Before trying to conceive, you need to take time to evaluate your life, your health and your resources. Having a baby is one the biggest challenges a woman faces (physically and mentally). Do you think you’re ready for it?
I’m in the process of doing this, myself. I feel like my biological clock is ticking (and sounding an alarm at the same time). Add to that the fact that I’m at that age where everyone around me is having a baby (late 20s, early 30s). What you have is a hormonal 31, almost 32-year-old who desperately wants a baby.
So, in all honesty, I wrote this article from my own experience and to myself. This is my actual list of things to do before trying to conceive. Most of them I’ve already done, but I still have some things to tackle (like getting my cavities done and completing a strong savings account for when the baby comes)
So if you’re in the same situation and you have no idea where to start, this article is for you. I hope my 8 tips & tricks to do before trying to conceive will help you get organized and prepare for your bundle of joy. Here they are:
This is one of the most important steps, in my opinion. Growing a baby inside you will change your body. You will probably gain weight, you will give most of your nutrients to your baby, and you will have hormonal changes, which can lead to mood swings. You need to be prepared for it. And, I’m sure, you will want to make the experience as easy and painless as you can.
If you’ve skipped the annual check-up in the last couple of years, definitely do it now. Get blood work done and see if there are any deficiencies or any other problems you should take care of or take into consideration when getting pregnant.
I do mine every year and I know I have a thyroid issue and a slight anemia, so my gynecologist prescribed me some supplements and vitamins in order to take care of (and control, in the case of thyroid) these issues.
This step is not obvious to some, but it is important, as it can prevent further issues along the way.
You might not know this, but pregnancy can increase your chance of getting gum disease, which is a health problem that may also make early labor more likely. That’s why you should have your teeth cleaned and checked before trying to conceive. Moreover, if you have any cavities, you should do them now, they can cause problems in the future (and a local anesthesia is not indicated during pregnancy). After that, just make sure you brush, floss, and use mouthwash every day.
Start a healthy lifestyle
This should be a no-brainer. Healthy momma=healthy baby.
So it’s very important that you start developing some healthy habits that will help you in your pregnancy before trying to conceive. First, consider your diet. Try to add as many vegetables as you can in your meals, and try to eliminate or limit the unhealthy food choices like sugar, fats or artificial flavors. Give your body resources (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) for it to grow a healthy baby.
Second, exercise. This is more important than you think. Many studies have shown, over time, that exercise can help in the labour and delivery process. It’s also great for your mental health, pre and post baby, so start exercising now. You don’t need to go overboard, it’s ok just to incorporate more walks and some light weight training.
Quit smoking & alcohol, and limit caffeine
As I’m sure you know, alcohol and smoking are a no-go zone in pregnancy. They are dangerous for your fetus’ development, so obviously many discourage using it during pregnancy.
A cigarette can make it harder to get pregnant, in the first place, and during the nine months, it can increase the chances of miscarriage and premature birth. And one too many drinks during pregnancy can form birth defects and learning problems for the baby.
Caffeine is not specifically prohibited, but the future mama is encouraged to drink no more than 200 milligrams of caffeine a day, if you really need it. So one small cup per day. I suggest switching to decaf, it’s safer overall.
Check finances and start saving up
Infants need a lot of stuff. Not only clothes, from which they grow out of every 3 months. But also diapers (you’d be amazed how expensive they are), bottles, pacifiers, stroller, crib, and many other knicks-knacks you don’t even need to know about now.
Also, keep in mind, expenses include doctor visits, labour and birth expenses, and possibly child care.
So start saving up now. Create a separate account and transfer money monthly, you will be thankful for it when the time comes.
Make sure your house is ready for a baby
When it comes to a baby’s arrival, the first obvious question is: does your house have an extra room for it? If the immediate answer is no, don’t stress about it: babies spend the first 6 months in the parents’ bedroom, anyway, so it’s enough to have that.
But in the long term, you need to think about the extra room. It’s beneficial for a child’s development to have its own space and it’s better for a couple’s relationship, too.
Also you can start thinking of baby-proofing certain areas. Either through special equipment, or just by rearranging your furniture and decor in order for babies to not hurt themselves if they touch it or grab on to it.
Start reading up about pregnancy and motherhood
There are so many resources online about pregnancy, parenting, even fertility, that you probably don’t even know where to start.
So before trying to conceive, I recommend you start researching. There are two ways to go about it, in my experience:
- Get books or comprehensive material about it, like a course. This way, the information is structured, so it’s better and faster to learn everything you need to know in one go.
- Start saving different snippets in Bookmarks and/or “Saved links section”. I do this. Anytime I see an article that relates to motherhood, I save it to my special Bookmarks folder called “Babies”. If I am browsing Instagram, I save it to my Babies collection. Websites like The Bumb are a great place to start.
I went a bit overboard on YouTube: I have a private playlist for every topic: first/second/third trimester, birth, baby essentials, nursery, postpartum, prenatal workouts, etc. It is extremely useful to go back to these playlists when the time comes. Most of the videos are made by women who went through the same thing and so, they are (usually) very relatable to your situation.
Think of a support system for when the baby comes
By support system, I mean people who can help you care for the baby, if you need to (if, for example, you have to go back to work or have errands to run).
Ideally, this means grandparents who can babysit the child when you have things to do. Or it can also mean child care, which, of course, means extra financial resources.
Now, I know not all people are lucky enough to have family and/or enough finances to handle this situation. So this is the time to take this into consideration and find solutions.
I really hope this was hopeful for you! I am actively doing all of these things before trying to conceive because I want to have a baby soon. Also, just so you know, all this advice was passed on by friends and older sisters who went through this and said the steps helped make the transition easier.
Please let me know if you did any of the actions above, and especially if you did anything extra before trying to conceive! Help out the community!
p.s. If you realized you need to start saving up, here are some tips & tricks on How To Save Money!