Preconception care is a critical initial phase in family planning. You can enhance your chances of conceiving successfully and improve the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy when following these essential guidelines for conception and pregnancy preparation strategies.

Tracking Ovulation

Understanding your menstrual cycle will clue you in on when you are most fertile. Ovulation usually occurs around the middle of your menstrual cycle, and having intercourse during this time maximizes your chances of conception. There are several ways to track ovulation, such as checking your basal body temperature or using an over-the-counter ovulation test. 

Timing Sex 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends having sex up to five days before ovulation and one day after ovulation when trying to conceive. Studies show that having sex every day or every other day in this six-day ovulation window results in the best probability of getting pregnant. 

Establish a Regular Exercise Routine

Engaging in moderate physical activity can improve fertility and overall health. However, excessive and intense or high-impact exercise might have the opposite effect, so it’s crucial to find a balance. 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) urges those planning to get pregnant to become more physically active. You and your growing baby will receive 50% more blood flow when you workout regularly because exercise helps to strengthen your muscles, including your heart muscle.

In addition, exercise has been shown in several studies to improve sleep quality and lower stress. Managing stress and getting at least 7 or more hours of sleep each night may also help increase fertility rates, according to the National Institutes of Health

If you establish a regular fitness regime before getting pregnant, it will be easier for you to stay motivated once you become pregnant, particularly when experiencing normal pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and fatigue.

Eating for Conception

Eating for conception and pregnancy includes maintaining a healthy diet rich in bright-colored fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats (e.g., avocados, olive oil, and wild-caught fish). Sugary snacks, drinks, trans fats, and processed foods should be avoided.

Eating a balanced diet, combined with regular exercise can help maintain a healthy weight; being overweight or underweight can adversely impact fertility while contributing to health conditions during pregnancy. 

Prenatal Vitamins

Certain birth defects in the spine and brain that may occur early in pregnancy can be prevented by ensuring you have enough folic acid. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you take 400 mcg of folic acid-containing prenatal vitamins starting one month before conception.

Avoid Substances and Toxins

Toxic substances, such as alcohol, nicotine, and substances in recreational drugs can adversely impact your ability to conceive and harm your unborn baby once you do get pregnant. Preconception planning includes avoiding substances such as alcohol, tobacco, some prescription medications, high levels of caffeine, and harmful toxins at home or at work (e.g., pesticides, cleaners, heavy metals, etc.).

Schedule Preconception Counseling 

Conception is different for each individual; it may take time for conception to occur. It’s important to stay positive, practice patience, and follow our preconception and fertility guidelines. If you experience any difficulties or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for support and guidance. If you are planning a pregnancy, we can evaluate your overall health, identify potential risks and issues, and offer you personalized advice for your pregnancy journey. Schedule a preconception check-up with Pacific Gynecology & Obstetrics Medical Group in San Francisco today.