Your Five-Step Pre-Pregnancy Checklist
Is making a baby on the horizon?
Whether you’re already “trying” or just getting mentally geared-up to start, you’ll notice that it’s surprisingly difficult to find resources that walk you through what you need to do.
So, I’m going to start trying….
Should I eat differently?
Are alcohol and caffeine going to give my future baby brain damage?
When is the best time to stop taking birth control?
How do I even know if I’m fertile?
This is why we wrote our Prepare for Pregnancy Program - to give you a starting point- the fundamentals- of what you should be paying attention to.
Below, we give you a list to get started.
If you’re thinking about baby-making in the next year, here’s what you should do:
Stop taking hormonal birth control asap.
The official word from the conventional medical community is that hormonal birth control does not impair your ability to conceive. However, in our experience with women like yourself, we find it can take anywhere from 3 to 12 (!) months for your hormones and cycle to normalize. The sooner you can stop hormonal birth control, the sooner you’ll be able to understand your body’s natural cycles and pinpoint your fertility window.
2. Start tracking all the things.
Track your basal body temperature, your cervical fluid, when you ovulate, and the length of your menstrual cycle. Actually, we recommend this for ALL women. It’s such a powerful way to become the expert in your body and how it works. Here’s how to get started:
BASAL BODY TEMPERATURE (BBT) CHARTING:
Make taking your temperature THE VERY FIRST THING you do each morning, before your feet hit the floor. Repeat. Every. Day.
You’ll be going along with mild fluctuations, like 96.8 to 97.1 to 96.7. Then, you’ll see a spike, up to like high 97s or 98s. The first day you see a spike means you ovulated within the last 24-48 hours.
Each month, track at what day in your cycle this spike occurs to help you identify when you typically ovulate. (Note: the first day you menstruate is day 1 of your cycle. If your temperature spikes 18 days later, then you ovulated at about day 17).
3. take nutrition seriously.
Because what you eat BEFORE pregnancy makes a huge difference in your ability to conceive, for carrying a healthy pregnancy to term, and for YOU to feel as good as possible throughout the whole thing.
While getting ready to create a tiny human, think of your body as a nutritional reservoir for your baby-to-be. As soon as that egg is fertilized, your little one will be gobbling up the nutrients. All of those teeny-tiny organs form in the first 8 weeks of gestation. That means, you want all of the nutrients needed for development readily available before sperm meets egg.
Additionally, despite the seeming abundance of food around us, you would be surprised at the number of critical nutrients that women of child-bearing years are deficient in. Choline is one we write a lot about, but the list also includes vitamin A, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.
We did our own micronutrient testing, and even as kale-obsessed dietitians, we each had a list of vitamins and minerals we were not getting enough of.
Obviously, our Prepare for Pregnancy Program tells you all about how to maximize your nutrient intake to make your body a welcoming, fertile ground for new life ;)
4. Get good at managing your stress.
We know - easier said than done.
If there’s ever a time to make it a priority, its now.
We’re loving the Expectful app, which has guided relaxations and meditations for each stage- from pre-conception through postpartum.
Finally, the most helpful resource for me personally was reading, The Upside of Stress. It helped me reframe stress as an enemy, and instead learn to embrace it as part of having a meaningful life. At least with this perspective, I can shake off the stress about stress itself.
5. Gentle Life Detoxification.
After we take some deep belly breaths and tell you to rein in the stress, you might think it unfair we now warn you about all the scary endocrine disrupting chemicals lurking in your life. However, we have to do it, because they’re real and you deserve to know whats up.
Found in so many things, from the plastic in your Tupperware, to the pesticides on your food, to the fragrances in your candles, there are toxic chemicals that can disrupt your hormone function and potentially, the reproductive development of your future baby.
Read more about:
Which foods are most important to buy organic.
Finally, another shameless plug for our Prepare for Pregnancy Program because we sifted through the research to separate out fact from hype, and give you really simple swaps to reduce your exposure to endocrine disruptors.
You don’t have to be paranoid about everything from cell phones to GMOs. We do recommend you get informed and take the small steps that can make a big impact for protecting the integrity of your hormone function.
Will you share with us and all the other ladies in your same boat what lifestyle changes you’ve made as you get geared up for parenthood?
We also want to know, what questions have come up during this phase that you couldn’t find good answers to?
Share in the comments box below!
Success in motherhood comes from sharing our stories and building connections. That starts here.
You were made for this!