The desire to become parents is great! However, if you decide that two strips on a pregnancy test should not come as a surprise, you need to prepare for conception. The preparatory phase that leads to a healthy pregnancy is multifaceted. Indeed, even before conception, the future father and mother must understand that it depends on the state of their health whether the baby will be healthy. Therefore, pregnancy planning is associated with visiting doctors and taking tests. And the state of health that medical specialists will diagnose and, if necessary, correct, in turn, depends on lifestyle, nutrition and emotional state and a number of other factors … How to prepare for pregnancy?
Nutrition during pregnancy planning
Those who are going to become a mother in the near future need to change their daily diet.
Cut down on coffee. It is ideal, of course, to abandon it altogether and switch to chicory. But if this is already very difficult and you are an experienced coffee lover, stick to the rule – no more than two cups of an invigorating drink per day.
A study by scientists from the National Institute of Health and Human Development found that women planning to conceive who drank a large amount of caffeinated beverages per day had a 74% higher risk of miscarriage than their peers who drank less coffee, tea, carbonated drinks and energy drinks.
It is also necessary for men planning to conceive to limit the use of caffeine. According to the researchers, a possible pregnancy can also end due to the fact that the partners abused coffee or other drinks containing caffeine.
We’re not talking about quitting caffeinated beverages,” said study lead author Jermaine Buck Louis of the National Institutes of Health and Human Development. “Our data suggests that men and women planning to conceive should not exceed three cups of coffee per day.
The expert confirms that the level of caffeine does not adversely affect the success of conception. So when planning a pregnancy, it makes sense, if not to completely give up coffee, but to use it in much smaller quantities and, if possible, not every day.
In preparing the body for conception, a balanced diet is also important.
Eat foods rich in antioxidants: fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Antioxidants such as folate and zinc can improve fertility in both men and women. Antioxidants deactivate free radicals in the body that can damage both sperm and eggs.
A study in young adult men found that eating 75g of antioxidant-rich walnuts daily improved sperm quality.
Don’t skip a healthy breakfast. Morning meals improve the hormonal effects of PCOS. For normal-weight women with this syndrome, a nutritious breakfast reduces insulin levels by 8% and testosterone levels by 50%. High levels of any of these can contribute to infertility. Please note that for a hearty breakfast, the size of lunch and dinner should be smaller. Otherwise, there is a risk of gaining excess weight.
Avoid trans fats. Their use is associated with an increased risk of infertility due to a negative effect on insulin sensitivity. Trans fats are found in hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, fried foods, and baked goods.
Cut down on carbs. Low-carbohydrate diets maintain a healthy weight and lower insulin levels.
Eat more fiber , which helps the body get rid of excess hormones and maintains blood sugar balance. These are whole grains, fruits, vegetables and beans. Certain types of fiber can help remove excess estrogen from the body.
Partially replace meat with plant-based protein sources (beans, nuts, and seeds). The study found that when 5% of total calories came from plant protein rather than animal protein, the risk of ovulatory infertility was reduced by more than 50%.
Nourish your body with natural vitamins. They will be very useful in the next nine months of pregnancy after conception. Obstetrician-gynecologists recommend that women planning conception include foods containing folic acid in their daily diet: avocado, spinach, sorrel, lettuce, broccoli, nuts, buckwheat and oatmeal, pumpkin, beans, salmon, tuna and sour-milk products.
The improvement of reproductive functions in women is facilitated by the use of foods rich in vitamin C. In this regard, the consumption of citrus fruits, kiwi, apples, pears, wild berries, tomatoes, bell peppers and broccoli should be increased. Also, the diet should contain a sufficient amount of vitamin E (from vegetable oils).
The transition to proper and wholesome nutrition should be made comfortable, gradual, because the body does not need stress at all. If you used to like fried, replace it with baked. Make sure it’s just as delicious cooked in the oven as it is in a pan, but without the extra fat!
