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Tips on Planning Your Pregnancy

Posted Apr 07 2011 11:14am

A body of evidence continues to build about the effects of chronic stress on a woman’s ovulation and a man’s sperm production,” write Drs Rosenwaks and Goldstein in A Baby at Last!: The Couple’s Complete Guide to Getting Pregnant–from Cutting-Edge Treatments to Commonsense Wisdom. “Chronic stress alters brain signals to the hypothalamus, which in turn affects the hypothalamus’s signals to the pituitary and the pituitary’s signals to the ovaries and testicles.” Chronic stress can inhibit the body’s reproductive organs — it can interfere with your menstrual cycle, egg hatching, and ovulation phases – and it can even cause bodily changes that make you think you’re ovulating when you’re not. If you’re planning for a baby, try to relax as much as possible.


Timing sexual intercourse

The most important factor when trying to conceive is to have sexual intercourse during the woman’s fertile phase - that is, the five days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. New life begins when an egg (ovum) from a woman is fertilised by sperm from a man. Ovulation occurs around 14 days before the start of the menstrual period, when an egg is released from one of the ovaries. Conception occurs when the egg is met by a sperm in the fallopian tube. Having sex in the days prior to ovulation (when the woman is aware of a slippery sensation at the vulva) and on the day of ovulation (usually the last day of the slippery sensation) increases the odds of pregnancy. Couples who have sexual intercourse around the middle or later stages of the woman’s menstrual cycle may have already missed the egg, which has a short lifespan.


Watch your figure – but don’t get “pencil thin”!

Finding your healthy body weight is one of the best tips for women ready to get pregnant. If you’re just starting to try to conceive, you may think that it’s a pain in the tushie to lose weight. But trust me — the real pain in the tushie comes when you have to go for infertility workups, fertility tests, and infertility procedures. Losing a few pounds is easy peasy compared to that! Watching your weight can increase your fertility levels, which will help you get pregnant faster.


Eat foods that increase your pregnancy chances

There are certain foods that increase female fertility, such as the healthy unsaturated fats in nuts, olive oil, and avocados. And, certain foods increase sperm count, such as seafood, leafy green veggies, sweet potatoes, and oatmeal. Eating a balanced, nutritious diet affects your eggs, menstrual cycle, and ovulation. Feed your body with healthy foods, and you’ll make the journey towards planning for a baby that much smoother.



There is no special diet that improves the odds of conception, but now is the time to start eating a healthier range of foods including fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats. There is no evidence to support the theory that taking supplements of vitamin C boosts fertility. It is recommended that women increase their intake of folate for a few months prior to conceiving and throughout the first few weeks of pregnancy, since this B-group vitamin has been found to reduce the risk of certain birth defects. Good sources of folate include leafy green vegetables. Folate supplements are also recommended.


Take care of your health problems

Are you struggling with health issues, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, ovarian syndromes, and endometriosis? Try to get them under control because can affect your chances of pregnancy. Explore alternative treatments for your health issues, if possible, and always ask your doctor if the medications he or she is prescribing will affect your current or future chances of getting pregnant.


Stop smoking (even if you’re not ready to get pregnant)

This is the easiest pregnancy tip of all — if you’re a nonsmoker! “Smoking constricts blood vessels, including those that feed the ovaries, which accelerates the loss of eggs,” says Dr Sherman Silber of the Infertilty Center of St. Louis — he wrote How to Get Pregnant. “Sure, women who smoke can get pregnant – when they’re young. But smoking can cause you to become infertile earlier than you would as a nonsmoker.”


How can you put a limit on learning more? The next section may contain that one little bit of wisdom that changes everything.


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A crucial step in planning a pregnancy is to begin limiting your caffeine intake, stop smoking immediately if applicable, and if you use any recreational drugs, stop using them before you try to get pregnant. Any unnatural substances can be very harmful to you and your unborn baby.


When planning a pregnancy, money always figures into the equation. The ideal situation is to be financially secure before starting a family. However, it is extremely difficult to plan for everything. There will always be something or some unexpected situation that will require additional money. While you can try to prevent money problems from occurring, when money is the issue there is never going to be the perfect time or the ideal lifestyle.


There are many factors to consider in regard to your financial situation when planning a pregnancy. Daycare can be extremely expensive. If you will return to work after the birth of your child, you will need to include the cost of daycare into your post-pregnancy budget. If you decide to stay home with your child, decide which spouse should stay home and how your family will survive financially on one income. Also, factor in the cost of diapers, formula and baby food. These can easily add up to six hundred dollars extra per month or more.


Every expectant parent wants a healthy, happy baby. Planning your pregnancy in advance is the best way to ensure a healthy mother and baby and avoid a negative impact on your personal and financial lives. Having a baby will change your life forever. With good planning, pregnancy can be a stress-free experience that will lead you effortlessly into the next phase of your life.

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