What are the most important things to do before getting pregnant?

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Answered by: Syreeta, An Expert in the Get Pregnant Category
Congratulations on your decision to plan a child! Before getting pregnant, there are some important steps you can take now to boost your chances of having a healthy, happy pregnancy and baby that often go overlooked. While these steps are not required, they are all highly beneficial.

#1 - Get your body ready! The best way to make sure you are healthy enough is to schedule a preconception checkup with your doctor. He or she will ask you questions about your lifestyle and overall health, probably run a few routine blood tests, and can recommend a prenatal vitamin. Taking the vitamin before getting pregnant is a great way to ensure you have all the essential vitamins in your body before conception - many women are particularly lacking in folic acid, which decreases the chance of having a baby with neural tube defects.

#2 - De-Stress, de-clutter, and prepare!Most of us are under incredible amounts of stress, but did you know that stress can actually prevent conception? Starting an exercise program that includes yoga, walking, or cardiovascular routines is a great way to reduce your stress and prepare your body for carrying your new bundle of joy for nine months. Studies have shown that women who have regular workouts have easier pregnancies and deliveries, and who wouldn't want that? While you're thinking ahead, it's also a great time to clean out that spare bedroom to make way for a nursery and prepare your budget to accommodate diapers, clothing, toys, and everything else a new life needs.

#3 - Get to know your cycle!

Getting pregnant is a little more complicated than "sperm meets egg, and taa-daa! We have baby!" There is typically only one week a month when a woman is able to conceive, a time called ovulation. During ovulation, the egg is released by the ovaries and is travelling down the fallopian tubes towards the uterus -it is during this time that the sperm can join it and form the beginnings of a baby. While there are also physical signs such as a slightly elevated basal body temperature and thicker cervical mucus, but the severity and notice-ability of these vary from woman to woman.

There are many brands of over the counter ovulation prediction kits available at local drug stores, and even if you think you know when you ovulate, it may be worth purchasing one to be sure. Experts disagree on whether or not sexual positioning aide in conception, so that part is completely up to you! Many midwives suggest that relaxing after sex, specifically lying on your back with your knees bent upwards, aide sperm in swimming faster towards the egg due to the pull of gravity. A little relaxation never hurt anyone, right? And relaxing before getting pregnant is definitely the time to do it, before those 3am feedings begin!

Most couples are able to conceive within the fist six months, so if it has been longer than that, seeing a fertility specialist for further testing and advice may be a good option. Science has completely changed the world of fertility complications, and most couples are able to conceive with or without intervention. In either case, relax, have fun, and get ready for your new baby!

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