What to Do Before Trying to Conceive

Updated on October 28, 2014
S.J. asks from Bryant, WI
35 answers

Hi - My husband & I would like to begin trying for our first baby in July. Although I know God will have his own plans on how things will work out, I would still like to make sure I'm doing everything I can to make sure if we are able to have one that it is as healthy as we/I can control/influence. I have lost 20 lbs. in the last 9 months, by eating healthy and working out, and I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life. I don't smoke, I drink only occasionally/socially (but obviously will be cutting that out) and haven't had so much as a cold for the last year (knock on wood). So, some of my many questions are -

My annual exam isn't until July 9th (haven't had one in 2 years). Should I wait until after this? All past ones have been fine...I'd like to start trying before that, but would wait if it's better, just to be sure.

Do I need to, or is it recommended to, get a physical before we try to conceive? Or, is the OBGYN appt. enough?

Prenatal vitamins - the nurse said I could just start taking some over the counter ones, or 2 flintstones, etc. If I take 1 Womens Once a Day, is that enough? I also take a B12 and B-complex vitamin each day.

Are there any foods, activities, or other things I should avoid - or add - before and while trying to conceive? Ie, I eat a lot of smoked turkey breast, lemons, etc. Is there anything weird that I wouldn't think of to avoid?

Can I dye my hair 3-4 weeks before we start to conceive? What about tanning before trying to conceive? Are any of these discouraged?

When is the most fertile time in your cycle? I suppose I could look this question up too ;-)

What books does everyone recommend about pregnancy?

Thanks in advance!! I'm typically very relaxed, but am getting just a little nervous about even being able to conceive, and then having a healthy baby. Any suggestions or tips would be greatly appreciated!

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for your great responses on what to do before trying to conceive! They were all great ideas. I also bought a couple books, thanks to everyone's recommendations, and with the help of Taking Charge of Your Fertility, we were able to conceive on our first try! We're SO excited to be due with our first on April 14th. Thanks again!!

More Answers

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S.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

The only thing you need to do is to RELAX!! And stop reading!! The magazines, articles, and internet is full of conflicting and unfounded advice (as are most of your friends, relatives, and co-workers). Women have been having babies successfully for a long time without all the scary stuff you can read and hear about. You know how to take care of yourself, and that's all you need to do while hoping to be and being pregnant.

Find a mid-wife - forget the OBGYN unless you have some medical condition that you didn't mention. Mid-wifes are great at listening to our concerns and addressing pregnancy as a natural occurance, not a sickness or disease. OBGYNs are doctors who only believe in medication, tests, and procedures. Believe in your body, it was made to do this!

I had my first baby at 41, only saw mid-wifes, never a Dr. and had a wonderful, natural, preganancy, labor & delivery (no drugs no stitches).

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M.K.

answers from Sheboygan on

ONE BOOK will answer LOTS of your questions, especially as to when you are fertile, b/c for most of us day 14 is NOT the most fertile day--it is mearly an average. If you have a short cycle or a very long cycle (35+ days), day 14 will be way off; the book is "Taking Charge of your Fertility" by Toni Weschler, PhD Almost all of my friends have used it, even those who had a hard time conceiving. Buy it ASAP to start tracking some SIMPLE fertility signs and you will know what to look for in July if you are even remotely irregular. I got my copy at a local "Waldenbooks", so it should be available in most major bookstores. On another note, this book is also GREAT for women looking for "birth control" without drugs, condoms, surgery, etc. Good Luck!

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B.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi Sarah
Relax and enjoy the process.
If it happens- super!
You're most fertile within 12 hours of ovulation- do you know your cycle. Have you ever taken your temps- you have a temp change the day you ovulate. Usually around day 14=16 for a 30 day cycle if you're normal cycles.
Make sure you supplement with an omega 3 fatty acid- your baby will deplete your body of this for it's brain development- and you shouldn't be eating a ton of seafood or fishes high in this while you're pregnant.
You're young, healthy- just go for it.
You can add in an ultrasound for your July appt if it happens- then you have another reason for your annual appt.
Good luck
B. J
mom of 6 yo twin girls, wellness coach, med. prof.
[email protected]____.com

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N.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Unless you've been using birth control, or have other medical concerns, why not start now? If you have been using bc, most doctors recommend stopping and giving yourself at least 6 months to get your cycle back on track etc.

Take Prenatal Vitamins now. They're really important for the health and development of the baby. What you put into your "stores" now are what the baby will be drawing upon for development and nourishment.

Regular daily vitamins designed for women's health do not have enough of the most important vitamins and minerals needed for baby's development during pregnancy. Prenatal vitamins have higher amounts of Folic Acid (which is scientifically proven to prevent spinal/neurological disorders such as Spina Bifida) and Calcium (which the baby needs lots of to develop his/her skeletal system. If you don't get enough calcium prior and during pregnancy, the baby will get calcium directly from you! Many women in poorer countries w/o prenatal care often develop terrible problems with bone structure and calcium stores after pregnancy because of this...so drink up and take those vitamins). Now many prenatals include DHA and even Omega-3 which are supposed to be important for baby's brain development and more. Because of all of these important requirements during pregnancy, while 2 Flinstones may be adequate, I'd say take a vitamin designed specifically for pregnancy to ensure you're getting everything currently recommended for baby's health. When you finally get in with the Doc, if you're not happy with what's available at the store, ask for a prescription from the Doc for a vitamin he/she recommends.

