The decision to try for a baby is one that millions of couples find themselves reaching every year. It signals the onset of one the most exciting periods in your life. This is the start of your journey to parenthood, so it’s only natural that you want to ensure the process of conception goes as smoothly as possible. Unfortunately, conception is not always the smooth process people expect it to be. If you want to ensure you handle this exciting-but-terrifying period in your life as well as possible, it may be worth adopting a few thoughts and behaviors…
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Adopt healthy habits
A change of lifestyle during the “trying” phase is a great way to increase your chances of natural conception. Here are a few ideas you might want to try:
- Exercise more, especially if you’re overweight. Studies have shown that losing 5% of your bodyweight can help to increase your chances of falling pregnant.
- Eat well, especially dark green leafy vegetables and foods rich in calcium. If you’re looking for a sweet treat, berries are a nutritious choice that many experts recommend to women who are trying to conceive.
- Reducing your caffeine intake is also thought to be beneficial when you’re trying to conceive; sticking to a single cup of coffee per day might be the best choice.
- Take folic acid. Many women believe they only need to start taking folic acid when they actually have a positive pregnancy test. However, starting to take folic acid prior to conception is generally considered to be a good idea.
- Stop smoking. You’re going to need to give up when pregnant anyway, so if you smoke, start the quitting process while trying to conceive.
The decision to try for a baby is one that millions of couples find themselves reaching every year— and it signals the onset of one the most exciting periods in your life.
Don’t think too far ahead
When you’re trying to conceive, it’s very easy to find yourself whisked away. You may catch yourself daydreaming about life with a child of your own and imagining what your parenting style will be. While a little bit of dreaming never hurt anyone, it’s advisable to try and focus on the moment wherever possible.
The same goes for planning for your child. Investigating your right to maternity leave and thinking about which room you will use for the nursery are good ideas. However, it’s best not to take action on your plans until you see a positive pregnancy test. Have an idea of how you will adapt your life to cope with pregnancy and a new baby, but hold back implementing any major changes, just in case the process of trying takes longer than you initially expect.
Keep the secret
Telling your nearest and dearest that you are trying to conceive seems like a natural step; of course you’re going to want to share such happy news, so what’s the harm? The potential harm is that people will ask for updates, and if you don’t have anything to tell them, this can be distressing. It will be easier on you if you keep the secret for awhile, and then share with select groups should you need support if you struggle to conceive.
You may be tempted to tell your other children early in the pregnancy. While you should never lie to your children about what is going on, it may be better to spill the beans when you are farther along. Children can become fearful about the pregnancy, and so waiting until you know things are going okay is much better.
Be proactive and positive
If the months pass and there’s no sign of a positive pregnancy test, then you have further decisions to make. It is impossible to say what constitutes “too long” when it comes to trying to conceive, but most doctors will suggest you try for around a year before exploring other options. However, there are cases where investigation is warranted earlier— if you’re over the age of 35, for example.
If you keep trying to no avail, it’s important to try and remain positive. This is, sadly, often easier said than done, so it’s often helpful to remind yourself of baseline facts. Try and remind yourself that sometimes, for no obvious reason, conception just takes time; 15% of couples have to “try” for over a year before falling pregnant. It’s also important to note that with the advent of incredible technologies like the Embryoscope, fertility treatments are more and more likely to produce results. You do have options, and reminding yourself of this can really help to keep your spirits up when you’re struggling to cope. The combination of being proactive through medical assistance and positive thinking can help you to cope with the disappointment of struggling to conceive.
Limit the time you spend with families
From the moment you begin to try and conceive, you will likely find it helpful to limit the time that you spend with families and small children. Many women find that being around children causes stress and upset when they are struggling to conceive for themselves— if you recognize that you may be liable to experience those same feelings, then avoidance is likely to be the best choice for all concerned.
Continue your life as normally as possible
When you’re trying to conceive, it can be easy to find yourself falling into an obsessive pattern. While making a few changes to your lifestyle and thinking about the future is helpful when trying to conceive, it shouldn’t be the only thing that you do. Continue your life as normal wherever possible; engage in the same habits, socialize, and enjoy your working life. It’s important to remember that the “trying to conceive” stage of your life may take longer than you expect, so you need to keep calm and carry on in the meantime.
The journey to conception is such a complex time. It’s exciting, but also nerve-wracking; you’re on the brink of a huge change in the dynamics of your life, and it can feel like a huge amount is down to change. By focusing yourself on the steps above, you can exert some control over the process, and ensure that your time spent trying to conceive is as healthy and productive as possible. Good luck!