Preconception is the period leading up to getting pregnant. It’s easy to think there’s nothing you can do to help yourself fall pregnant, and conception will either occur or it won’t. But there is plenty that you can do, and many women want to feel they are ticking all the boxes and doing everything they can to fall pregnant more quickly.
The 10 things I advise all my clients to do during preconception
1. Manage your expectations:
So many women think they will fall pregnant immediately and many will. But the reality is that it can take up to 8 months to conceive. That’s why it’s so important to manage your expectations and in the meanwhile, focus on the things you can do to help yourself get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy and baby.
2. If you’ve just come off the pill, try straight away:
Don’t wait until you’ve got the pill out of your system. There is a paradox where some women get pregnant immediately after coming off the pill.
3. Really understand your fertility and your monthly cycle:
Many women have been on the pill for a long time and it takes a while to get to know your body. There are three things you need to be aware of – your fertility secretions, having sex at least three times a week and understanding it’s not just about ovulation. Sperm can live up to a week inside you so regular sex helps you ensure a constant flow of sperm for ovulation.
4. Reduce the pressure:
Most women have spent much of their lives trying not to get pregnant and it’s only natural to feel excited now that you’re trying. But excitement leads to disappointment and very soon, if you’re trying and not falling pregnant, anxiety and obsession start to creep in. This can really come between a couple. It’s important to decide from the outset that you won’t let this become an issue.
5. Cut out alcohol, smoking and recreational drugs:
No woman or man should smoke when trying for a baby, or take recreational drugs. We know that these are harmful to eggs and sperm.
6. Look at your work life balance:
Many couples I see work long hours, fall into bed late at night, they’re exhausted and running on empty. You need energy to make a baby. Look at the ways in which you can pull back, get time for yourself and build up energy reserves through sleep, taking time out and being in nature.
7. Consider your mindset:
I’m a huge believer in the mind when it comes to fertility. For many women, there are a lot of obstacles buried deep inside that might prevent them from conceiving, such as a previous termination or a long held belief that it would be difficult for them to fall pregnant. Look over any issues for you and start to think how to best deal with them.
8. Ditch diets for nutrition:
Women today are very keyed up on diets, but not so much on nutrition. Look at the nutrients you’re putting in your body, and bear in mind that stress and alcohol can deplete you and rob your body of vital nutrients. For more on the importance of nutrition read my article on 7 Reasons to Focus on Nutrition
9. Get the right medical checks:
I’m not a great believer in over-medicalising pregnancy, but there are some key things you should be looking at doing. These include a sexual health check to rule out chlamydia, another is checking with your GP that you are immune to rubella. The third thing is having an up to date smear test.
10. Take supplements:
I always advise couples, especially those with busy lives, to consider a multi vitamin and mineral that contains folic acid. Many women we see are depleted in vitamin D to, so make sure you take that as a supplement as well. It’s also important to build omega 3 into the body prior to getting pregnant. Check out my Female Preconception Support Pack and Couples Preconception Support Pack