So You Want To Have A Baby...
It's time to start your family, congratulations!
This is a big step for many, and though the female body was built for this, it isn't only as easy as we think it's going to be.
Fertility seems to be more and more of a concern these days, and it could be because of many things. Woman are starting families later, being on birth control longer, our environment is different, so is our food when we compare it to previous generations.
But all of that isn't to say you can't do anything about it. There are steps you can take to support your body in conceiving a baby, before you ever need to see a fertility specialist.
Eliminate alcohol and smoking
If you smoke, drink alcohol regularly or caffeine regularly, it's time to consider slowing down or stopping all together if you can. We know that all three of these things can have a negative effect on mom and baby, so starting to cut now will make it easier when you are pregnant. With caffeine, there is so support that about 200mg of caffeine a day is safe, so you can still have your morning coffee if you want to.
Start a pre-natal
I actually recommend all my female patients of childbearing age take a pre-natal vitamin. It has a little more of certain things like folate which help with fetal development, and since the egg that eventually gets fertilized has been maturing for months, it may be beneficial to provide the best nutrients possible even before conception.
Speaking of nutrients...
Look at your diet. Is there a lot of processed foods? Do you eat the rainbow? Go big gaps without eating? Drink enough water? Nailing these things down now will put you in the healthiest state possible...and since the first months of pregnancy can be rough with morning sickness, building up as much as you can beforehand could help you feel better overall
This journey can be a rollercoaster. Fertility can be a very difficult thing for woman, couples and families to deal with, not to mention the hormones and your life getting tossed upside down once baby is here. Have open discussions with your partner and support people, and never feel like a failure if you need expert help. Everyone could use a psychologist in my humble opinion.
Stop the pill
If you're on any sort of hormonal birth control, or the copper IUD, time to stop. If it's the pill, it's easy enough to stop taking, but things like the implant or IUD do need to be taken out by your doctor. Keep in mind that you might not snap back and be fertile right away after stopping contraception. If you've been on hormones for a long time, it can actually take a while for your period and cycle to return to normal. A great resource for this is Dr. Jolene Brighton's book Beyond the Pill
If you don't already, start tracking your cycle. I use the Clue app myself. If you're looking to track ovulation, basal body temperature is what you're going to be looking at, a woman's BBT averages between 36.1°C (97°F) and 36.4°C (97.5°F). After ovulation, it rises to 36.4°C (97.6°F) to 37°C (98.6°F). You can also use ovulation tests, which can be found next to the pregnancy tests at your local pharmacy.
If you don't already exercise, now is the time to start. Now I'm not saying you should go from couch surfing to marathon training or CrossFit, but having a regular program of walking, resistance training a few times a week and some mobility work are GREAT ways to prepare your body for pregnancy, labour and beyond. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) and the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) came out with new guidelines in 2018, supporting exercise in non-complicated pregnancies.
Take care of your body. See you family doctor and get a full physical done and let them know you're ready to start trying for a baby. Massage therapy can help reduce stress. Acupuncture can support hormones. Chiropractic can keep your pelvis happy. These are things you can keep up with in pregnancy as well.
When it comes to conception, everyone woman...and every attempt for that woman...is different. No two pregnancies are the same, but these are some things you can do to support your health and your future babies!
Want more women's health info? Follow me over on instagram @samanthadc.dc
This information is intended to be educational, NOT medical advice. Always communicate with your health care professional about your health when making changes.
Dr. Samantha De Castro is a licensed chiropractor and doctor of chiropractic, but she is not YOUR chiropractor. She can not diagnose you. This does not replace being seen by your own health care provider. This information should not be used too self-diagnose or self-treat. This is informational ONLY and we do not accept responsibility for any outcomes.