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likeness of a human uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries

What's happening inside

In this artwork of the uterus, the green central structure is the pear-shaped uterus itself; the red part is the cavity of the uterus. The blue structures to either side are the fallopian tubes, which each have an ovary, seen in pink here, at the end.

Eating well is an essential part of conception and pregnancy so you and your partner should get into good habits now.

Take the time in this first two weeks of your cycle, before you ovulate, to look at what you eat on a daily basis-if you and your partner (see Dads: your diet counts too) make some simple changes to your diet, it might just improve your chances of conception.

Use this opportunity to check your weight ie. your Body Mass Index (BMI) since a BMI of under 19 or over 24 could adversely affect fertility.

If you're overweight, excess fat tissue may affect your metabolism and hormones and you may not ovulate as regularly, or at all. If you need fertility treatment, the chances of success are also lower if you're overweight, because you may respond less well to the drugs that stimulate ovulation. Once you're pregnant, being overweight can also cause an increased risk of complications, decreasing the chance of carrying the pregnancy to full term.

Weighing too little when you're trying to conceive isn't healthy either. Pregnancy takes its toll on a woman's reserves, so a little stored fat is a good thing for mother and baby. Being seriously underweight can affect ovulation and make periods irregular or absent, and conception unlikely.

Your BMI when you conceive is also a good indication of how much weight you should gain once you're pregnant, so it's worth getting it checked at this point.

Focus On... Nutrition

Vital B vitamins

Your diet should include foods containing B vitamins. Take a pregnancy multivitamin if needed.

  • B1 deficiency has been linked to failed ovulation and implantation.
  • B2 deficiency has been linked to infertility and miscarriage.
  • B5 is important for conception and fetal development.
  • B6 is essential for the formation and functioning of sex hormones.
  • B12, with folate, is essential to fetal development.

Get fit and fertile!

Regular exercise can increase your chances of conceiving by allowing your body to work at optimum levels. If you're fit and have a healthy lifestyle, you will reduce the level of toxins in your body and be less stressed, which makes it easier to conceive. Exercise will also regulate your energy and your blood-sugar levels, which assists the body in regulating the hormonal cycle-a key player in the reproductive process. Conversely, overexercising can adversely affect the ovulation process and make conception more difficult.

The guidelines for exercising at this crucial time of conception are to continue weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, running, or aerobics, for 30 minutes five times a week at a moderate intensity. It is important to listen to your body-moderate means exercising within a comfortable range, where the exercise isn't too hard but is pushing your body enough to feel the benefits.

feet walking for prenatal exercise

excerpted from:

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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