Regardless of if you’re trying to prevent, conceive, or stay in best health during pregnancy, the drug store can be a daunting destination. With every new product and the claim that supports it, it’s a wonder we know where to begin at all. If you find yourself standing in the pregnancy aisle completely overwhelmed, have no fear. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, and board-certified gynecologist has prepared eight straightforward and helpful tips to help you maneuver around the pharmacy with know-how and ease. Take a look at her guide, below, for everything you need to know when trying to conceive and beyond.
Get essential nutrients to prepare for TTC with a folic acid multivitamin
If you’re even thinking about trying to conceive, make sure you’re taking a vitamin with folic acid. This B-vitamin helps prevent some serious birth defects.
Prepare for TTC sex by purchasing a fertility-friendly lubricant
Only a handful of lubricants are fertility-friendly, meaning they won’t kill sperm. Pick up a fertility-friendly, pH-balanced lubricant like Pre-Seed to support sperm on their journey.
Target your most fertile days with an ovulation test kit
To pinpoint your six-day fertile window, also known as the optimal days for sex, determine your ovulation date using an ovulation test like the one from First Response. The six-day window is defined as the four days leading up to your ovulation date and the 24 hours following. This is because sperm can live in the body for up to five days, and in general, the egg is only available for fertilization for 12-24 hours after ovulation. Conception is more likely if the sperm is inside the body, waiting on the egg.
Find out if you’re pregnant with a pregnancy test kit
If you’ve been trying to conceive or you had unprotected sex, you can take a pregnancy test a week to 10 days after sex. First Response Early Result Test will turn positive six days before your missed period, or a bit over a week after conception.
Get essential nutrients during and after pregnancy with a pre- and post-natal multivitamin
When pregnant or nursing, it’s important to continue taking folic acid in addition to getting more essential nutrients and calcium. Some vitamins contain iron, which can be tough for some women to digest, and may cause constipation. If you’re not anemic, try an iron-free vitamin like the First Response Prenatal and Postnatal Gummy.
Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Water plays an important role in the healthy development of your baby helping to form the placenta, which is what the little one relies on to receive nutrients during pregnancy. Later, water is used to form the amniotic sac. Dehydration during pregnancy can lead to serious problems for the baby caused by pregnancy complications including: neural tube defects, low amniotic fluid, inadequate breast milk production, and even premature labor. A very serious, often uncomfortable symptom of dehydration is overheating. A rise in core temperature can cause true birth defects, which is why we don’t want our pregnant ladies running marathons. A clear urine color, as opposed to dark yellow, is a sign of adequate water intake that is helping to regulate body heat.
Stay fresh and dry with pads
Pregnancy can put major pressure on your bladder, so it’s normal to experience a bit of urine when sneezing, laughing, or coughing. Pads can come in handy for this, as well as for any excess discharge a woman experiences during pregnancy. Also, remember those kegel exercises your doctor advised you to do? Now, is a great time to get started on strengthening the pelvic floor for childbirth.
Use reliable, estrogen-free contraception following childbirth
Many of the same birth control methods that you used before TTC are still able to be used after. The most important thing to look for is a progesterone-only, estrogen-free option while breast feeding, as estrogen interferes with breast milk production. Condoms and diaphragms are fine barrier methods to use postpartum and are readily available. If you’re using a diaphragm, we recommend refitting it at the postpartum checkup to ensure the size has not changed. Many women appreciate the low-maintenance effect of using an IUD or implant, and it is possible to insert an IUD following delivery. So, be sure to discuss that with your physician or midwife if that’s of interest. Whatever you do though, it is important to be on some form of reliable contraception to ensure your body has time to heal after birth.
For more on TTC from Mary Jane Minkin, MD, be sure to check out 10 Misconceptions About Trying To Conceive—Debunked.
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