as holistic goals.
Excess weight or a sedentary lifestyle could be a risk factor for certain pregnancy-related complications. These complications include high blood pressure, preeclampsia or gestational diabetes.
Being underweight carries risks, too. People who are underweight are more likely to experience fertility issues and babies that are underweight at birth.
Clean up your Lifestyle
We all have a few guilty pleasures, be that a chocolate for dessert, an occasional cigarette, a strong morning coffee or a glass of wine in the evening. None of which are too harmful in moderation, however, during a pregnancy or fertility journey each of the above has its own threat to a healthy pregnancy.
One month before trying to conceive, in order to obtain optimum fertility, it is time to cut out smoking and consuming alcohol. People who drink during pregnancy face an increased risk of premature birth, fetal brain damage, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), miscarriage, stillbirth, and low birth weight.
Smoking could cause fertility problems, fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, fetal lung and brain damage, abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and birth, certain congenital disorders, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Excess sugar and caffeine are also a bad idea, as they can be linked to fertility issues.
All in all, it’s best to have a completely clean lifestyle for the time that you are trying to conceive to up your chances of fertility and a healthy worry-free pregnancy!
Embracing Mental Health during the Fertility Journey
For those that are embarking on the journey of fertility treatment for the second or third time this year, this is for you.
The fertility journey is often referred to as the ‘IVF roller coaster’ because of the many highs and lows – sometimes happening at the same time. Even if you’ve dealt with stressful times before, you might find yourself struggling with stress, depression and anxiety. Additionally, you may be asked to make tough decisions that impact you and your partner physically and emotionally.
First of all, this is to be expected during a journey like this, and you are not alone.
It is important to feel excited and hopeful about your new journey, as well as to focus on caring for yourself.
There are many ways to practice self-care and self-soothing during this time.
Self-soothing activities provide comfort and distraction in times of distress. This is where the bubble baths fit in with other activities like watching your favourite TV show or spending time out in nature. Self-soothing activities are a vital part in maintaining our well-being. However, they’re over represented in what we typically think of as self-care.
Self-care activities, on the other hand, are ones that care for your health and well-being of your current and future self. This includes activities like eating well, exercising, and taking ownership of your finances. Caring for yourself can sometimes be tedious and the last thing you want to do in a stressful moment. Ultimately though, these activities will ground you and help your personal growth.
Alternatively, it important to seek support when you need it. Contact one of our healthcare specialists for a list of helpful resources.
Embarking on a fertility journey is an exciting and hopeful time. We wish you all the best with your individual stories!