If you’re planning to become pregnant in the next few years, or are currently trying to conceive, there are several lifestyle changes you can make now that will help you create a healthier lifestyle long term. Making these changes now may also make pregnancy a much smoother transition.
7 Lifestyle changes to make before you conceive
- Stop smoking. Smoking can be harmful to a developing fetus during pregnancy and to the health of a new baby. There are hundreds of ways you can stop smoking today and learn to embrace a healthier lifestyle.
- Cook dinner occasionally. When you’re footloose and baby free, who has time to shop for groceries, let alone cook? After a baby arrives, couples often having a big lifestyle adjustment as they learn how to eat at home some nights so that the baby can be most comfortable. As the baby grows up, cooking healthy meals and nutritious snacks will be a key factor in the baby’s developing mind and body, so cooking skills you learn now will benefit your future family. Learn to cook from your favorite cooking show, sign up for a class, or pick up a new cookbook. It’s easier than you think to create healthy and tasty meals.
- Learn to de-stress at the end of every day. Being stressed can be very harmful to your body’s functioning. Carrying a high amount of stress around all day is like carrying a heavy backpack around everywhere you go. Carrying it every once in a while is fine, but if you never really put it down it will create some problems. High levels of stress affects your emotional health, your physical health, and your relationships. You can learn stress management techniques through yoga, meditation, or through stress management seminars.
- Nurture your relationships. It’s easy in life to let career aspirations take over the driver’s seat in your life. But when we do this, relationships tend to suffer. That means that wherever you are today, now is the best time to start putting relationships with close friends, family, and your significant other ahead of other ambitions. There may be times where there is a bit of give and take, like when a work conference takes you out of town for the weekend, or when deadlines spark a bit of overtime, but remember who and what you’re working for. Put relationships first now, and it will be easier to make the transition to parenthood later on.
- Discontinue recreational drug use. Whether it involves needles, inhalants, or other types of drugs, all recreational drug use has both short term and possible long term effects. Many users turn to drugs to deal with the stress of every day life, or with high stress situations (much like alcohol is often used). Talk to your doctor about effective programs to help you become drug free. Your body will thank you now, and your future baby will thank you later.
- Learn to balance your emotions. If you’re living with understanding roommates, or an enamored boyfriend, it’s all too easy to let emotions dominate your decisions and allow yourself to indulge in letting off steam once in a while. The time to start mastering your emotions and managing anger is before you become a parent. So if you’re thinking of a long stream of swear works to spit out at your partner, take a deep breath and calm down. Think about what you’d think if your little 2-year old was someday repeating those words back to you.
- Lose weight. It seems counterintuitive to think about weight management when you’re contemplating getting pregnant, since you’ll be gaining weight anyway during a pregnancy, but did you know that being overweight or underweight can significantly impact your fertility? Extra weight alters hormone levels and can decrease fertility levels. So if you’re considering adding to the family in the next year or so, start today with a goal to get healthier and achieve your goal weight. It will help boost you chances of conceiving (as long as you lose weight safely), and it will make it much easier to bounce back to your pre-pregnancy weight after the baby is delivered.
At Santa Monica Fertility Clinic, we help couples from all over the world achieve their goals of creating a family. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Jain to learn more about the best fertility options available for you.