As for foods and activities to avoid; The obvious as you already mentioned, alcohol and smoking. It's also advisable to not eat soft cheeses (like brie), raw foods like sushi, more than 1 serving a week of sea foods (risk of mercury poisoning), and to avoid any foods that have been sitting out for long hours such as at picnics. Pregnant women are very susceptible to food borne illnesses, and almost all docs will tell you not to eat these things during pregnancy. Many sea foods like Tuna for instance come from contaminated waters and have exceedingly high levels of mercury which has been known/proven to affect the unborn.

Take it easy during summer months if you do conceive. Pregnant women are most susceptible to heat illness and complications. Drink more water and avoid too much direct sunlight. Most docs recommend against hot tubs and long hot showers because you and the baby could have complications. Your body temp is naturally higher during pregnancy, any outside fluctuations during pregnancy can cause problems. Your doc can explain more.

As for hair dying, lotions, cosmetics, perms, even tanning, there's a lot of information out there..some conflicting.

For sure, you should not dye your hair during pregnancy. Chemicals can and do leach into your system through your skin, and certain compounds in these products can negatively affect the baby.

There is some disagreement about perms. Some docs say that's okay if the stylist doesn't get the solution on your scalp. The more conservative docs say forget any all chemical treatments during pregnancy.

Tanning is another one of those things where you'll get mixed information. Many docs frown on tanning booths, saying it may not be good for the baby. Currently, there is now more information coming out about tanning lotions, sunscreens, even daily moisturizers possibly not being safe to use during pregnancy because the chemicals in them are absorbed into your system and the baby can be affected. If you want to use stuff like that, many moms are looking to organic and natural products as an alternative, otherwise are just doing without.

This growing theory about safety of products also goes for cosmetics as well. Earlier this year, it came out that many lipsticks, blushes, etc. have high levels of lead and other heavy compounds as "preservatives" in them which is an absolute no-no for pregnancy. They may be keeping the bacteria down, but they could be taking care of those wearing it as well. In fact, many big named cosmetic companies had to pull their products off the shelves. Still many more are continuing to manufacture the products with that stuff in them. The only way to know for sure is to search the internet for current information. Or, once again, the solution many moms are looking to is organic and natural cosmetics to be on the safe side.

As for most fertile time... you should read up on fertility monitoring and charting. It's often referred to as "natural family planning". By reading certain but reliable body signs that a woman has each month, you can determine the window of days fertility is optimum. The window is 1-3 days for most. But if you can master this skill, it will be most beneficial for family planing. It works barring you don't have any underlying medical illnesses or problems. And even then, with the help of a doctor skilled in this area, you can still conceive.

You could also get a fertility monitor from the drug store, or the ovulation test strips..but these are really expensive..and only give you a general idea of when to try. It can take a few tries with these before conception. However with the natural method, most concieve right away.

Books you may want to read that address both your nutrition questions and the fertility question are:

The Art of Natural Family Planning, by John and Sheila Kipley
The Ovulation Method by John Billings
Your Fertility Signals by Merryl Weinstein
Fertility, Cycles and Nutrition, by Marilyn Shannon
The Natural Pregnancy Book, by Aviva Jill Romm
The Complete Organic Pregnancy, by Deirdre Dolan

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C.F.

answers from Omaha on

Hi Sarah-

I usually don't respond too much online because I just don't have much time, but when I came across your entry- I had to write you! You sounded JUST like me when my husband and I decided we were ready to start trying to conceive! It's almost ironic- I think I actually had a longer list of questions, believe it or not!

I'm now 30 yrs. old and have a 15 month old (BD 2/12/07) and am getting ready to deliver my 2nd on Friday!! So, I thought I'd try and help you out a bit....

First, take a breath and realize that no matter how much you read and how much you "prepare" yourself for Motherhood, you will never actually be fully prepared- it's one of those things in the life that we kinda have a go at it full force and realize that alot of it, we have to learn along the way. For people like me (and I'm assuming you), that is difficult b/c we've been prepared for everything in our lives- school, new jobs, careers, etc. So, motherhood can be a bit overwhelming b/c no one and I mean no one can give you a book or manual with all the answers in it...I promise!

Your ??'s:

You can start trying to get prego anytime you want! You can buy ovulation kits over the counter to help you track your cycle. If you're not prego by the time of your exam, I'd fill your OBGYN in and keep her abreast and ask any ??'s you may have.

The OBGYN apt. is enough.

I'd start taking prenatal vitamins (I also take a DHA vitamin) immediately- you can never be too cautious on this end and they won't hurt ya!

