Family planning is an important part of a couple's relationship. And if you know you want to have a child, you may have certain reasons to time when your baby arrives. Whether it's work or personal obligations or a desire to have a certain star sign, you can plan, but ultimately, it's out of your hands. Fortunately, there are some things you can do before your start trying to conceive that can help prepare your mind and your body for pregnancy. If you want a February baby, you will want to start pre-planning way before late spring and early summer. Ideally, though, for a February baby, you will need to conceive in May or June.
Here is everything you need to know about getting prepared and planning when you should conceive.
Before You Get Pregnant
When you are thinking of having a baby, there are a few things that you can do to ensure you are physically and emotionally ready.
Talk to Your Partner
The first thing you need to do is talk to your partner and make sure you have an understanding of how you each envision raising the child. Discuss core values like discipline, education, and lifestyle to ensure you are on the same page about those important topics. This conversation is much more pleasant and productive when done before you get pregnant. After you and your partner have determined how you want to raise a child and looked at the key details of childcare, work, and family aspects, it is time to go to the next step.
Talk to Your Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor and discuss your plans for conceiving. Depending on your individual circumstances, they may suggest blood tests to check for overall health. A simple set of blood tests can determine the next steps. In some cases, there are underlying conditions that can cause miscarriages, like thyroid issues that a woman may not even know she has.
It is common for women to be vitamin deficient, so your doctor will be able to gauge if you need to take any vitamins to prepare your body. One essential vitamin that you need to take is folic acid. According to WebMD, women planning on becoming pregnant should be taking 400 milligrams of folic acid daily. Folic acid is important in preventing birth defects, and any woman considering getting pregnant should begin taking it. The CDC recommends all women of childbearing age take it because birth defects happen in the first few weeks of pregnancy before many women even know they are pregnant.
There are many variables, including age, genetics, and lifestyle, and your doctor will be able to guide you to any other tests you need.
Now it's time to clean up your diet. Make a plan to get plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and protein into your diet. Eliminate junk food and fast food and eat as clean as possible. Consuming a healthy diet keeps your mind and body in optimal health.
Now is the time to eliminate any substances from your life. Eliminate or reduce alcohol and completely eliminate smoking and vaping.
If your guilty pleasure is your morning cup of java, then you need to discuss that with your doctor. There are some who argue that pregnant women should not consume any form of caffeine, and other research permits caffeine up to 200 milligrams a day which is one cup of coffee. Your doctor can advise on coffee consumption.
Maintaining a healthy weight benefits everyone, and if you want to conceive, it is essential. Carrying too much weight or too little weight can adversely affect your fertility. Luckily, weight is one thing on the fertility journey that you can completely control. If you need to lose or gain weight, talk to your doctor about the best way for you to maintain a healthy weight through lifestyle changes. Sometimes, a simple act like walking every day or cutting out sugary foods and soda can make a huge difference.
How to Time Pregnancy
When you are ready to start trying, you need to get to know your cycle. You can use fertility apps or fertility charts to learn your cycle. Most women's cycles are between 26 to 31 days, but some women have irregular periods. Basically, you will want to know everything about your cycle, from how long they last to how many days between cycles to menstrual pain to how much bleeding. It is important to learn what is normal for your body so you can figure out when you ovulate. There is a six-day window when a woman can get pregnant—the days leading up to ovulation and within 24 hours of ovulation. Generally, most women ovulate in the middle of their cycle, but every woman is different, so it's important to know the signs of ovulation.
Signs of Ovulation
- Body temperature
- Cervical discharge the consistency of egg whites
- Breast tenderness
- Increased sex drive
- Headaches or nausea
Timing intercourse for those key days will increase your chances of getting pregnant. Once you are familiar with your cycle, you will have an easier time planning your February baby. Ideally, for a February baby, you will need to conceive in May or June. You can consult a reverse due date calculator to help you plan.
After conception, there is a two-week waiting period before you can actually take a pregnancy test. There are many ideas associated with creating a sticky embryo, but there is no scientific research to back them up, from putting your legs up the wall after intercourse to eating pineapple to drinking certain teas. Always check with your doctor before trying any home remedies or medical ideas from the internet.
Signs of Implantation
Many women find the two-week wait unbearable, and the anticipation is high; many women are anxious to have their baby and start watching child development milestones. But patience is key; the best thing a woman can do is relax and do things to keep her mind occupied.
Some women experience implantation spotting or other signs of implantation. When the egg is fertilized, about 15-25% of women will have implantation bleeding or other signs of implantation about one or two weeks post-fertilization. Unfortunately, it coincides with when an expected period will arrive.
The difference between implantation bleeding and period bleeding is implantation bleeding is usually light brown or pinkish and only lasts a day or two, with light cramping. In contrast, a regular cycle will have a heavy bright red flow, cramps, and PMS and will last for four to seven days.
Signs of Pregnancy
Every woman will experience pregnancy differently, but there are some common signs that indicate you are pregnant before you even take a test.
- Sore breasts
- Nausea and vomiting
- Increased urination
- Food aversions
When you get that positive pregnancy test, make an appointment with your doctor to check that the pregnancy is viable and not ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy is when the embryo implants outside the uterus, and according to The American Family Physician, it happens to 19.7 out of 1,000 pregnancies in the U.S.
If you have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant, then it may be time to see a fertility doctor. The Cleveland Clinic explains that infertility affects 15% of couples. They advise that women of childbearing age should try for a year before seeking medical help. And women over 35 should try for six months before seeking assistance.
There are many factors that come into play when trying to conceive. Some women conceive right away, and for others, it takes more time. One important factor that is often overlooked in the desire to get pregnant is stress. When a couple stresses over every part of the process, it can become an exhausting time. It can feel overwhelming when a woman wants to conceive and is unable to right away, leading to anxiety and depression, which exacerbates the situation. Experts advise finding healthy coping mechanisms to deal with the stress of trying to conceive; after all, a relaxed mama is a healthy mama.