There are many steps a woman can take prior to conception for a healthy pregnancy. You are embarking on an exciting journey. Enjoy yourself. Too much tension or stress can reduce your chances of becoming pregnant. It can also create harsher environment for a developing baby to grow. Because the quest for conception can be an emotional roller coaster, full of high hope, disappointments, and maddening stretches of waiting, take this time to be extra nice to yourself.
Treat yourself to whatever makes you feel better — manicure, a chocolate milkshake, a martini (sure, we know that medical authorities advise against drinking alcohol while trying to conceive, but one time’s probably okay!). Take yourself out to dinner and the funniest, trashiest movie you can find. Now could be the perfect time to book that trip you’ve always dreamed of — even if you’re on a budget, you could visit good friends or take a weekend camping trip in some beautiful spot. Indulge in your favorite hobby or pastime. Spend time doing things you enjoy, whether it’s reading a book, writing letters, journaling in a pregnancy diary, or simply doing nothing. A bath can help wash away the stress of the day. Try a bubble bath or choose essential oils such as sandalwood, lavender, and ylang ylang, to help ease stress.
The point is to pamper yourself — you deserve it! Mind-body relaxation techniques such as meditation, guided visualization, yoga, and even talk therapy (one-on-one with a counselor or in a support group) can help relieve stress. And since stress is known to interfere with fertility (some research shows that women with depressive symptoms are half as likely to conceive as women who are not depressed), any of these stress-busting methods may help you get in a baby-making frame of mind (and body!).
If you’re thinking meditation means twisting your body into an uncomfortable position and uttering “oohs” and “omms” for an hour, guess again. Meditation may include walking, swimming, painting, knitting — any activity that helps keep your attention calmly in the present moment. When you catch yourself thinking about your job, your relationship or your lifelong to-do list, experts say to simply let the thought escape, and bring your mind back the repetition of the activity. Try it for just 5 to 10 minutes a day and watch stress levels drop.
You probably know that acupuncture involves inserting tiny, thin needles into specific points in the body. But you may not know how being turned into a pincushion can help cure what ails you. According to traditional Chinese medicine, the needles unblock energy (or chi) and increase blood flow to promote a state of balance in the body. According to Western doctors, the needles stimulate the nervous system to release chemicals that help alleviate pain and promote healing. (MRIs even show that acupuncture has an effect in the brain.) Where fertility is concerned, acupuncture may improve blood supply to reproductive organs, stimulate hormones, regulate ovulation, and decrease stress — all of which may help increase your chances of getting pregnant. For this reason, acupuncture is one of the most popular natural fertility treatments — and not just for women. For men, it may increase sperm quality and count. Acupuncture can be a treatment in and of itself or it can be part of a holistic treatment plan that may include herbs, nutritional counseling, or other holistic techniques.