6 Habits You Need to Kick Before Pregnancy
There are many habits you need to kick before pregnancy, you will get tons of advice from friends and family about what you should and shouldn’t do. Stopping these habits all at once can be overwhelming. If you aim to slowly stop each of your bad habits before you even conceive, the tasks can seem more doable.
Here are 6 habits you need to cut out before you try to make a baby.
Everyone knows that a smoker needs to give up their bad habit once they get pregnant, but you should try to stop smoking before conception. Depending on how long you’ve been a smoker for, quitting can be a very difficult challenge and could require some time. You don’t want any slip-ups during your pregnancy, so now is the best time to quit.
If you attempt to quit before you get pregnant, it will give you the time to discover which methods work for you. You could try replacing cigarettes with nicotine gum, sprays or patches. If social smoking is your trigger, you can try replacing a cigarette with an e-cigarette. Some people also find that behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy helps.
Quitting beforehand also means you have the option of slowly cutting down, rather than quitting cold turkey when you get a positive pregnancy test.
Quitting smoking could also help prevent fertility issues. Female smokers are more likely to have ovulation issues and other fertility problems. Smoking can lower sperm count, create DNA damage and reduce sperm motility as well as its ability to fertilize an egg, according to a review of research.
If your partner is a marijuana smoker, now is time for him to kick that habit, too. While occasional marijuana use may not pose a problem, smoking it more than once a week could lower his sperm count by 29%, according to one study.
If you and your partner are a couple who love to go clubbing every Saturday night or have frequent after work drinks, it may be time to find new hobbies.
Going from partying hard every weekend to sitting home sober and pregnant is a big change, so slowly changing these habits now will help minimize your shock. Your partner’s lifestyle will change too when he has a newborn, so attending fewer parties may help him ease into being home more often.
Drinking frequently can also decrease your chances of getting pregnant, according to a 1998 study. If you think a weekly Saturday night out won’t do any harm, you could be wrong. Even women who have five or fewer drinks a week could lower their chances of conceiving.
Your partner’s alcohol consumption can also affect your ability to get pregnant. Some studies show that five drinks a week can pose issues while others show that only excessive intake will affect male fertility. Drinking could lower his sperm count and his testosterone levels (not good for getting into the baby making mood!).
Instead of going out to parties and drinking, enjoy at home dates instead. You could prepare a new meal together, have a fondue, have a movie night or give each other massages; the options are endless. When you go out with your girlfriends, try to centre your outings around activities. For example, instead of going to a bar or club, you could attend a painting class, craft workshop or go to a ping pong lounge. However, when you do decide to go out, many bars and restaurants offer delicious mocktails, so skipping the alcohol doesn’t have to be boring.
Another reason you should cut out those all night parties is because the amount you sleep could affect your fertility. Researchers studied the sleeping habits of 656 women having IVF. They found that women who slept 7 or 8 hours a night were 15% more likely to conceive than women who slept less than 7 hours. But that doesn’t mean you should sleep in all day. Researchers also found that the group was 25% more likely to get pregnant than women who had nine or more hours of sleep.
Fast Food Addiction
If you don’t stop eating fast food now, it’s unlikely you’ll kick the habit when the baby comes. You’ll have even less time to cook food with a newborn and the idea of running out for meals becomes even more tempting. Carrying on this habit could eventually lead to your child being accustomed to a fast food diet instead of a healthy, balanced diet.
Eating fast food could also decrease you and your partner’s fertility. Men who ate one to three servings of processed meats a day have lower sperm quality, a Harvard study found.
Eating healthy could also help you manage your weight, which is also important to increase your chances of conceiving. According to a UK study, women who were overweight tried twice as long to get pregnant.
So if you’re giving up fast food, what food should you eat instead? Harvard researchers say that eating healthy carbs — such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains — as opposed to bad carbs, could increase your chances of conceiving. In their study, women with the highest glycemic load were 92% more likely to have ovulatory infertility.
Doing It All Yourself
Many women have taken on a “Miss Independent” attitude towards life — but it will be helpful to lower your guard during pregnancy.
After you conceive, your body and hormones will start changing. From morning sickness to a belly that’s ready to pop, many stages of pregnancy will be easier with extra help. If your parents, neighbours or friends ask what they can do to help you through your pregnancy, you should be able to honestly tell them what you’d appreciate. Whether it’s bringing you meals, taking you to appointments or helping you clean, every effort will make the pregnancy a more pleasant experience.
If you’re someone that’s used to doing things yourself, try to stop that habit before pregnancy. If you’re cooking and your partner or guests ask what they can do to help, don’t be shy to give them a small task that would make the job easier for you. If you’re used to doing all the work around the house, communicate to your partner or family that you would appreciate their efforts as well. Practicing to be more assertive now will make reaching out easier during pregnancy.
If you’re the type of person to drink three cups of coffee just to get through the day, this may be a difficult habit to give up. Slowly cutting back now will help you fully eliminate or limit your caffeine consumption during pregnancy.
While experts cannot conclude whether caffeine can cause a miscarriage, some studies support the theory. A 2008 study found that women who had more than 200mg of caffeine per day were twice as likely to have a miscarriage compared to those that didn’t consume any caffeine.
While there’s no certain link between coffee and miscarriage or infertility, we think it’s best to play it safe and limit your intake. Also keep in mind that caffeine can be found in other products such as sodas or green tea drinks.
When you’re trying to quit coffee, you’ll probably want to replace the caffeine with another hot drink. Great no-caffeine coffee substitutes include herbal tea, chicory root coffee or chaga tea.
Everyone stresses and that’s normal. But if you’re known as the worrier in your group, it’s time to learn how to relax.
Stress can make it difficult for you to conceive, according to studies. Research has shown that women with high stress stop ovulating, meaning that they can’t conceive. Other studies have shown that stress may be correlated to preterm birth and early miscarriage.
However, we’re not talking about everyday stress. For stress to affect your fertility or pregnancy, it would need to be ongoing, chronic stress. This could include a high-stress job or a dysfunctional family.
To decrease your stress levels, you could exercise or practice yoga or meditation. Alternatively, you can work through this issue with a psychologist.
Tips for Kicking Bad Habits
Breaking a habit can be super difficult — especially if you’ve had that habit for most of your adult life. Here are a few tips to help.
- Get clear on why you should stop. Write down a list of cons associated with your bad habit. What are the potential risks to you and your baby if you continue the habit? How will your life improve if you stop? Paint a picture in your head of how much better you life would be without that habit.
- Substitute the habit. A habit becomes easier to break if you can replace it with something better. For example, replace beer with non-alcoholic beer, or morning coffee with herbal tea.
- Be accountable. Tell someone about your plan to stop a habit and ask him or her to check up on you to see if you’re sticking with it. Having someone to be accountable to will encourage you to keep going.
- Have a plan. Are you going to quit cold turkey or slowly wean yourself off of a substance or habit? Exactly what steps will you take or what techniques will you follow to be successful?
If you’re trying to stop a bad habit before pregnancy, comment below! If you found this post helpful, share it with others.