Most people will tell you to avoid the foods and beverages that you should avoid while pregnant when trying to conceive b/c in theory you may be ingesting this while you are pregnant if you are successful. I was very attentive to all of this when trying to conceive my son- I ate all organic, I avoided all things on the "no, no" pregnancy list, I drank no caffeine or alcohol of any kind, etc., etc. and to be honest, I really stressed myself out. I, personally, think it affected my ability to conceive. We went away with friends on our anniversary to Vegas and I let myself kinda do what I wanted and wallah......we brought my baby home with us! I didn't even know I was ovulating. Same thing with my second child, I was breastfeeding and we weren't trying to conceive and then, wahha.....2nd baby due in 5 days! So, the point of what I'm trying to say is that yes, I think you always need to be vigilent of what you put into your body, but really it's nothing to stress out about. If you're a healthy person to begin with, let yourself enjoy this time of trying to conceive instead of stressing yourself out about having a glass of wine or water with lemon or a cup of coffee. Your baby will be fine and really just leading a normal, healthy life makes conception much more feasible.

Yes, you can dye your hair before you conceive. My Dr. allowed me to highlight my hair all throughout my pregnancies- you should avoid all hair dye that comes into contact with your scalp (Highlights do not). You should avoid tanning and hot tubs.

I would read up on Baby Center.com about your most fertile time in your cycle- you could also track your cycle online. If you have difficult trying to conceive, this will be great info to take into your ONGYN's office with you when you go in July. It' s a great website and I used it a ton when we first tried to conceive.

Books- All of the standards are great...What to expect when your expecting, Belly Laughs (I didn't want to read this at first, but it was hilarious- read after you get prego), Conception Chronicles, etc. I think I read everything the first go around. But, again, remember that no book will ever be able to give you all the answers- ask questions to friends and family, people online, you Dr., etc.- that helps the most!!!

OK- I wrote you a book, but take a deep breath and know that it will all turn out great!!!

Let me know if I can help you out any more!
C.

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N.G.

answers from Bismarck on

Hi Sarah
Here is a good book to help with finding when you are the most fertile because every women is different. The name of the book is taking charge of your fertility. It is a really good book and I found it very helpful. Good luck
N.

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B.W.

answers from Minneapolis on

You don't need to wait until your physical, just go for it. It took me three mentrual cycles after going off the pill to concieve. Don't talk about concieving with your partner RIGHT before you have sex, he could get performance anxiety ;) No hot tubbing either of you. Read the book "girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy" it's cute. You're most fertile right around 14 days after your last period.

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N.E.

answers from Des Moines on

Check out the website www.mycycle.com. It is a great website to use for estimating your period/ovulation. I am not currently trying to conceive, but I use it track my period. The more months you can enter, the more accurate it will be. It also has other conception tools, like tables to track your basal temp, ect.

Good luck!

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V.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi Sarah! I've read most of the responses, so I won't duplicate. I'll tell you what I did to prep for this pregnancy (expecting #2 in March). We are absolutely healthier for it, but it's going to sound over the top to you. :) But the thing is, many many traditional cultures over human history have had special customs, rituals, and foods to prep a woman's body before marriage (when she would presumably have potential to get pregnant) so that she might have the healthiest, strongest offspring. There's a LONG precedent for prepping for TTC.

*I gave up alcohol (see third point below). I weaned myself off caffeine entirely, which took a while and was not that fun. Caffeine absolutely crosses the placenta. The baby's *brain* is being built, and the protective blood-brain barrier adults have is not in place yet, nor is the baby's liver mature enough to process the chemical out of the body. The half-life of caffeine in a baby is almost 48 hours - TWO DAYS to come down off one cup of coffee. Personally, it sounds very unwise to choose to intentionally ingest an addictive chemical substance (also riddled with pesticides unless you've been buying organic) at a time when doing so causes the formation of receptors in a developing brain. I just can't believe any provider downplays this. It's also linked to higher miscarriage rates, btw.

*I made a really concerted effort to reduce my chemical exposure. This stemmed from reading a book called "Our Stolen Future" which talks about fertility/genetic/behavioral problems and their connection to common environmental contaminants. What that meant for me was that I threw out most of my cleaners/soaps/detergents etc and replaced them with old school products like borax, vinegar, lemon juice, etc. I looked up all my body care/makeup on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database and replaced as needed with safer alternatives. I redid our budget with a priority on organic foods, particularly the "dirty dozen" and organic, grassfed meat, and organic non-homogenized dairy. I stopped drinking tap water and buy Reverse Osmosis water instead.

*I did several cleanses. Particularly a candida cleanse and a liver detox. I've done a bunch of reading suggesting that morning sickness is due to a weakened liver's inability to handle the extra hormone load. I did a cleanse and also started taking milk thistle and dandelion as liver support for 3 months pre-conception, since my reading indicated this was the most effective time, rather than waiting to feel sick. So far this pregnancy I've had none. The candida cleanse was the product of reading lots on allergies, AD(H)D and autism's link to improper gut flora balance. I have links on both these topics. PM me if you'd like them.

