- Take 400 micrograms (or 0.4 mg) of folic acid daily. Focus on eating foods fortified with folic acid, take a multivitamin, or take a folic acid pill to get your daily dose. Taking a folic acid supplement is the best way to be sure you're getting enough. Including 0.4 mg of folic acid (or folate) in your diet before you get pregnant and in the first three months of pregnancy can help prevent some birth defects. If you don't get enough folic acid, your baby's spine may not form correctly. This is called spina bifida. Another thing your baby needs folic acid to develop a healthy brain. Many doctors will prescribe a multi-vitamin that contains folic acid. But the better thing to do is to buy folic acid pills at drug stores or supermarkets. Foods that are rich in folate include: leafy green vegetables, kidney beans, orange juice and other citrus fruits, peanuts, broccoli, asparagus, peas, lentils, and whole-grain products. Folic acid is also sometimes added to foods like enriched breads, pastas, rice and cereals. It’s a good idea for you to find out more about folic acid.
- Be more aware of what you eat. Start stacking your diet with fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains (such as whole-wheat breads or crackers). Be sure to eat plenty of calcium-rich foods such as non-fat or low-fat yogurt, milk, and broccoli. Your baby needs a lot of calcium for strong bones and teeth. When fruits and vegetables aren't in season, frozen vegetables are a good option. Avoid eating a lot of fatty foods (such as butter and fatty meats). Choose leaner foods when you can (such as skim milk, chicken and turkey without the skin, and fish). However, avoid eating swordfish as they contain high levels of mercury.
- Bite the bullet. If you smoke or use alcohol or drugs you have to tell your doctor about it. Quitting is hard, but your fertility will suffer if you don't. You can do it. Ask your doctor for help.
- Get plenty of sleep. Try to get seven to nine hours every night.
- Do everything you can to control the stress in your life. When it comes to work and family, figure out what you can and can not do. Set firm limits with yourself and others. Don't be afraid to say “NO” to requests for your time and energy. You may not realize it, but high stress can lower your fertility more any other factor.
- Don’t forget to move your body. Once you get pregnant, you can't increase your exercise routine by much. So it's best to start a routine before the baby is on its way.
- If you have existing health problems take steps to get them under control. Talk to your doctor about how your health problems might affect you and your baby. If you suffer from diabetes, monitor closely your blood sugar levels. If you have high blood pressure, monitor these levels as well. If you are overweight, set an appointment with your doctor and talk about how to reach a healthy weight.
- Find out what health problems run in your family. Tell these to your doctor. You can get tested for health problems that run in families before getting pregnant (genetic testing).
- Make sure you have had all of your immunization shots, especially for Rubella (German measles). If you haven't had chickenpox or rubella already, get the shots at least three months before getting pregnant. Having either of these diseases after childhood can render you infertile.
- Get checked for hepatitis B and C, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV. These infections can be harmful to you and your baby. Tell your doctor if you or your sex partners have ever had an STD or HIV.
- To protect your fertility go over all of the medicines you take with your doctor, including prescription drugs, over-the-counter, and herbal medicine. Make sure they are safe to take while you're trying to get pregnant or are pregnant.
Taking each of the steps will help you to get your body ready for maximum fertility, and eliminate things that could possibly cause infertility. Check them off one at a time and get ready for baby.
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