If you and your partner have been trying to conceive, this is perhaps the best time to do some planning in every aspect of your life. Why? Mainly, so that stress and anxiety don’t get in the way of some of the most blissful moments of your life. Having a baby is life-changing. To help you make the most of it in the best way possible, we’ve put together a checklist for the that’ll gear you up in all the right ways for your little angel.
This should always be your first priority. Schedule a preconception check-up with your Gynaecologist. Review your family history of medical conditions, your health record, any medications you’ve been taking and how it could affect your fertility and pregnancy.
Your doctor will also review your diet, current weight, nutrient deficiencies, allergies, immunity levels, blood sugar levels, blood pressure problems and so on.
Check your immunity to childhood diseases such as chickenpox. Also get a genetic carrier screening done before you conceive to test if your child is at risk of inheriting genetic illnesses such as sickle cell disease, Huntington’s disease – a hereditary disorder where nerves become damaged, causing various parts of the brain to deteriorate, and Haemophilia – an internal bleeding disorder that doesn’t allow the blood to clot properly.
Adopting healthy eating habits at this stage will help you avoid illnesses such as diabetes. Don’t wait until you’re pregnant to make dietary changes that are hard to follow. Stay away from refined sugars, processed foods and caffeine in any form. Include plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in your daily diet (eat a rainbow!). Get a whole lot of proteins and healthy fats (such as avocados, eggs, chia seeds) into your system too. And most importantly, drink plenty of water!
When in doubt, sweat it out! Studies have proven that moderate exercise daily can improve sperm count and quality in men. Whereas in women, it helps maintain a healthy weight, improves blood flow and regulates hormones, facilitating a healthy environment for conceiving. Both of you should step out every morning to soak up some Vitamin D from the sun since it’s known to improve fertility.
To-be moms, you need to get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep facilitates leptin production. Leptin is a hormone that regulates energy balance as well as fertility and how well the embryo will implant in the endometrium. Improper sleep, coupled with obesity can cause a shift in Leptin levels. Too much Leptin and your body become desensitised to it, making the hormone ineffective. Too little Leptin and the embryo will not be able to implant in the endometrium.
To-be dads need proper, undisturbed sleep too. Research suggests that men who sleep for less than 8 hours each night have a 42% lesser chance of successfully impregnating their partner. Less sleep hurts your libido, lowers your stamina and increases chances of obesity – all of which directly impact your fertility.
This applies to both partners. Smoking, both active as well as passive, adversely affects immunity and fertility in men as well as women. Smoking and drinking lower the sperm count as well as damage the quality of sperms in men, while women who smoke and drink take longer to conceive.
Depression and anxiety can severely interfere with fertility and foil your plans of conceiving. Moreover, it’s not really a healthy move to ignore any mental health issues in light of such an important decision. To be able to raise a healthy baby, you need to be healthy first – physically as well as mentally. It is prudent to do a mental check-up at this stage. If you’re showing signs of depression or anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to see a therapist who will recommend the best way forward for you, and ensure you’re safe and healthy even during pregnancy.
Pregnancy, as well as everything that comes after the baby's arrival, costs money! You want to factor in the cost of delivery and recovery, contingency funds in case of emergency, medical reports and medicines, infant supplies, etc. This is the perfect time to give your insurance provider a call and check if they offer prenatal coverage. Your financial planning should begin the moment you and your partner agree to try for a baby.
Bringing your baby into this world is not only a surreal and the most blissful experience for your family but also a lifelong commitment. Exercising a little bit of pro-activeness in the pre-pregnancy stage itself will reap immense benefits and help you sail smoothly further into this magical journey! Good luck!