Above all, of course you can get pregnant without being ready or prepping for it, and still make it just fine! But if you are planning to get pregnant there are some things I did prior to conceiving that were key and really helpful for a smoother healthier pregnancy & delivery. Physically and mentally.
- Eat clean. If you do, your body will be as healthy as it can be, full of vitamins and minerals. Make sure to eat organic when needed (check the list here) so you stay away from intaking toxins. I also did not eat any processed food prior to being pregnant. Eating clean is also a habit, so make sure you make it a habit before pregnancy. I could not eat as clean as I usually did during my first trimester due to food aversion (I vomited just smelling greens or fish) but I tried to stick to as healthy as I could. Knowing that my body did need it.
- Stop eating tuna fish (caned and regular). Your body easily absorbs methylmercury from fish – and when you're pregnant, it crosses the placenta which can impair a baby's growing brain and nervous system.
- Try to cut off or lower alcohol intake. Drinking increases the time it takes to get pregnant and can affect the quality of sperm, and can reduce both men’s and women’s fertility. Not drinking alcohol is the safest option.
- Limit coffee intake to one cup a day. As long as you're not consuming high amounts of caffeine, it's unlikely to harm your chances of getting pregnant.
- You can try switching coffee for matcha tea instead, it will give you a boost of energy and it is packed with antioxidants such as EGCG, green tea which may boost fertility by reducing the formation of free radicals and preventing DNA damage to cells including sperm and eggs. Green tea also contains L-theanine which enhances metabolic rate to regulate weight, supports healthy insulin levels and reduces anxiety.
- Start taking magnesium. It is not only beneficial to fertility but also releases stress and anxiety which can help conceive as well as get good rest and helps being in a good place, mentally.
- Drink a kombucha per day and other probiotics for good gut health and bacteria, likekefir, miso soup, yogurt, tempeh... But drinking kombucha is key for me! Read more on probiotics and kombucha here.
- Start a prenatal multivitamin that will give your body what it needs, avoiding any nutritional deficiencies during early pregnancy.
- If your prenatal does not include folic acid, then add a folic acid vitamin as well (400-800 mg / day). Taking it before and during pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of your baby's brain and spinal cord.
- Exercise regularly, at least 5 times a week. Again, if you make it a habit it will be easier to do during pregnancy too, which will help you lead a healthier pregnancy and ease the delivery. Something that my doctor told me was NOT to start anything too new for my body during pregnancy. So if I weight lifted pre pregnancy, I could keep doing that during pregnancy (with of course some modifications: keep in mind that heavy lifting, standing for long periods of time, and bending at the waist may lead to menstrual disorders, fertility issues, or miscarriage, ALWAYS ask an expert).
- Start Pilates (if you don't), the perfect way to strengthen your pelvic floor! It did wonders to mine, I did it pre and through pregnancy and it was so strong for birth, it was one of the reasons why I did not tear. Pilates once a week was key!
- Start yoga once a week (if you don't), it's great for your fertility and may help with your emotions and anxiety too. You will also strengthen and stretch your body to prepare for pregnancy. PS. There are yoga fertility classes that focus into those exercises.
* Both yoga and pilates are easy to do at home too.
- Limit toxin exposure. High amounts of toxic exposure can be dangerous especially for a developing baby, avoid synthetic fragrances, Bisphenol-A, (BPA)-free, chemical-free home and personal care products, skipping certain beauty services... You can make your own cleaning products for the house with water and vinegar, eat organic and stock up on fragrance-free laundry detergents toss makeup products that contain parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, and mercury choose fresh foods over canned, which may contain BPA.
- Practice exercises to release stress like yoga, self-care and meditation. Meditation does not need to be what you think it is: take walks alone, practice breathing and do things that bring you joy (linked on the self-care list). Establishing good stress relief outlets now will help you during pregnancy and in the hectic first year of your baby’s life.