Summing up the topic of nutrition during planning, we note: say a firm “no” to fast food, unhealthy snacks, canned food and sweets in large quantities!
Vitamins when planning pregnancy
Shelves in pharmacies abound with beautiful jars for the inscription “for pregnant women.” They are also suitable for planning pregnancy and already established mothers – during breastfeeding.
Vitamin complexes are all different. And you absolutely can’t self-appoint them! This must be entrusted to the doctor when you decide to become pregnant.
As practice shows, three months before the planned conception, a woman is advised to take folic acid . It is found in some green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, and some vitamin supplements.
Why is folic acid important? Helps reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord (so-called neural tube defects). The most common neural tube defect is spina bifida, in which the baby’s vertebrae do not fuse properly, causing the spinal cord to be exposed.
Folic acid is most beneficial during the first 28 days after conception, when most neural tube defects occur. Unfortunately, many women do not realize that they are already pregnant. Therefore, folic acid supplementation should be started before conception and continued until pregnancy. Your doctor will recommend the amount of the substance according to your individual needs.
Many women have low levels of iron in their bodies due to monthly periods and diets low in hemoglobin-boosting foods. Building iron stores helps prepare the mother’s body for the needs of the fetus during pregnancy. Good sources of iron are meat, offal, pomegranates, and certain types of seafood. Check with your healthcare provider before consuming fish, as some fish may contain high levels of mercury.
Preparing for pregnancy includes saturating the body with calcium. If there is not enough calcium in the diet for pregnant women, the fetus extracts it from the mother’s bones, which can put women at risk of developing osteoporosis in the future. The recommended calcium intake for expectant mothers is 1,000 mg, which is three servings of milk or other dairy products every day.
Pregnancy planning tests
What tests should a woman undergo when planning a pregnancy?
When planning a pregnancy, visit a general practitioner and gynecologist for referrals of unnecessary tests. According to the results of the tests, various disorders or diseases that are easier to cure before pregnancy can be identified. Recall that during the bearing of a baby, many medications cannot be taken – because of the potential danger to the development of the future crumbs.
What tests should be done:For womenFor men
- general and biochemical blood and urine tests;
- PCR (examination of scrapings from the cervix for the presence of pathogens of chlamydia, herpes, mycoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, ureaplasmosis);
- STIs (sexually transmitted infections: herpes, chlamydia, cytomegalovirus infection, syphilis, etc.), hepatitis B and C viruses;
- to detect immunity to toxoplasmosis and rubella in the expectant mother
If the results of the tests reveal problems in the health of the couple, the doctor has the right to refer them for further research.
Alcohol while planning a pregnancy
The consequences of drinking alcohol during pregnancy are well known: fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is an incurable physical and mental defect in an infant. But the results of this addiction in anticipation of conception are being actively studied. The results of a study supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) suggest that a man and a woman who become parents should avoid drinks of different strengths.
The team of experts made some interesting observations. In particular, in the body, which was exposed to alcohol before conception, increased levels of stress hormones were found. According to the authors of the study, these data suggest that changes in the mother’s body due to alcohol abuse before conception can be passed on to her offspring. And this is fraught with a lifelong reaction of the child to stress, which occurs in his brain.
Drinking alcohol before conception also threatens factors such as the risk of low birth weight in an infant and preterm birth.
Patrick O’Brien, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, explains : “Excessive alcohol consumption reduces testosterone levels and sperm quality and quantity in men. If a man drinks a lot, it can significantly reduce a couple’s chances of conceiving.”
Doctor Komarovsky about pregnancy planning
A well-known pediatrician advises couples planning parenthood to pass the necessary tests 3-4 months before conception. And future mothers must discuss with a gynecologist or endocrinologist a list of vitamins (multivitamins) that will prepare the body for an upcoming pregnancy.
Dr. Komarovsky recommends playing sports in order to strengthen the abdominal muscles. Also, spend more time outdoors.