Conceiving takes time and effort. Here are some tips

Cinderella’s fairy Godmother, although magical, took to careful planning while sending our favourite Disney princess to the ball.  A horse drawn carriage was made out of pumpkins  and foot soldiers from mice – yet the romantic meeting with Prince Charming was conceived neatly! No matter the strain, when the clock struck twelve – it was still a beautiful miracle bound by time!

Planning a child however, is a teeny bit more effort than going to the ball. It takes more than a fairy godmother these days. Even the prince Charming has to do his bit and get involved. This miracle of ‘Conception’ needs a lot going for itself! So what does a Cinderella have to do today to be able to conceive without a magic spell –

 

  1. Schedule a preconception visit.
  2. Consider genetic carrier screening
  3. Take folic acid supplements (magic pills)
  4. Give up social drinking in balls.
  5. Eat healthy.
  6. Reduce caffeine intake.
  7. Aim for a healthy weight and exercise regularly.

 

BabyMap: the next generation carrier screening test

 

Herbs and Berries from the Woods are not enough! One needs to eat right-  

 

  • Folic Acid flow: Studies show that the earlier you start taking this vital vitamin — ideally, before you conceive — the lower the chances are that your baby will develop neural tube defects. Most leafy green vegetables and whole grains are good for this kind of a diet.
  • Limit the junk cravings: Try and limit refined sugars and white flour (sweets, desserts, ice creams). Reduce your fat levels by adding a salad instead of fries as a side dish! Higher level of fats also causes severe pregnancy nausea and vomiting.
  • The right diet: Increase the consumption of green leafies, salads, fruits and hearty whole grains (whole-wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal), and low-fat dairy! If you plate it right and eat well, your baby is bound to feel better!
  • Avoid skipping meals: Working through lunch instead of eating it? Work out a three-meal habit now so that when baby is there, it gets a steady supply of nutrients throughout the day. Try and space it out with regular intervals of fruits and juices, the better you eat – the better you will feel!

 

Dancing is good – but you need a bit more Cinderella!

 

Running: There’s no reason to give up on this exercise before pregnancy. Running is an excellent activity; and it’s a sure way to get your heart rate up. But this is not the ideal time for you to be training for a marathon — that would strain your body and could possibly interfere with your menstrual cycle. If you notice that your runs are wearing you out (they leave you extremely weak and tired, for instance) tone down the frequency, pace, and duration. If you jog moderately, it should keep you fit without risking your pregnancy plans.

 

Water Baby: Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise. It is low impact but tones your muscles and offers cardiovascular benefits. Do remember that pre-pregnancy is not when you start training for triathlon, because this would definitely strain your system and interfere with ovulation. The activity should be mildly challenging, but it should not leave you drained and gasping for breath.

 

Gym Freak: No matter what form of machine you use, let your doctor weigh in on your routine to make sure your activities are safe while you are trying to conceive. Once you get the okay to go ahead with your exercises of choice, be sure to listen to your body, rest when required, and always drink plenty of water. And when you become pregnant, you’ll have to remember that overdoing exercise can be risky.

 

The Ultimate Exercise – Yoga: Yoga is an ideal exercise before pregnancy. It builds strength, balance, endurance, and muscle tone, and it helps to relax — all things that will help your conception efforts. However, Yoga injuries are quite common, and they too can have an adverse effect on your baby-making efforts. Ask a teacher for guidance who can help you pinpoint your body’s limits. Talk with your yoga instructor (and your doctor) to find which style  works suits you best.

 

You cannot track your evil sisters but you can track your ovulation date!

 

During preconception, you must learn two very important terms: Ovulation and Fertile window. Technically, pregnancy is only possible during the five days before ovulation through to the day of ovulation. These six days are the ‘fertile window’ in a woman’s cycle, and depend mostly on the survival of sperm (5 days) and the lifespan of the ovum (24 hours). The probability of accurate pregnancy increases gradually until the two days before ovulation and the day of it. During the end of the ‘fertility window’, the probability of pregnancy declines rapidly and by 12-24 hours post ovulation, a woman is no longer able to conceive during that particular cycle.

 

These dates can be discussed with your gynaecologist and also tracked using fertility apps like Ovia or Glow on smart phones. If you are looking for information – you just have to ask. Millions of ‘fairies’ employed by Google godmother are roaming around wirelessly eager to help out!

 

NewBorn screening for genetic disorders BabyMap

The glass slipper and Prince Charming Awaiting ….

 

The BFP (big fat positive) at the end of the stick is what a Cinderella is looking for today. The Prince needs to learn a bit about the process too, to get his new princess – a happily ever after! Things he can do –

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Stay away from toxic substances –  bug spray and metals (lead)
  • Stop smoking and excess social drinking  (Skip the Grand Ball – Dear Prince!)
  • Get screened and treated for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Share your family and clinical history with the doctor
  • Support your partner physically, mentally, and emotionally!

 

In conclusion, every woman or Cinderella dreams of a fairy tale journey in this life. Conceiving a healthy child is a miracle like no other, and a blessing in many ways! Today, we don’t have the evil sisters and the stepmothers, but we must be aware of issues that can cause infertility, be able to understand their root cause and discuss it with a specialist! One can learn about ovulation, how to get pregnant, how to take care of the baby, medical tests to be taken before and during pregnancy. We may not see a wand moving around or enchanted spells in the air, but there is help available when one looks for it – Just as Fairy Godmother said 🙂

 

For now, life is not as magical as before and our fairy godmothers are on a break – so we must learn and adapt in order to create our own technologically advanced fantasy land and cherub like babies!

 


 

About the author

Dr. Pallavi Jain is part of the Scientific Team at Mapmygenome. She has a Bachelors Degree in Biochemistry with Genetics and a PhD in Molecular Medicine (UK). She recently completed an intensive course in IVF from Origio, Mumbai. She enjoys swimming and reading.

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