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So, you have decided to try to conceive a baby? You want to find out what you need to get in order before taking the plunge, and how to find out when you are most fertile.

Seeing your doctor for a preconception check-up

Women who are using an intrauterine devices obviously need to see their doctor before they can start trying to conceive. The preconception visit is not limited to them, however. Why do you need to see your family doctor and/or your OBGYN before you start trying for a baby? There are plenty of reasons, actually. They include:

  • Having an IUD removed or discussing coming off the pill or other hormonal birth control methods.
  • Getting tested for sexually transmitted infections. This is a step that both men and women who are trying to conceive should take, preferably together with the same doctor. STIs are pretty common, and if either or both of you have one (or more), you need to be treated before you try to get pregnant.
  • Get tested for nutritional deficiencies.
  • Get tested for other obvious health problems. You could ask for a PAP smear if you have not had one recently.
  • To discuss pre-pregnancy booster vaccinations. This one is for both partners too.
  • To discuss weight and nutrition, which both affect fertility as well as prenatal health.
  • Finally, those women who are suffering from chronic health problems, such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension, should discuss how pregnancy will affect their conditions. Not all medications are safe while you are expecting a baby, so that would be another thing to discuss.

What to eat when you are trying to conceive

A healthy and balanced diet will maximize your fertility, and that holds true for your partner as well. If you have had your preconception visit and found out that you suffer from some type of nutritional deficiency, then you should take the appropriate supplement and eat more foods containing the relevant vitamin or mineral. Every woman planning to start trying to conceive should take a folic acid supplement, starting at three months before she will quit birth control. For everybody else, a diet containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will help. Minimizing saturated fats and sugar is another

wonderful idea those two "biggies" will do wonders for your health whether you are trying to conceive or not. If you or your partner smokes, now is the time to quit. Alcohol and trying to conceive don't go together either. You may like to have the occasional drink during the first half if your cycle or while you are menstruating. Remember, male fertility is negatively affected by alcohol as well.

Exercising while trying to conceive

There is no shortage of research to confirm that being overweight or underweight is not good for a person's fertility or for the health of a pregnancy. Weight is influenced by nutrition, but also of course by physical activity levels. Working out regularly has many other benefits too you will have an easier pregnancy in which you get exhausted less quickly if you were already fit when you conceived. Aim to exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week, and longer if you can. You don't have to go to the gym to accomplish this; a brisk walk outside will do just fine. And then there's sex :).

Finding out when you are most fertile

Speaking of sex, you will probably want to find out when in the month you are most fertile. It seems like most couples prefer knowing exactly when the woman ovulates, so they can plan ahead. I feel the need to throw in the "radical" idea that having sex throughout the month offers about the same chance of pregnancy during any one cycle as using ovulation tests does. If you are laid-back about conceiving but want to have a vague idea about your fertile days, an ovulation calendar is going to be a wonderful tool for you. Do you belong to the species that prefer a little more control?

Then, ovulation tests, charting to conceive, or tracking cervical mucus are fertility-tracking methods you can choose from. About half of this blog is dedicated to the topic of trying to get pregnant, while the rest is about pregnancy, giving birth, and babies. There is plenty of material about how to find out when you ovulate, so please feel free to use the search button in the top right corner.

  • Photo courtesy of stock photos
  • Photo courtesy of stock photos

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