So. :) There's some food for thought~
V.

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B.K.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

Hi,
I am a Mother of two beautiful girls. It sounds like you are doing everything right. The vitamins are important if you take a multi-vitamin you may compare the label with the pre-natal ones, you need one with a good amount of folic acid.This is important for the development of a healthy baby. You should be able to dye your hair, is it an all over color or do you do hilites? Hilites are better because it is not in direct contact with your scalp. If you do an all over color you may refrain from that. Depending on the type of color it can seap into your pores in your scalp. (I am a Hairdresser)
I would not tan, but that is just me. I think the most fertile time is generally 10 to 13 days after the first day of your last period. Do you cramp at all when you ovulate? That is how I knew when I was ovulating. The greatest book I read was (What to Expect when Your Expecting) Your body will go through things you never dreamed of and this book explains alot...
I hope this helps. Good Luck...
B. K

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S.S.

answers from Milwaukee on

You are being very responsible and on your way to parenthood!

Some tips is to start taking a prenatal vitamin that has folic acid in it...something that is essential to begin prior to becoming pregnant. A generic Walgreens or Target brand is fine.

To help you conceive quickly, it's best for you to lay off the caffeine (tough to do I know...I'm a caffeine addict), although your husband doesn't have to.

Things to eliminate other than drinking are sunless tanning gels, tanning beds and hot tubs...all are no nos when pregnant.

And I think once you've started your folic acid for a few weeks, you'll be fine to begin trying...no need to wait until your doctor appointment in July.

Best of luck...I pray it happens quickly for you and your husband and that you have a healthy baby in a year! Sounds like you'll be lovely parents!

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C.K.

answers from Minneapolis on

Since you want to start in July, and your appt is July 9th, I guess I would wait until then. You're probably fine, but if there are any health concerns that come up, you can address them then.

I didn't do anything special when trying to conceive my son--I just started talking prenatal vitamins about a month before we tried. It's good to do that so the folic acid builds up, so if I were you I would start taking prenatal vitamins now. I just bought some over-the-counter ones. If you live near a Walgreen's, their brand of prenatal vitamins are pretty cheap.

Go buy yourself a big jumpo pack of pregnancy tests--they are much cheaper that way. You will go through them fast because if you are like me, you will be taking one if your period is even 1 hour late!

If you are going off the Pill, wait until your cycles are regular again. When I went off the Pill, my cycles were wacky for several months. The more in-tune you are with your cycle, the easier it will be to know when you are ovulating. There are ways of tracking your fertility by taking your temperature each morning. I don't know too much about this, as we only had to try for 2 months!

Otherwise, relax. Your body was designed to do this! You will be fine. Like someone else pointed out, just think of all the unplanned pregnancies that happen, and those kids are fine.

As far as books go, any of Ina May Gaskin's books are awesome. "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" is amazing. One half of the book is birth stories. They are all so wonderful and not at all scary. The other half discusses labor and delivery in very clear-cut terms. Another good book is "From the Hip". That is a pretty new one; it just came out last summer or fall. It is a very modern, no nonsense book about pregnancy, childbirth, and caring for newborns. This book gives you the statistics on things, so you can make your own decisions. For instance, you asked about deli meat. Your OB/GYN might tell you to avoid deli meat, or to make sure it is hot before you eat it. The reason is listeria (sp?) *can* be present in deli meat, and it can be harmful to newborns. Well, "From the Hip" points out that the odds of getting listeria from deli meat is something like 1 in several million.

Lastly, I had a Nurse Midwife throughout my whole pregnancy and delivery. She was amazing! There are a lot of myths out there about midwives. Nurse Midwives are just Nurse Practitioner who specialize in ob/gyn care. They see women for annual exams, and during pregnancy. (There are also "lay midwives" who have no nursing training, atttend home births.) Nurse Midwives usually work in teams at larger hospitals. I read that the average OB/GYN appt is 12 minutes long, while a nurse midwife will often meet with you for 1 hour at a time. Ours did.

Good luck!

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J.N.

answers from Minneapolis on

The best thing you can do is just relax about the whole thing. Also cut back on your alchohol intake a bit and try and eat a healthy diet. Know when you are ovulating, buy an ovulation test. Usually you ovulate bewteewn days 13-17 of your cycle (the first day of your period is day one) But seriously just relax, it could take awhile, so continue to live your life in a normal healthy manner.

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A.R.

answers from Des Moines on

Make sure you are up on all of your shots.

Make sure you are taking something with Folic Acid in it.

I am not sure if the "what to expect when you are expecting" has a pre-pegnancy book out. you may want to look into that.

Also as far as when you are the most fertile everyone is differant & you should go & get one of those basel body thermometers. We used it along with some fertility drugs as we had problems getting pregnany and it worked out great. It even calculated when we got pregnant by the jump in temp.

As far as I know it is ok to dye your hair & tan before concieving but is discouraged after you get pregnant. Although most women still dye their hair.

