Here are ten things I recommend doing when you are thinking about getting pregnant:
1. If possible, don't wait.
If you don't have predictable periods, seek help immediately. If you are getting older and don't get pregnant right away, seek expert help as soon as you can.
2. Stay healthy and keep your weight within a normal range.
Try your best to maintain a normal weight. Also, go easy with caffeine. While trying to conceive, it is probably okay to have one cup of coffee a day. But quit once you become pregnant. If you smoke, quit right away. It's bad for your eggs, as well as your overall health. Also, cut down on alcohol.
3. Take your vitamins.
Mom was right -- vitamins are important, especially vitamin D, which may help with conception. Adequate iron and calcium are also important for maintaining a healthy pregnancy.
4. Track your menstrual period with an app.
One such free app is EFRAC's Menstruation and Ovulation Calendar -- Menstrual Period Calculator and Tracker.
5. Use ovulation predictor kits.
They are the best method for timing BMS (baby-making sex). At Pacific Fertility Center, we recommend the Clearblue Easy Fertility Monitor Test Sticks.
6. Get plenty of rest and exercise moderately.
According to one study, too much exercise may be harmful to conception, especially if you're just starting a new regimen. This is more than four hours of aerobic exercise each week.
7. Consider banking frozen eggs, even if you're single.
In recent years, freezing unfertilized eggs has become a viable option. If you are getting into your late 30's and there is no potential father in sight, consider this option. (Note: The success rate of pregnancy with this method drops off sharply after age 35.)
8. Don't let celebrities mislead you.
Celebrities having babies later in life may be using donor eggs.
9. Listen to your body's signals.
Excessive menstrual bleeding, vaginal discharge or pelvic pain all require medical attention. The same goes for men: Don't ignore any pelvic pain, lesions or erectile dysfunction. These may have an impact beyond an unsatisfactory sex life.
10. Use reliable sites on the Internet.
If you rely on the Web for health information, go to legitimate sites like those of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (asrm.org) or American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (acog.org).