Pregnancy is a very specific condition for the woman’s body, so it’s better to be prepared for it. On the other hand, planned pregnancy is always easier both physically and emotionally.
Preparing for pregnancy
- Consult with you GP
If you wish to have a baby you should visit your doctor to make sure that there are no contraindications for the future pregnancy. You should also visit a dentist as many pregnant women have problems with their teeth and gums during pregnancy.
- Treatment of chronic disorders
Chronic medical conditions such as arterial hypertension, kidney disease, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes etc. should be treated before and during the pregnancy. You have to consult with your doctor whether you may carry a baby at the moment or not.
- Genetic counseling
If there is a history of congenital disorders or miscarriages in your family or your partner’s family consider genetic counseling to make sure that you are not carrying any abnormal gene.
To prepare your body for pregnancy it is recommended to start exercising before the pregnancy, starting with at least 30 minutes of activity (running, brisk walking, cycling etc.) per day.
It is very important for a future mother to adhere to a healthy diet. You have various foods rich in vitamins and vital nutrients. At the same time you should avoid or minimize the consumption of foods high in sugars and trans fats as you may develop gestational diabetes. It is recommended to eat about five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Legumes such as lentils, peas, beans, chickpeas etc. contain a lot of fiber, proteins, folic acid, iron and calcium necessary both for the mother and a baby.
- Reduce the caffeine intake
You shouldn’t consume more than 200 mg of caffeine per day.
- Folate intake
Folate is essential for the nervous system development. It is recommended to consume 400 mg of folate per day for at least 1 month before the pregnancy and during the pregnancy.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
Alcohol and drugs are known to be toxic for the child, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- Quit smoking
When you smoke your blood vessels constrict, the vessels of the placenta constrict as well, so the fetus is not receiving enough oxygen. Hypoxia damages the fetus tissues.
- Avoid other toxic substances, especially at work
Toxic substances may affect both your reproductive system and the developing embryo.
You should have a flue shot before the pregnancy. Other important vaccinations include immunization against measles, mumps, rubella (MMR vaccine), this should be done a month or more prior to the pregnancy.
During the ovulation an egg is released from your ovary. This is the high time when you can get pregnant and it happens normally once per month. You should know when you ovulate if you wish to conceive.
Signs of ovulation include the following:
- Discharge changes – the mucus of the cervix becomes thicker;
- Body temperature – average body temperature increases before the ovulation and remains increased during the luteal phase;
- Mittelschmerz (derived from German “middle pain”) – the pain in the abdomen during the ovulation;
- Senses – many women experienced a heightened perception of smell during ovulation;
- Libido – in the days prior to ovulation, females experience increased sexual desire;
To determine the ovulation a woman may record information about her menstrual cycle, chart the monthly cycles of the basal body temperature, or mark the changes in the cervical mucus. Sometimes these methods are not enough to predict the ovulation period accurately, and then an ovulation home test is recommended.
The test detects the increased level of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine, which signals the ovary to release the egg.
Usually the test is performed on the 11th day of the cycle. A positive result indicates the possible ovulation in the following 24 – 36 hours.
Salivary ferning kits are also available. They allow to test saliva with a pocket-sized portable microscope. As the levels of estrogen rise, the salt content of the mucus increases. The drying of the saliva leaves a fern-like pattern of salt crystals. Ferning occurs in the few days prior to ovulation.
Birth control methods: Planning pregnancy
Birth control methods include various devices or medicines to avoid pregnancy or delay it. There is no ideal contraception method, each method has its advantages and disadvantages. However, only abstinence may guarantee that you will not conceive.
- Hormonal methods (Combined oral contraceptive pills and progestogen-only pills, hormonal implants, patches, vaginal rings, injections);
- Barrier methods (Male condom, female condom, diaphragm, cervical cap);
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs);
- Coitus interruptus (withdrawal or pull-out method);
- Natural methods (Ovulation test kits, cervical mucus examination, fertility awareness method);
- Emergency contraception (Copper-bearing intrauterine devices and emergency contraceptive pills);
Lactational amenorrhea method: Planning pregnancy
It is known that a woman remains infertile while she is breastfeeding. This method of natural contraception is called the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM). The duration of this period and infertility depends on the breastfeeding – hence, whether breastfeeding is regular or not, how many times per day breastfeeding happens etc. This method will help you to plan the future pregnancy after the delivery of the previous baby.
The Seven Standarts of Ecological Breastfeeding: Planning pregnancy
Natural postpartum infertility may be prolonged when the next recommendations are followed:
- Breastfeed exclusively for the first six months of life; don’t use other liquids and solids, not even water.
- Pacify or comfort your baby at your breasts.
- Don’t use bottles and don’t use pacifiers.
- Sleep with your baby for night feedings.
- Sleep with your baby for a daily-nap feeding.
- Nurse frequently day and night, and avoid scheduling.
- Avoid any practice that restricts nursing or separates you from your baby.
When a mother sticks to the Ecological Breastfeeding she will likely start to menstruate 9-20 months after the delivery.