The decision to try for another bub is a big one. There are family dynamics to think about, the impending juggling act of having more than one child, finances, maybe even a bigger car. But possibly the most important factor to consider when baby fever kicks in again is preparing for pregnancy and your pre-conception health.
Healthy living and an active lifestyle play a huge role in preparing for pregnancy, and the sooner you kick bad habits to the curb and start investing in your health, the better – for you and ultimately your new babe.
To help prepare for pregnancy and get your mind and body ready to conceive baby number two (or three, or four), here are ten things to pop on your to-do list.
Check-in with your GP
A pre-conception check-up is a great starting point when you’re thinking about trying for another little human. Your doctor will be able to check your overall health for conception and pregnancy, address any of your concerns and give you peace of mind that you are ready to welcome another new life into the family folds.
Routine pre-pregnancy tests often include a breast examination, a Cervical Screening Test (CST) to look for abnormalities of the cervix, and a blood test to check your iron stores and identify any sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Your GP will also want to check that your vaccinations are up to date, specifically German Measles (Rubella) and Chicken Pox. If you do need to be vaccinated against these, experts recommend that it be done at least 28 days before you fall pregnant so as not to harm your baby.
Start a pre-conception vitamin
Prenatal health starts well before you even fall pregnant. In fact, doctors recommend that as soon as you make the decision to try for another baby, a prenatal vitamin should be part of your daily health routine for the best chance at a healthy conception.
Ovitae Pre-Conception Support was developed specifically to help couples achieve their dream of falling pregnant. It contains a sophisticated blend of 25 essential minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, all scientifically based to properly nourish your body in the pre-conception stage and beyond.
Dig out the bathroom scales
Urgh, the scales! We know, they’re the least popular appliance in the house, especially when you’re preparing for pregnancy and your pre-pregnancy jeans already confirm that you are nowhere near the old you. But, when you’re ready to start trying for another baby, a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index) is important and can make an enormous difference on your ability to conceive, so it’s time to face the music.
What’s important is reaching your goal weight in a healthy way. Spend some time preparing an eating plan full of nutrient-rich, balanced foods that will nourish your body and help get you back on track the right way.
Also start planning a realistic exercise regime to help you achieve your ideal weight – which brings us to this next point…
It’s time to move it, move it!
Finding time to exercise with a toddler in your midst is no walk in the park (pun intended), but try to squeeze in some exercise that suits you and helps prepare your body for the mammoth undertaking that is pregnancy.
You could pop your little one in the pram and go for a walk – and yes, laps of the shopping centre count. Or, invest in an exercise app and use your tot’s nap times to reclaim the toy-splattered living room for workouts.
You’re likely already exhausted from caring for your young, busy family, but remember, exercise does as much for the mind as it does for your body.
Get to know your cycle
One of the reasons some couples struggle to conceive is because they haven’t identified their ‘fertile window’.
In a throwback to high-school science, ovulation typically occurs about two weeks before your next period, and it’s those few days leading up to ovulation that is considered gold for creating new life.
By charting your cycle months ahead, it will give you a good idea of that all-important fertile zone – and it’s a great excuse to create another spreadsheet.
Still breastfeeding? It may be time to stop
If your periods haven’t returned yet, breastfeeding could have a lot to do with it.
Breastfeeding is known to be a natural contraceptive. The very hormones that help you create milk are the same ones that stop you from menstruating and ovulating. While for some mamas this is a massive bonus, for those who want to conceive again, it can be a problem.
If your little one is thriving and ready to move on from the breast, now might be a good time to close Mummy’s Milk Shop and allow your periods to return.
Get more Zen
Healthy mind, healthy body. The importance of finding avenues to de-stress and calm the mind has never been more widely spruiked than it is today, and it’s particularly relevant when it comes to preconception health.
Yoga is famed for its relaxation benefits, not to mention how fabulous it can be for your body, but even a relaxing walk, reading, or making time for special hobbies (remember those?!) can work wonders for reducing stress levels.
Is ‘his’ health in check?
Did you know that sperm quality decreases as men age? And that around half of pre-conception problems are because of an issue relating to the father?
Don’t stop at yourself when it comes to pre-conception health. It takes two healthy bodies to do the conception tango, so book your partner in for a check-up so that you both know that it’s all systems go in his department too.
Shelve the contraceptives (but only when you’re really ready)
Perhaps one of the last steps in preparing for pregnancy is to call time-out on the contraceptives, and that’s because once you stop using them, conception can happen before you know it.
If you’ve been taking the pill, it typically takes from one to three months before you’re able to conceive once you stop. If you were taking the ‘minipill’, which doesn’t stop ovulation, you may be able to fall pregnant almost immediately after you stop taking it!
Give your body and baby-to-be the best start
Unlike other types of prenatal supplements on the market which are based on decades-old research, Ovitae Pre-Conception Support is the result of current, exhaustive research on fertility and pre-pregnancy health.
It is proudly designed and made right here in Australia to the highest of standards and offers your body the specific support it needs to conceive and give your baby the best start in life.
Ovitae is endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives.
Available online at Ovitae.
This article was written on behalf of Ovitae.