The Journey to Baby: Part 2 (Readying Yourself)

It is amazing to me how much changing my own health impacted my ability to conceive. Now, there are a lot of people in great health who still experience infertility struggles, so this is by no means a sure-fire way of getting pregnant. But, I know that it took me a lot of time (and googling, which is a slippery slope) to understand what I could do to prepare my body for what was to come. Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional at all. This information is based on my personal experience and conversations with my own doctors. If you are thinking about getting pregnant or are struggling to conceive, please contact your doctor!

Get your thyroid checked
This was a big one for me because I had prior thyroid issues. And previous pregnancies can really throw a good thyroid out of whack, so this is something I had to get sorted out when we started trying for our second. I had no idea how majorly off my thyroid was until I had it checked, and I go in for usual screenings! So, if you are starting to think about pregnancy, definitely ask for this to be looked at.

Start prenatals now
I started prenatals a couple months before we started trying (which ended up being about a year prior to conceiving our first) at the advice of a friend. Apparently it can help limit morning sickness, which I found to be true, but it also gets your body full of some amazing vitamins. It will help YOU get healthier, and allow your body to be in prime condition for growing a tiny human.

Reduce your stress and keep it low
I found that I was way over subscribed in my life and that I needed to make a change. I dropped some of the extra activities I had going on so I would have more time to exercise, enjoy my husband and friends, and just relax. You will not get another restful moment for a long time once you have a baby, so allow your body to take a break. There is no guilt in that. I also found that some of the things related to trying to conceive caused me enormous stress. Every month that I wasn’t pregnant, but my app said it was a good month, I was devastated. I became obsessed with tracking my temperature, tracking my cycle, whatever it was to try and figure out why I wasn’t getting pregnant. I finally realized that all that stress couldn’t possibly help and so I stopped it. All of it. It’s not worth the added stress. Both of my pregnancies have come from not tracking and allowing my body to be as stress-free as possible.

Start preparing for pregnancy
I started preparing for pregnancy well before I was pregnant. You don’t know you are pregnant for several weeks and it is important that those early weeks are as healthy as possible. So, I wouldn’t drink alcohol unless I was obviously not pregnant (hello period!); I limited the amount of caffeine I had; I made sure to incorporate some of the healthy foods that were recommended during pregnancy; and I started removing any of the foods that are not pregnancy-safe from our regular diet.

Make some healthy changes
Outside of what I mentioned above, it’s a good idea to get your body in as good of health as possible. One thing I regret not doing (both times…) is getting in a good habit of exercising before I got pregnant. I would exercise, but sporadically. Once I was pregnant, it was extremely hard, especially during the first trimester, to get in a routine. If you need to get some additional vitamins into your regimen, outside of prenatals, this is a good time to date that. (I added in a bone strengthener and some additional thyroid support.) Obviously you should consult with a doctor on this. I am not a medical professional, but these are some things that I considered and did to prepare myself.

Pray about it
In our effort to get pregnant the first time, we definitely did not have an easy path. I went to the hospital for one confirmed loss, and am confident there were others that were so early I didn’t even know about them yet. I got so stressed out and the emotional toll was significant. (We didn’t even announce our first pregnancy publicly until we were in the third trimester because of how much this process had impacted us.) After months and months of nothing, I finally asked for prayer about it from our church. Now, I believe in miracles, and I believe that God often calls us to turn things over to him. I believe that for a lot of reasons, but I also believe it because we found out we were pregnant with our son, who is now almost two, the month after we finally asked for prayer. Please know that this is obviously not a silver bullet. There are many families fervently praying for God to intervene in this process, who have not yet conceived. God can do magnificent things, and I think we also have to be open to what he is telling us. He can make a woman into a mother through many different avenues. Your story will be unique, and I encourage you to follow His call.

Struggling with infertility or, at least, unanswered questions about why you haven’t conceived yet, can have an enormous toll on a person and couple. Preparing yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically for the process can, in my experience, have a big impact.

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