Most important is to relax and try not to think about it. When you least expect it it will happen for you. Also try not to become a pregnancy test junkie. I along with so many other woman I know would be late one day on their period while trying to concieve and would go out & buy pregnancy test after pregnancy test. Save your money and until you are over a month late then go & buy one. Chances are if you are that late you are pregnant.

Good Luck & God Bless,

Alley R.

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H.G.

answers from Appleton on

Hi Sarah! You must be so excited! I remember the feeling of knowing we would be trying to have a baby soon also.
Remember not to get too rapped up into it in case the first month you don't conceive. That's okay and sooo normal.
You can for sure dye your hair anytime during your pregnancy. I am a hairstylist and the one thing that is the problem with chemically treating your hair when you are pregnant, is more how your hair will react. Getting perms mostly. They don't always work, they fall out easier for some people or they might dry out your hair more then normal, etc. I would not worry about dying you hair during your pregnancy but that is your own personal decision.
I know stylist who did acrylic nails for customers while they themselves were pregant, I didn't even paint my nails more then once or twice. I was worried about breathing in the fumes.
I was always most fertile the week before my period. I ahve 2 boys the first one I got pregnant right away, the sencond took a little longer.
I loved reading about it all also. There are lots of great books out there. "What to Expect While Expecting" was my favorite. They always update it and come out with new editions every few years and the writers are doctors.
Good luck! Let me know when it happens for you!

H. G

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L.G.

answers from Des Moines on

Hi Sara,
I saw you had quite a few responses and didn't get a chance to read them all, but I wanted to share a little bit of my advice.
Just to let you know a little about me, I just turned 30 and gave birth to my first child 4 months ago.
2 books I reccomend during pregnancy are Belly Laughs by Jenny McCarthy and The Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy. One thing to remember about reading books, is you can absolutely drive yourself crazy reading all the books, because they all tell you something different and you can absolutely worry yourself to death over the littlest things. My advice would be pick one or two books and don't read any more than that and if you are a worrywort, like myself, then stay away from the internet.
About the puppy, I would definitely wait until that puppy is more mature before you conceive. Puppies are alot of work by themselves and when that baby comes along, you will have absolutely no time for the puppy...so I would wait until the puppy is older and can actually wait 8-12 hours before having to pee, because trust me, there will be days in the first few months of that babies life, when you will just forget to let the dog out. It happened to me more than once, but my dogs are much older dogs so they could handle it better.

Start taking your prenatal vitamins now, that way your body has enough folic acid when you are ready to conceive. Generic prenatals that you can get at Target or Walmart are perfectly fine, but do the prenatal and not the flinstone, you need the folic acid for the baby.

You can dye your hair during the pregnancy and it will not harm your baby at all, you can get manicures and pedicures during your pregnancy and it will not harm your baby. Overexposure to these chemicals is when things can get harmful, but a couple hours every few months is not going to hurt your baby at all.....it is perfectly safe.

The only food you should avoid is fish/seafood that has a lot of mercury in it. Too much mercury is harmful to the baby's brain. Shark, swordfish, macral...you should stay away from. Many people stay off tuna while prego, but not necessary, in fact, tuna is one of the best foods you can eat for the baby's brain development. It does have some mercury in it, so you should not eat it everyday, but 1-2 servings of tuna is excellent for the baby's brain.

If you are a typically healthy person, a physical before you get prego is not necessary, but if it makes you feel better, then certainly do it. Congrats on the 20lb weight loss....after you get prego...continue to work out, it will make your delivery so much easier. Continue to do cardio and light strength training while prego. Don't get your heartrate up past 160 for more than an hour a day once you are prego. I worked out my entire pregnancy and my doctors tell me that is why my delivery was so easy because my muscles were strong and healthy and I had the stamina to last through my rather long labor.

Congratulations on this big life decision. I hope that it happens at just the right time for you and I hope you have a very healthy and happy pregnancy and a healthy and happy baby!!!! Good luck!!!!

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A.S.

answers from Rochester on

I would suggest the book ,Taking charge of your fertility. It explains all the questions you just asked and why. I would wait till after you see you OB and she should put you on a prenatal vitamin. Your OB should also be able to help you figure out what your most fertile days in your cycle are. Good luck to you!!!

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A.S.

answers from Minneapolis on

Hi Sarah -

It's great that you want to do everything right even before you conceive! I've been lucky enough to be home with my kids since they were born. They are now 13 & 15! Time really flies, so enjoy the whole process from conception on :) One of the big things is to take good prenatal vitamins. You should start with that right now. The over the counter vitamins are synthetic, so you don't absorb much of them. Better to take a natural vitamin that your body will recognize as food. I've been introduced to a Wellness Company that has fantastic vitamins plus great products to detoxify your home..another thing that you should do before baby comes. It's a wholesale catalog shopping and, in fact, it's allowed me to stay an at-home mom just by sharing information about getting better, safer products with others. I'd love to share the information with you and see if it makes sense for you as your start your journey into motherhood.

