Whether you’re thinking of having a baby imminently or in the future, Emily shares her tips on how to prepare your mind and your body in advance of getting pregnant.
Becoming and being pregnant is a life changing experience. Whatever age you are when you find out you are pregnant for the first time is a moment you’re unlikely to ever forget. It’s magical and it’s wonderful – yet it can also be incredibly stressful.
Even before conceiving, I felt increasingly wound up by the constant bombardment of information thrown at me, as well as by the questions from others. It’s quite staggering how entitled people feel to ask about when you’ll be trying for a baby, or how the media feel that it’s OK to let you know (in the bluntest way possible) that if you wait until a certain age your chances of getting pregnant are dramatically slashed.
I wanted to share some of the (largely free and easy) ways that I’ve dealt with the stressful side of what is truly also a very special time and one that should be savoured.
I’ll be writing this in three instalments, starting with my top 5 tips pre pregnancy:
If you’re thinking about trying for a baby, keep it on the down low. Just pick a few key friends (preferably those with kids already or those who are pregnant and can offer useful advice) to tell so that you have people to confide in but won’t have to update the world and his wife if nothing has happened 6 months down the line.
Understand your menstrual cycles. This is so important and I’d urge anyone to do this – whether you’re wanting to get pregnant eventually or not. The apps out there are brilliant now and many come with really useful information as well as tracking your monthly symptoms and cycle.
Try to slow things down. Your body needs to feel rested, nourished and ready to undergo the 10 months (yep, not 9) slog of creating and carrying another human.
Look at some of the recipes in Emma Cannon’s book ‘Fertile’. Also aim to eat foods which address blood deficiency in the body – I read a lot about this in Chinese Medicine and it really does make sense. If liver and black pudding aren’t for you, go heavy on dark leafy vegetables, seafood or almonds and apricots.
If you’re actively ‘trying’ for a baby, doctors recommend taking folic acid – I managed to combine this with the Fertility supplement from Wild Nutrition.
This doesn’t mean signing up for expensive classes that you have to leave work on time for and battle through the busy Tube to get to. I did all the yoga from home, using YouTube and a mat that I bought at TK Maxx. I loved the fact I could do it whenever I wanted, by myself and without having to worry about getting a good space in a busy studio.
My favourite yoga channel for fertility and pre pregnancy was Yoga Yin although if you want to get out and about, there are some brilliant classes at Tri Yoga which has various locations across London.
There is absolutely no need to become obsessive and give up drinking and socialising, but try and set aside at least one night a week for a chilled dinner at home, or cut down the exercise sessions if you’re on a binge patch at the gym.
I also started to do a few guided meditations whenever I had 5 minutes to spare – all of these were ones I found online and could listen to with headphones. Just sitting and breathing deeply for a few moments a day helps to calm you.