You’re here because you and your partner have decided to take the all-important first steps towards starting a family. You may be a little nervous, possibly even overwhelmed, but mostly excited. Below are a few steps that you should consider when you’re thinking about starting a family which should help the whole process feel less stressful, and more like a journey you and your partner are taking together.
Get a health check
The very first thing you want to do is have a full health check-up for you and your partner. Pregnancy will be taxing on both your bodies, so it’s a good to make sure that everything is working the way it should. You should have a general health check to ensure that you have no pre-existing conditions and are fit and healthy. You should also go to a fertility clinic to make sure there are no reasons that you shouldn’t be able to conceive. Most of the time, everything will be perfectly normal, and your doctor will send you on your way with a little advice to help you. Sometimes, however, you may be told that conceiving could be a little more difficult for you due to low fertility in you or your partner. This may feel like bad news, but don’t be alarmed. While low fertility can decrease your chances of falling pregnant, it does not eliminate them. There are also plenty of options for IVF treatments and Hormone Replacement which can increase both of your fertility levels, helping you to conceive quicker.
Examine your diet, exercise, and rest
The next step you should take is to make sure that all aspects of your physical and mental well-being are geared towards falling pregnant. Diet is key as you need to be fueling your body correctly so it can function in a way to optimize your efforts. Obviously, there are certain foods you should avoid while pregnant, like caffeine, alcohol, and raw seafood. And you would be well advised to avoid these during your attempts to conceive also. You should also make sure that your diet is balanced, and that you are neither eating too much, nor too little. Ensure that the five food groups (fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy, and cereals/grains) are present in most of your meals. You should also have a healthy balance of macronutrients. Around half to two-thirds of your daily calorie intake should be from carbohydrates, and the rest should be split fairly equally between protein and fat. Try to receive the bulk of your carbohydrate intake from whole foods, avoiding simple carbohydrates (labelled as ‘of which sugars’) as much as possible. Fat is an important part of your diet and should not be excluded. It helps to provide slow-release energy and can help keep your heart healthy. Try to keep your saturated fat levels as low as possible, but avoid foods labelled as ‘low fat’ or ‘light’. These have had the fat artificially removed, and are instead full of sugar to keep them tasting the same. You would be much better having the ‘full-fat’ version in moderation, or finding a healthier alternative.
Though exercising while pregnant can help keep you active and healthy as your body adapts and changes, it is important to make sure you are exercising while you are trying to conceive also. You don’t need to be running a marathon every morning; just half an hour of exercise per day will make a huge difference. Pick an activity that will make you sweat, up your heart rate, and cause you to be slightly out of breath. The aim here is to keep your body in good all-around health to increase your chances.
With all this exercising, planning your diet, and keeping on top of daily life, it can be very easy to over-do it. Be sure that you are getting plenty of rest to help your body and mind to recuperate. Try and aim for eight hours per night, preferably getting two or three hours in before midnight. Turn off all electronic devices an hour or so before you get into bed so help your body to unwind naturally.
Perfect your timing
There are specific times in your monthly cycle where you will be more fertile, so it’s best to make sure that you are making the most of these windows of opportunity. There are many products that can help you to know when you are ovulating, such as fertility or ovulation tests, as well as an app that can help to track your cycle through the month, letting you know when you are most and least fertile. This means that you can plan your efforts accordingly, leaving you free to spend more time together doing other things.
Keep the romance
With all the planning and effort that goes into starting a family, it can be easy for the whole process to become a little too clinical and matter-of-fact. Take some time to maintain the connection with your partner. You decided to start a family together because you love each other, so make sure you both still feel that way while you’re trying. Have a romantic meal, go for a walk at sunset, plan out activities you can enjoy as a couple. Discuss things together beyond the details of your day. Although starting your family is likely to be something that is very important to you both, try not to let it consume every aspect of your relationship. Take this new chapter in your lives together as an opportunity to reconnect, and remember why you got together in the first place. Having children is a journey that cannot be rushed, so make sure that you give yourself room to enjoy the view as you travel the road to parenthood together.
Hopefully, these few tips have given you enough information to suitably plan out and prepare for your first trip into parenthood. It is a remarkable and rewarding thing to do with your partner, and the whole process should be something you enjoy together. Good luck, and may your family be strong and healthy.
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