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N.J.

answers from Sheboygan on

When my husband and i tried having a baby, we just stopped birth control and decided to relax and just let it happen. I did take a multivitamin, but that was about it. I find that if your body decide when it is time, and not tell anyone until you are sure you have conceived. I find that people who tell people they are trying have more stress and feel like it is taking forever. Just let it happen and have fun practicing, cause practice makes perfect, i know perfect was born April 14.

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D.M.

answers from Duluth on

I'm 34 and I had 3 sweet full term healthy babies...(one at 19 and 2 in my twenties) You should start taking Folic Acid at least a month before trying I have heard and you should take it daily...STAY active..The MORE ACTIVE you are the easier your labor/delivery..(at least that was the case for me) the first baby I was not as active as much and it was hard labor...If all past medical exams have been GOOD..You can start trying when ever you want...(I was told seeing the OB was enough) I was never asked to see the OB and the primary Doc before...(we tried)You can die your hair prior to concieving...I just know that once you concieve you should avoid dying your hair...I have heard just e a normal healthy diet...Go to www.americanbaby.com there is a calendar there help you find your most fertile days..That what I used...(It was a HUGE help!!Ask your Doc about Books...My Doc gave me a couple and those were the best!!!

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C.D.

answers from La Crosse on

Get nitrate-free turkey meat if you can. You write you like smoked turkey breast, that's why I suggest it.

Also, I think the more relaxed you are the greater chance you have of becoming pregnant. And as far as vitamins and check-ups, that's fine to do now but believe you me--you will have more of these than you can shake a stick at once you do get pregnant. Chances are if there is something wrong with you physically it probably wouldn't cause you to lose your inspiration for conceiving. I suggest relaxing as much as possible and get a head start on reading good baby books such as anything by Dr. Sears. Our favorite one was the Dr. Sears Baby Book. I always wished I had done more reading before my first baby. Baby Buddhas, A guide for teaching meditation to children by Lisa Desmond is quite nice as well.

As far as alcohol, I suggest if there is a chance you could conceive then perhaps you ought to abstain from drinking anything. Cutting out caffeine and pesticides from conventional fruits, vegetables, and meats is also good.

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A.L.

answers from Appleton on

Hi Sarah...you already got some good info...I just wanted to throw in my opinion. I would definitely start taking prenatals now...make sure they have folic acid in them. Folic acid will help prevent birth defects like spina bifida...I had a friend that miscarried a spina bifida baby (it was prevalent in her family), and when she tried again, they had her on HUGE doses of it...so make sure you at least have a prenatal with folic acid in it.

I would also take a DHA/ARA supplement..a fish oil capsule will do...it has Omega-3 fatty acids which are very important for brain and nervous system development. THe only place you can get these naturally are from fatty fish that live in cold water like salmon, tuna, etc Chances are, you probably don't get enough from your diet, so I would add that supplement as well. Enfamil makes a supplement for pregnant mothers called Lipil, but it's really expensive, and it's just as effective to buy a fish oil capsule (1000 mg) at Walmart. Make sure you take it with food and get the one w/o a fishy aftertaste.

Personally, I don't think you really need to wait until your yearly appt. to start trying to conceive, although it's probably a good idea. Your most fertile day is two weeks after the first day of your last period. Good luck!!

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A.J.

answers from Omaha on

Congrats on getting so into shape pre-baby, that will help during and after pregnancy! Be sure to start prenatal vitamins ASAP, some say you should start those up to 6 months before to be sure your folic acid etc are high enough to decrease risks of birth defects. Prenatal vitamins are probably best, just beware they may upset your stomach with all the iron etc. I found it best to take them at night. It is up to you and your doc for the exam, it made me feel better to go before and make sure everything looked good and ready :) The OB appt is usually more than enough. Most say hair dye is safe even during pregnancy, but I would avoid tanning if it is in a tanning bed due to the high amount of heat. My doc told me when my hubby and I were trying to conceive to have sex every other day starting at day #10 in your cycle, we got pregnant of the first try. I think everyone gets a little nervous when they decide it's time for a baby. I found the best people to go to with questions were friends that have had babies and my mom, they will be more willing to tell you the whole truth and not sugarcoat it. Best of luck, hope all goes well. It can be stressful and trying but no matter what it is all worth it in the end!

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A.J.

answers from Minneapolis on

First of all GOOD LUCK!!!! I truly hope you are one of those fortunate people that get pregnant right away! M. husband & I tried for 1 1/2 yrs w/ no luck--then started seeing a fertility specialist (for about another year)--ended up having to do in vitro. So the following are recommendations based on M. experience

Your husband--he needs to keep his cool--literally! Our fertility specialist recommended that the husband not wear any tight clothing that would be restricting or hot (i.e. tighty whiteys, bicycle shorts, etc). Also to refrain from any activities that would cause heat for a length of time (again cycling, hot tubbing, etc)--just keep a good air flow. Just until you conceive, then he can go back to his regular activities. Also, he needs to watch his alcohol & caffeine consumption--doesn't need to cut it out completely, but to really limit it.

