This post is sponsored by BestCholine, but all thoughts and experiences are my own!
Infertility is a funny thing where you know you’re trying to conceive (TTC) but you really have no idea if it could happen tomorrow if it’s going to be a few years. I’ve learned a lot about spending years in that TTC bracket, and how important it is to take health and preparation seriously, even if it’s something you’ll be taking seriously for an extended period of time!
I had an experience I’ll never forget over a decade ago while I was in the first moment of trying to conceive of my life. At the time, I was married to my ex-husband, and we were starting the baby process discovering many of my issues (which I count as a blessing now, for the record). We had a chance to stop in Las Vegas for the night while we headed to see family for the holidays, and decided to spend a night seeing Bodies, the Exhibition. Because it’s a stationary exhibit there, they have a larger exhibit and things I have never seen in a traveling exhibit. I walked into the fetal development area and had a deeply emotional experience seeing so many levels of fetal development with notes on babies that hadn’t made it due to lack of specific nutrients. Boy did that have an effect on me! I vowed that for the rest of my life if conceiving was even in the realm of possibility, I would be treating my body differently and focusing on specific nutritional and health needs. Here are some of my resolutions that day:
- Make a prenatal vitamin a priority! Even in the seasons of no baby, I still take one daily trying my best to not miss days! I’ll never forget the impact a lack of folic acid had on the development of a baby in the womb- or vitamins B12 and a myriad of others. If you’re TTC of know it could happen, make a prenatal vitamin a part of your life!
- Add Choline to vitamin regiment. Choline is the essential nutrient responsible for brain development during pregnancy. Choline is just as important as folic acid. Choline prevents neural tube defects, heart defects, and cleft palate. Choline develops the entire brain and plays a special role in the development of the hippocampus which is responsible for memory and emotional regulation. Women who are choline-deficient are 4x more likely to have a child with a neural tube defect- that’s pretty amazing that one nutrient has that kind of impact on the baby! Check out more here. And for more interesting studies on impacts of child growth benefits, studies on children with ADHD who use choline, and breast cancer reduction studies, click each of the respective links to see how amazing choline is!
- Make fitness a priority. Weight management in TTC is something every doctor has mentioned, and as pregnancy hits and you often have to take it a little easier, there’s nothing like starting at a high fitness level and being able to maintain a moderate level throughout your entire pregnancy. Find something you love, stick to it, and try to be in the best shape you can be in before you get that positive test.
- Watch your diet! I know so many friends who have had to practice a certain diet while TTC, and I know so many who have had to modify when they became pregnant. I had gestational diabetes and it threw me for a shock! I learned a lot about low carb diets, eating more balanced, and eating foods I’d never really paid attention to before. I’m so glad that now that we’re on round two, I can plan lower carb meals and be ready with good health practices before there is a baby, and before that phase hits me again.
- Rest while you can. I had so many people tell me this, but I couldn’t believe how much I woke up just to use the bathroom the first trimester. Aches and pains came with general discomfort at the end of pregnancy- in my opinion, it’s nature’s way of making you excited to deliver. Of course, there’s also the constant wake up calls after the baby comes too. I’m a firm believer in building up the sleep bank and taking care of yourself so your health is in top shape while TTC so your body is all the more prepared for the harder times ahead.
- Stress less! I’m pretty open that we conceived our son over the holidays when my mind was on the fun and holiday activities instead of what was going on with my body. My infertility doctor told me they have the highest conception rate over the holiday season for just that reason- people relax! It’s about the hardest thing to do, but do whatever you can to relax, to enjoy the moment your in, and to trust it will happen in the right timing. Plus, stress isn’t a good thing for baby or for mom once you’ve achieved pregnancy.
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