The first time I got pregnant it was almost too easy. We came back from our honeymoon, and we casually said to each other, “let’s start trying and see what happens”. I’d completed my MBA right before our wedding and I was in the middle of job interviews. So we weren’t quite ready, but everyone had told us that it takes at least a year to get pregnant. To our surprise, I got pregnant two months post honeymoon.
Fast forward few years, our experience was completely different. As our daughter’s third birthday was approaching this past spring, we decided to try again. We figured we’d try for couple months and I’d be pregnant. Why not, that’s how it happened the first time. Except it didn’t. For the past several months, we’ve been actively and diligently trying to conceive, but without success. And the only way I can describe it is that it’s been a roller coaster of an experience – humbling, spiritual and at time, emotional.
When the new year began few weeks ago, I became more determined than ever. Giving my daughter a sibling became my first priority of 2017. I was ready to do my homework and prepare my body for conception. I realized that I was in my early 30s the first time I got pregnant. Sure I’d always maintained a healthy lifestyle and that might have helped, but I suspect being younger played a role. But I was now almost four years older and so was my husband. As my mom likes to say, I’m not a spring chicken anymore.
So here are four steps I’m taking to prepare my body for a healthy pregnancy this year. If you’re in the same boat as we are, I advice you to first set up an appointment with you doctor. You’ll need to discuss with her/him your health history, any existing medical condition, medications that you currently are taking and things you may need to do to prevent certain birth defects. You’ll much more comfortable and prepared once your doctor gives you the green light!
1) CLEAN UP YOUR DIET
What would you be eating and drinking if you knew you were pregnant now? And what would you be avoiding? My guess is that you’d avoid and minimize the usual suspects: alcohol, smoking, drugs, too much caffein, raw meat, etc. I’d also encourage you to eat organic food whenever you can, especially when it comes to meat and dairy. And of course it goes without saying that your diet should consist of mostly fresh veggies and fruits. You’ll soon be eating healthier than you’re now so might as well let your body have a head start.
2) TAKE YOUR PRENATAL VEES
In an ideal world, I’d get all my nutrients from whole foods. And I do try to eat mostly plant based, organic foods. But I also know that our food system is compromised. Unless you’re growing your own food (which I’m not), chances are much of the food we eat is devoid of nutrients due herbicides, pesticides and poor soil quality. Which is why this time around I decided to take prenatal vitamins to supplement the food I eat.
My doctor suggested I starting taking prenatal vitamins once I get pregnant. However, upon doing my own research, I found a line of prenatal vees that I can take at every stage of my pregnancy journey – pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and post-pregnancy. The family owned company that produce the line is Prenatal Ease. As of earlier this month, I started taking Preconception, a comprehensive multivitamin specially formulated for women trying to conceive. It has the full suite of vitamin B complexes and other essential components to help support and enhance optimal fertility. In addition to Preconception, I’m also taking Omega-3 DHA, which provides all the recommended Omega 3 fatty acids but without the risk of contaminants. DHA is essential to fetal growth and development and are particularly important to visual and cognitive development. To learn more about Prenatal Ease vitamins and their other products, check them out here.
3) GET & STAY ACTIVE
Prior to my first pregnancy, I was very active and it really helped me maintain my fitness during pregnancy. Once I found out I was pregnancy, I switched from hardcore cardio and weight training to daily walks. I walked outside for about 45 minutes almost daily and did prenatal yoga occasionally. And I plan to do the same this time around. Staying active throughout your pregnancy reduces your risk of complications during pregnancy, getting gestational diabetes, and it makes it so much easier to lose the pregnancy weight after delivery.
4) SCALE BACK ON WORK
I spent the last three years launching and building a business from scratch (since my daughter was only four months old). It’s been exciting but also a highly stressful journey. And I sometimes question the timing of the launch. I wonder if the stress had something to do with my struggle to conceive these past few months. Chances are yes, and if I had to do it over, I would have waited until after my second baby to start my business.
If you’re trying to conceive, think carefully before launching big and potentially stressful projects. And if you’re in a position to scale back on work for little while, I recommend it. Granted not everyone is able to do this, you might even be the primary provider for your household. If cutting back on working long and hard is not an option, find other ways to relax your body and mind. Get frequent massages, listening to uplifting music, surround yourself with supportive people, and get plenty of sleep.