I read What to Expect when you're expecting. Start taking a prenatal vitamin w/folic acid & if possible one with DHA now. When you go to your dr. bring it along. They may prescribe a different one for you, but at least you will have been getting a start on the folic acid. I don't remember needing to limit any foods while trying to conceive, just once I became prego--other than caffeine and the obvious alcohol--no alcohol was recommended. Also, don't get worried if you don't get pregnant right away--it takes the average couple 6 months to conceive!!

Again I want to wish you the best of luck!!! It's such an exciting time!

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F.W.

answers from unknown city on

All i can say is a thank you to Dr Babaka for making me and my family a happy home, i have been married for 2 years without a child and i had 4 miscarriage within this time, i saw a post that says contact Dr babaka for Infertility help, so i did, after he cast a pregnancy spell on me i get pregnant few weeks later after having sex with my partner as instructed by Dr babaka, and i am 7 months pregnant now without any complications and i will share another post here after my delivering and i will also give out my personal info, watch out for my next post, so i decide to drop this here for any body going through infertility problem to contact Dr Babaka on [email protected]____.com and you will be happy you did, contact him for any problem you are having i believed he will help out

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L.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

I'm only going to respond to a few things here. One, is if you're eating lunch meats, careful if it has sodium nitrate or nitrite. It's a disease-causing preservative. Also, I would stock up on sunlight as much as possible. The sun gives us a nice mix of UVA and UVB rays (tanning beds don't) and is a great source of vitamin D! That's a great thing since I read somewhere that over 90% of babies in the US are born with a vitamin D deficiency.

Books I would recommend: The Thinking Woman's Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer. Ina May's Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin. Birthing from Within by Pam England. (I personally did not like What to Expect When You're Expecting. Someone nailed it when they said it should be entitled What to Fear When You're Expecting. Besides, it's very mainstream. I mean, she still talks about the food pyramid. Most of the news watching, mainstream population would probably agree with most of that book, but I did not. I do things a little differently I guess.)

Have fun!!!!

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A.H.

answers from Rochester on

A check up with your OB/GYN would be nice but is not mandatory. You can start before then if you like. Cause you never know how long it will take to get pregnant. And 2 years from now if you don't have a baby you may be wondering why you waited so long to start.

Take a prenatal vitamin. It will have everything you need to make a healthy baby. If you take it in advance then all of the nutrients you need will already be in your system when you do get pregnant.

Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a MUST when TTC. You should go out and buy this book and read up before you start TTC. It will help you understand your body and how it works. Most people think they can just get off from birth control, have unprotected sex and BOOM they will be pregnant. But it's what only a 20% for a healthy couple in their 20s to conceive each month. And if you don't know what you are doing or when you are ovulating I would guess that percentage would be less. Most people do NOT ovulate on cycle day 14. So it is time to bone up on your TTC knowledge and this book is a great way to do it.

Fertility Friend is a good place to go to keep track of your fertility signs while TTC. Even if you don't decided to temp at least you can keep everything in one place. It's nice to just enter in your info and be able to look at a chart with all of your info on it. You can either use the free service or pay for the VIP one.

Ivillage is a wonderful resource. And I am not just saying that because I am a co-community leader. LOL There are TONS of message boards were you can go for information. You can just lurk and read other peoples posts. Or you can get a free membership and profile and ask your own questions. You will get a lot of info and make new friends.

Good luck! And remember it may not happen right away. So don't get discouraged if you are 3 months down the road and nothing has happened. It's actuall pretty normal. Good luck! Have fun!

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J.S.

answers from Omaha on

Just remember all the "accidental" pregnancies out there, that were not planned and turned out to be perfectly healthy. So, try and relax and definately get the opk. My husband and I tried for almost a year with our first, and as soon as I got the opk I got pregnant the first month, they really do work. Timing is everything!

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D.G.

answers from Minneapolis on

Sarah, I can't answer all your questions but a couple of things really jumped out at me. First, I would look at the ingredients of your smoked turkey breast to determine if there are any nitrates in that product. If so, I would eliminate it. Many "smoked" items plus hot dogs have nitrates. You can google nitrates and learn about the negative effects. Next, I would definitely take a look at your intake of vitamins/minerals. Women's one a day has very little to offer. You need a high quality supplement that can provide for optimal nutrition - See "The Comparative Guide" written by Lyle MacWilliams for a listing of products and how they compare. Third, check your diet for sources of folic acid. Folic acid is very important in the development of the fetus that you should have an amply supply before you are pregnant. Wishing you the best!

