Preparing for pregnancy
Once you’ve decided to get pregnant, there are some practical steps you need to take—from stopping any birth control and making lifestyle changes to checking your immunity to certain infections. Taking these action before you conceive will put you in the best possibile health for pregnancy.
During pregnancy, the focus is understandably on the woman. However, at this preconception stage it really is about both of you. Men, as well as women, can do much to improve their fertility by making dietary and life style changes, with the added advantage that when the baby arrives he will have two fit and healthy parents. You can maximize your chances of becoming pregnant by tracking your menstrual cycle and knowing the optima time to conceive. In addition to using an ovulation prediction kit, you can learn to spot the natural signs that you are ovulating. Be aware, though, of the importance of relaxing and enjoying the process of getting pregnant.
Becoming too focused on conceiving and feeling stressed can spoil your enjoyment of this special and exciting time, and actually adversely affect your fertility. It can also negatively affect your relationship if your lovemaking is all about getting pregnant.
Couples who have been trying to get pregnant for some time may want to investigate why they have had no success so far. This is especially true of older couples, who may want to seek advice sooner rather than later. There is a great deal of help available, starting with basic fertility tests, such as blood tests and ultrasounds, to rule out any physical problems. Sometimes knowing that your reproductive organs are in good health can help you relax and actually improve your chances of conceiving.
For couples who are considering having fertility treatment, this chapter outlines the options available, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). There is a wide range of fertility treatments available and success rates are improving gradually all the time.
Getting pregnant again
If you are trying to have another baby, the preparation is the same. Although it is harder to prioritize yourself once you are a mother, being in good shape will benefit your conception chances and provide the energy to care for more children. If you had any problems conceiving or Turing previous pregnancies, discuss these with your doctor so you can go into this pregnancy feeling happy and confident.
I want to have a baby. Should I just stop using birth control?
It depends on which type of birth control you use. Condoms and spermicides can be stopped immediately. If you are on the pill or minipill, finish the course so you have a bleed. Although it may take a few months for ovulation to return to normal, you can conceive immediately after stopping without any risks to your baby.
If you have an IUD in place, or an implant, make an appointment for it to be removed. If you are on injections, simply stop renewing them and the hormones will gradually decrease. It can, however, take a year for your cycle to return to normal. Whichever contraception you use, you may want to make diet and lifestyle changes and have medical checkups before you get pregnant. It may be worth doing this preconception preparation before you stop your birth control in case you become pregnant quickly.