pregnancy

4 simple lifestyle changes to make if you’re trying to conceive.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Blackmores

You've jumped aboard the 'making a baby' train. 

YAY. Or maybe 'GULP'. Because it can be a little bit scary making that commitment and figuring out how prepared you need to be (because let's face it, most of us are just winging it).

In the past we may have gotten all our information from friends, family members and an old copy of What To Expect When You're Expecting. Now, we’ve got access to a trillion different websites with a single tap of our iPhone screens. Eat this, don’t eat that. Make sure you’re exercising but don’t exercise TOO much. Take your pre-conception vitamins in the morning, not the evening, while hanging upside down in a Frangipani tree that’s in bloom.

OK, that last one might have been an exaggeration, but you wouldn’t be the first mama-to-be who’s almost had a breakdown in the cheese aisle of the supermarket, trying to work out whether blue cheese is ‘allowed’ when you’re trying to make a baby.

We’ve cut through the noise to share four simple lifestyle changes you can make right now, if conceiving is in your future and there’s no tree-climbing required.

Note: Everyone is different, so always visit your healthcare professional to understand any health conditions or risk factors at play. It's not a one-size-fits-all thing, but the following tips are highly recommended.

1. Limit the amount of coffee you drink.

Don’t panic, you don’t have to give up the good stuff altogether. While the impact of caffeine on your baby making parts isn’t a hugely researched topic, there has been some evidence that excessive consumption may make it harder to fall pregnant.

What should you do? Keep an eye on your intake. According to the Australian Government guidelines, the recommended daily intake of caffeine if you’re trying to conceive or are pregnant is around 200mg, or approximately two cups of instant coffee, though the amount of caffeine in drinks can vary greatly.

It’s a good idea to Google your favourite drink to get an idea of how much caffeine it may contain and factor that into your diet. And remember, coffee isn’t the only drink with caffeine in it. Tea (black and green), energy drinks, some soft drinks and even chocolate can all contain varying amounts. It's recommended to have four cups of tea a day; although if caffeine gets your heart racing, you might be more sensitive to it and need to have less.

Reducing your coffee intake before and during pregnancy is widely recommended. Image: Getty.

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2. Commit to a pre-conception and pregnancy vitamin (and take it every day).

One of the easiest lifestyle changes to commit to is adding a pre-conception vitamin into your day. These supplements are specifically formulated to ensure that your body is getting enough of the key nutrients that can support a healthy conception. Folic acid and iodine are the big hitters in the pre-conception and pregnancy world as they are important for the healthy development of baby’s brain and nervous system.

The thing is, these nutrients can take time to build up in your system, which is why it’s a good idea to start taking a supplement when you start planning a pregnancy. Experts recommend taking 500 mg of folate and 150mcg of iodine which can be difficult to get purely from food. 

Blackmores Conceive Well Gold provides important nutrients that support healthy pre-conception and foetal development, including folic acid, iodine, iron and Omega 3 DHA. The most important part? Remembering to take the right amount of supplements and take them each day. Set an alarm on your phone or pop a reminder somewhere in the house so that you don't forget.

A pre-conception supplement is not a replacement for a well-balanced diet and active lifestyle, though. It should be taken in conjunction with a diet containing a wide variety of the five food groups, limiting foods high in saturated fat, added salt and added sugars.

3. Track your cycle (it doesn't have to be complicated).

Yes, there are a lot of apps but they vary in quality and accuracy. Image: Getty.

Cycle who? Ovulation what? If you’ve never tracked your cycle, the whole concept might seem a bit bewildering. But fear not, it's actually super simple to do AND it can increase your odds of conceiving.

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By tracking your cycle, you’re able to identify your fertile window, AKA the days of the month when you’re most likely to conceive. That way, you’ll know exactly when you'll maximise your chances of a sperm and egg union (either through intercourse or alternate treatments like IVF).

There are a number of ways to track your cycle, starting with blood tests and ultrasounds. But you can also use fertility/cycle tracking apps, an ovulation calculator or an ovulation prediction kit, which uses your urine to test for signs of ovulation.

Pick one that you think will work best for you and your lifestyle. It’s a good idea to start tracking your cycle in the months leading up to when you might try and conceive as it’ll give you a good opportunity to work out your average cycle length and pinpoint when ovulation will most likely occur.

Note: not all fertility apps are created equal. A 2019 Australian study found that the most accurate were Flo, Glow and Kindara, while various others made "unrealistic and unsubstantiated claims". The main message is that these apps can be helpful, but professional medical advice will always be more valuable.

4. Cut back on chemicals in household cleaning products.

We are all well aware that smoking and recreational drugs are a no-go when trying to conceive and during pregnancy but there are a number of other, seemingly innocent household and personal care staples that it’s best to bin during your baby-making journey. 

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals or EDCs are found throughout our environment and while we can’t avoid them altogether, limiting exposure where we can, can mean a better quality of both sperm and eggs. You may be familiar with the most common EDCs; BPAs, phthalates, parabens, pesticides and herbicides and heavy metals, which are sometimes found in plastic products and common household disinfectants and cleaning products. 

These days, products packaging should clearly show what’s inside a product and it can be fairly easy to make a switch to EDC-free products. You can find out more information about EDCs and reading labels here.

So there you have it - four quick and easy lifestyle changes you can make now. 

And the most important one we didn’t mention: Enjoy the process. It’s supposed to be fun, after all.

Are you trying to conceive or have you had a baby? What's been the most helpful thing for you? Tell us below.

Feature image: Getty.

Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate. Always seek advice from your healthcare professional.

Blackmores
Choose Blackmores Conceive Well™ Gold to support your pre-conception health, containing important nutrients such as folic acid, iodine, iron and omega-3 DHA. The first few weeks of pregnancy are a critical time for your baby’s development, so taking supplementation when you start trying to conceive can help ensure you are getting the nutrients required during this time. Consider switching to Blackmores Pregnancy and Breast-Feeding Gold once you’re pregnant, to support you & your growing bub throughout your pregnancy and breast-feeding journey.
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