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M.I.

answers from Duluth on

www.askdrsears.com will give you LOTS of really good information

you can find an over the counter prenatal vitamin... just make sure it is a vitamin that has extra folic acid as that is the most important part.

drink plenty of water! this will keep you hydrated and everything will run smoothly. lol. dye your hair beforehand, i dont know about tanning, i dont recommend it because it does cause skin cancer to begin with...

day 14 (after starting your period) is usually the most fertile time. you can try charting your temperature. before you even get out of bed in the morning check your temp, and watch it. i think it goes up a degree when you are about to release an egg. also, you will have really slimy stringy discharge.

you can also take an ovulation test. i got pregnant around 2 days after the test started telling me that i was ovulating.

please go to your doctor first. she or he can give you a pre-pregnancy exam (which is probably the same but she can give you extra information on ovulating) and make sure that you ask her any questions. my doctor put me right on a prescription prenatal vitamin. ive been on it ever since. she told me that any woman of childbearing age should be on the prenatal - i even had my hairstylist tell me that they stay on them to keep their hair and nails pretty and strong. LOL.

i would stop drinking before conceiving. there are plenty of kids conceived under an alcohol situation and turn out fine, but if you want to be thourough, just stop drinking.

there are foods that are unsafe for pregnant women. any form of raw meat or eggs, make sure you eat them done or well done, and lunchmeats should be heated to HOT before eating. soft cheeses, seafood, large amounts of fish should be avoided. the pregnancy book by william sears will give you ALL this type of information! i would recommend that book very highly!

dont think about it too much. sometimes people can get to trying so hard to conceive, that they can actually disrupt their natural bodies with stress that they wont conceive until they think its impossible. so just relax, it will happen when its supposed to, God has it under control. the more relaxed you are the better the environment for the baby!

my husband and i started trying in july 2005. i think we finally got pregnant in october, however, we suffered a miscarriage. we wouldnt even have noticed, i dont think, if we hadnt been trying... but i had a d&c to just have them remove the tissue so i didnt have to worry about it (since it was almost Christmas time i didnt want to have it happen over Christmas) it was terrifying since id never been put under for anything before, and my husband couldnt be with me, and just the whole end to the dream was devastating. we would have been due the following july 2006, and when we got that far along, we found that we couldnt hardly afford to buy food for OURSELVES, so we knew that God had it under control.

so remember, if you suffer a miscarriage, 1 out of 4 pregnancies end that way. its normal, and natural, and at least you know you CAN get pregnant! the way my doctor put it was you start with one cell. then it splits to 2, then 4. and if any of those 4 cells arent perfect, or if one isnt developed properly, the pregnancy terminates. this doesnt always happen either, but the child would end up severly disabled. every baby is a blessing, but sometimes nature knows what its doing and ends it. so ... it would be a terrible thing to have happen, but its normal, natural, and more of a positive than it might feel.

anyway, good luck with conceiving! its such a wonderful journey! i highly recommend ANY book by william sears or any of the sears family... they have the best info out there in my opinion. william and his wife martha, had 8 kids, so i would think they are pretty experienced, not to mention that they are a doctor and a nurse anyway!

GOOD LUCK and God bless you with a healthy pregnancy and baby!

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G.G.

answers from Appleton on

I highly recommend the book "Taking Charge of your Fertility" by Toni Weschler (you can find it on Amazon.com). I really believe that by reading that book and truly understanding my own cycle is what helped me get pregnant with my first child and my current pregnancy. Good luck! This book is very thorough and helps you understand how to read your own individual body signs for when you are most fertile, etc. I really learned alot from it.

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N.D.

answers from Omaha on

Good luck to you Sarah! One thing that helped us was purchasing an ovulation kit. They are reasonably priced, and if you're lucky, you'll only need to purchase one! It helps you pinpoint your most fertile days, and it worked for us. You can find them in any store that sells pregnancy tests. You sound like you've been doing all of the right things to prepare your body for pregnancy - exercise, eat right, and don't stress! Enjoy life and I hope all goes well! P.S. It would be a good idea to get a physical, especially if it's been several years since you've had one. And I colored my hair throughout pregnancy - just check with your doc - everyone's got differing opinions.
Sincerely,
N.

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E.B.

answers from Duluth on

Keep eating healthy & working out. Yes take a good prenatal vitamin, make sure it has folic acid in it and also find a good, safe Omega 3 (DHA, EPA, Fish oil) supplement. This is good for you and excellent for a baby, it helps in brain development & has even shown to help children with Autism & ADHA. Coromega is a good brand that actually doesn't taste bad & you can then give it to your child when he/she starts eatign solds too (my son loves it). You will want to find a brand that is certified as mercury free.

There is a good book called taking charge of your fertilty that can help you determine your most fertile times & take a lot of the guess work out of when the best time to try is.

Good luck!

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S.G.

answers from Appleton on

Make sure your B vitamin has folic acid in it. Very important to eliminate the risk of the March of Dimes birth defects. You should have folic acid in your system at the time of conception. Check out Isotonix B Complex at www.marketamerica.com/graichen for a really great brand of B.

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J.T.

answers from Cedar Rapids on

It sounds like you are already stressing yourself out. Stress prevents conception. I had a friend who also stressed and it took her 9 months with her 1st and 7 months to conceve her 2nd. I just relaxed and said, if it happens it happens and boom same month on both. Prenatals are a good idea before pregnancy so when it happens you already have vitamins. Good luck and please do "try" cause that way doesn't work:-) Just have fun with it.

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