Trying to Get Pregnant? Here’s What to Consider:
1. Gather your “team” - You can start looking for support, even before you need it. Begin exploring options for an OB-GYN, doula, midwife, or anyone else you’ll want alongside you on your pregnancy journey. Birth professionals often have different styles and approaches, so by starting this search before you conceive, you’ll have time to find folks whose philosophies resonate with you.
2. Find a high-quality prenatal multivitamin (with folate) - Taking a prenatal multivitamin helps support key nutrients needed through pregnancy — and a prenatal with folate is essential. Health professionals strongly recommend that pregnant people (and people trying to get pregnant) get 600 micrograms per day of folate — a B-vitamin that supports neural tube development. (1) Fun fact: you can start taking a prenatal before you get pregnant, so even if you’re in the just-thinking-and-planning stage, you can make the switch now to support conception.*
3. Get personal with your menstrual cycle - Sometimes, a doctor asking you to remember the first date of your last period feels they’re calling on you in class to perform advanced calculus. While tracking your menstrual cycle isn’t necessary on the day-to-day (except for planning when to avoid white jeans), it’s crucial for someone thinking about getting pregnant to get in touch with their cycle. Once you’re on friendlier terms with your menstrual cycle, you can understand where in your cycle you’ll be most fertile, and target optimal windows for sex when you’re trying to conceive.
4. Know when you ovulate - Understanding when you’re ovulating is important because it enables you to track your fertile window and understand the best time to conceive. There are a few different methods, both natural (also called “rhythm” methods) as well as ovulation tests you can take and apps you can use to calculate.
5. Go non-toxic - Some chemicals and solvents that are commonly found in household and beauty products may have adverse effects on both conception, and the healthy development of a baby. (8, 9) For example, heating food in plastic containers or using non-stick cookware can both expose you to toxic chemicals. And oxybenzone, triclosan, phthalates, and parabens are all chemicals commonly found in beauty products that may be harmful to pregnancy. Before you get pregnant, it’s helpful to see what in your household might be a red flag, and look into some alternatives.
6. Incorporate more nutrients into your diet - Pregnant people need more of certain nutrients, such as protein, iron, folate (or its synthetic form, folic acid), iodine, and calcium. (2) While we can key nutrients through a prenatal multivitamin, it’s still important to eat a balanced, nutritious diet to support healthy development of your baby, and your own health while achieving the superhero-level task of growing a human.*
7. Know your health history - Understanding you and your family’s health history is important for pregnancy, but it sometimes involves a bit of digging. (5) That’s why it can be helpful to start making calls to parents and siblings before you’re even pregnant. Bringing a comprehensive health history to your care provider can help them identify and work to mitigate any risk for things like genetic or chronic conditions that can impact the baby’s health.
TLDR; You’re way ahead of the game exploring things to consider when trying to get pregnant before you’re pregnant, and the research and prep you do now will only help reduce to-do’s and stress while pregnant. Taking a prenatal multivitamin can help support the body with key nutrients, whether you’re thinking, trying, or not-not-trying. Wherever you are in your “planning for pregnancy” journey, we’ve got your back.*