By Rebecca Grande, Founding Team, Honeycomb Manager
Trying to Conceive, or “TTC” for short is a very daunting topic.
You think you’re ready to have a kid and want to take the next step to getting your body prepared to get pregnant. While so many things are out of our control, there are several steps we can take to prepare as best as possible for the future.
*Disclaimer: This was not written by a medical professional. Please always seek advice from a medical professional on medical topics. This is simply my take on what I did to help prep my body for TTC.
Get Off of Birth Control
This should be pretty self explanatory. If you’re on contraceptives, you will most likely not get pregnant. That’s what they are made for right?! Speak with your health provider on how to best attack this. When you first go off birth control, your hormones will be out of whack and will take a couple menstrual cycles to get back to your new “normal”.
Track Your Cycle
If you are not doing so already, I highly recommend tracking your cycle. Who knew what a luteal phase was? Not me when I was starting out. There are tons of free apps online that you can use to track your cycle. While you’re getting off of your birth control, it may take a couple cycles for your apps to be fully accurate predictors of different phases of your cycle. I used the Flo app when I was starting out and paid for the $45 a year subscription fee (there is also a free version available). Premom is also a good option! This allowed me to track my periods each month and understand my fertile windows.
Do you need to completely change your lifestyle to prepare for baby? Not necessarily. Make healthy choices while preparing to TTC so you have the best chances of conception possible. For example, if you smoke, vape, or do any other drugs, you may want to stop. Binge drinking every weekend? Start lowering your alcohol intake. You won’t be able to do any of this when you’re pregnant anyways, so might as well start simmering it down. Haven’t worked out in a year? Start going for walks or moving your body in ways that make you feel good. Again, no doctor here, but you want your body to be as healthy as possible for a little baby to grow.
Start a Prenatal Vitamin
Prenatals are a great way to prepare your body for TTC. They have vitamins that will help your body (and baby) grow! There are a multitude of prenatal vitamins available at your local CVS or Walgreens. Do some research and experiment with which ones you like best. Some may upset your stomach, so it’s all about trial and error. Me personally? I use Ritual. I love that it is clean, uses minimal ingredients, and can be purchased via subscription so I don’t have to think about ever running out.
Up Your Folic Acid Intake
If I could scream this from the rooftops, I would. Please, for the love of all things holy, up your folic acid intake. Many prenatal vitamins already have Folic Acid in them, however, sometimes this isn’t enough. It is recommended that women TTC have between 400mcg and 1000 mcg of Folic Acid daily. Why? Because it prevents babies from having neural tube defects (hydrocephalus, spina bifida, anencephaly, and more). Folic acid declines in women who do not eat enough dark green leafy veggies (ew Kale) and who drink frequently (sorry wine). After an unfortunate pregnancy loss due to a neural tube defect (more on that later), I started testing my Folic Acid and found that my numbers were very very low. So, I asked my doctor what she recommended. In addition to upping my veggies, I also began taking a Folic Acid supplement, which is available in your local vitamin aisle.
Schedule a Prenatal Appointment with your Doctor
At the end of the day, your doctor is the expert. Not google, me, or someone who is also TTC. Talk with your doctor so you can get the best knowledge on what you need to do to prepare your body. Your doctor may order bloodwork to see what your baseline levels are for iron, folic acid, egg quality, etc. They can also provide you with the latest up to date information on specific products and supplements.
At the end of the day, the TTC period can be fun and exciting for your family! It can also be stressful and lonely. Make sure you talk with your partner and doctor about this phase of your journey and have a strong support system. You’ve got this!!