You know you want kids in the future, but you’re not quite ready for them yet. After all, you’re about to get married and want to travel and spend time together, just the two of you, before you add a baby to the mix. Plus, you’ve been working towards that promotion at work and you’re too busy for kids right now. Maybe after you build up your savings, pay off some debt, and move into your dream house, then you’ll finally be ready to start trying. That’s all great, except…
1 in 8 couple struggle to get pregnant and fertility challenges are starting to become more and more common. Now that’s not to say that you can expect to face similar challenges, but there are actions you can take now to set yourself up for success. You planned out your education and what degree you would pursue in college, then you planned your career trajectory and aimed to get promoted quickly, and from there you even planned out your wedding day. So why not take some time to plan out your fertility for the sake of you and your future family. Here are some reasons why this is beneficial before pregnancy.
Let’s start with arguably the most important aspect of preconception planning, Epigenetics. Epigenetics literally translates to “above the gene.” It’s the study of how your behaviors and environment can impact the way your genes express themselves. We used to think that our genes controlled our fate and while they can play a role, epigenetics brings us hope, as we have greater control over our genes and how they manifest throughout our lives. Not only is this good news for us, but also for our babies, because you have the ability to change the genes that you pass down to your baby and also your grandbabies. It takes 3 months for an egg to mature and during that time, your lifestyle can significantly improve the quality of that egg. Taking time to prepare yourself prior to pregnancy, ensures that you are giving your future child the best chance at being as healthy and happy as possible.
So now let’s dive into how preconception planning can help you during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum. Did you know that in the early stages of pregnancy and into the first trimester, your baby is relying on your existing nutrient stores from the past few months to continue growing? Morning sickness is very common and most pregnant women have very little appetite, or if they do, they can’t keep anything down. Your body is amazing though and it’s prepared for that depletion, so you can support it, by ensuring that you nourish your body before pregnancy with real whole foods. What is your energy like right now? How about your sleep and stress levels? Any existing health conditions with hormone, blood sugar, or thyroid imbalance? These are the types of things that can cause issues during pregnancy and even lead to things like gestational diabetes and possibly miscarriage.
I think we can all agree that birth is physically demanding and there are things you can do now to help make it easier on your body. Let’s start with exercise. What are you doing to incorporate movement into your life on a daily basis? It’s important to have a good routine now, that can be sustained through pregnancy (with slight modifications if needed), so that your body has the physical strength and stamina to help you give birth more easily. Think squatting, stretching, walking, light resistance training, and anything else that can help get the blood flowing and strengthen your muscles. Also, pregnancy tends to cause constipation due to the increased progesterone levels. If you’re already struggling with digestive issues, it’s best to address them now to ensure that your body is detoxing properly and to avoid worsening discomfort.
Next up is the postpartum phase, which can be just as challenging. I think we’ve all seen the stereotypical scene of the stressed out, exhausted, new parents who haven’t slept in days. Bringing a baby into this world is nothing short of miraculous, but it comes with its own challenges that you’ll need to adjust to. You can make that adjustment even easier by ensuring that your life now is set up to prepare you for this new phase of life. If you’re already stressed with your job, your cluttered house full of unfinished projects, finances, and your non-existent self care routine, then adding a baby to an already stressful situation is going to compound everything tenfold. Preconception planning allows you to be conscious and intentional about bringing your baby into the world. By taking the time to audit your life and assess areas that need some attention, you ensure that you are better prepared for the challenging times and have the routines, systems, and tools to overcome them more easily.
I’m not sure if you’re picking up on the theme here, but bottom line preconception and fertility planning help you live your best life NOW. You don’t have to wait until your baby comes to start nourishing and moving your body. You can reduce your stress now by taking some time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not. What’s bringing you joy and what’s not? When you take the time to create and start living your best life, it will have a positive impact on you, your future baby, and generations to come. Now that’s worth it!
What are some things you’d like to start doing before your baby comes? Comment below and let me know so I can cheer you on!