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Originally published at Mommy Engineering Blog

Welcome to Mommy Engineering’s new series about Pregnancy! This week we cover the things you should do before trying to conceive with a FREE PRINTABLE!

It’s a big decision when a couple decides that it’s time to start a family. Congratulations! Family Planning can be an exciting time for both parents-to-be! My hope is that you have a successful conception with these tips I’ve outlined below because it can be equally exciting and stressful, maybe even intimidating.

9 Things to Do BEFORE Trying to Conceive

Consult with your doctor:  Schedule a visit to your family doctor & Gynecologist and:

  • Get a wellness check
  • Go over your family histories
  • Go over your medical histories
  • Address any other concerns you may have

Start taking Prenatal Vitamins every day

  • How to Choose a Prenatal Vitamin: There are several kinds of prenatal vitamins you can take and it’s best to consult your doctor/OB/Gynecologist on the best one FOR YOU. In general, there are certain vitamins and minerals your prenatal must have:
    • 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid
    • 400 IU of vitamin D
    • 200 to 300 milligrams (mg) of calcium
    • 70 mg of vitamin C
    • 3 mg of thiamine
    • 2 mg of riboflavin
    • 20 mg of niacin
    • 6 mcg of vitamin B12
    • 10 mg of vitamin E
    • 15 mg of zinc
    • 17 mg of iron
    • 150 micrograms of iodine
  • Your doctor would know your medical history and know if you need a prescription prenatal vitamin depending on your body’s needs. Over-the-Counter prenatal vitamins are the go-to source and your doctor can help you decide on one as well. There are organic & vegan options for prenatal vitamins as well.
  • Stop Taking your Birth Control: I’ve researched a few different sources and found that information varies on how long it takes for your body to be cleared of the hormones from birth control. It varies among birth control methods but on average it takes about 30 days and up to a few months before your body returns to its’ natural ovulation cycle. This is important when you’re trying to determine your ovulation period. You may not be able to figure out your ovulation period for some time after stopping birth control.
  • Quit Smoking: You might have heard this many times already but studies show that smoking does impact fertility. Fertility does improve after a person quits smoking and you should quit smoking at least 30 days prior to trying to conceive but some research states you should wait 3-4 months.
    • For men who smoke, they usually have a lower sperm count and also risk damaging their sperm.
    • For women who smoke, it can take longer to conceive.
  • Quit Drinking: For men and women who drink more than the recommended daily alcohol limit can damage your fertility. Furthermore, during pregnancy there is no safe time period (of any trimester) or safe amount that you can have alcohol. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can lead to damaging a baby’s development.
    Minimize your Caffeine Intake: Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that drinking caffeine when trying to conceive affects your fertility, they do recommend that while pregnant, you should not drink more than 200 mg of caffeine a day. Therefore if you’re an avid coffee drinker, starting to minimize your caffeine intake during the conception period may be helpful.
  • Get More Sleep: Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night when you’re trying to conceive here’s why:
    • Melatonin, the hormone in your body that regulates your sleep/wake cycle, also can help protect eggs from damage.
    • Leptin is another hormone in your body that plays a role in ovulation and low levels of this hormone can cause irregular menstrual cycles.
  • Establish an Exercise Routine: Having an exercise routine in place before actually getting pregnant will help you when you are pregnant and onto labor and delivery. Your body will undergo many changes and it’s important to strengthen your body.
  • Quit Taking Certain Prescription Drugs: There are some prescription drugs that can effect your fertility or your ability to conceive. Consult your doctor before abruptly stopping any drugs.
    • Drugs that effect male fertility: Replacement testosterone, anabolic steroids, opiates/narcotics, alpha blockers, some antibiotics and drugs used to treat prostate enlargement, hair loss, erectile dysfunction, SSRI anti-depressants, and fungal infections.
    • Drugs that effect female fertility or ability to conceive: Prescription or Over-The-Counter NSAIDS (Motrin or Advil), herbal remedies, SSRI anti-depressants, anti-epileptic, thyroid medication, and skin products with estrogen or progesterone.
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