Starting a Family
Starting a family can be an exciting time for mommy and daddy to be as well as the entire family. It's the next big step and chapter in their lives. For me, I knew I always wanted a family one day and things just seem to fall into place for us. These are some of the things I did to to help with conception.
Prenatal Vitamins + Folic Acid
It's recommended that planning moms should start a prenatal regimen that contains at least 400mcg of folic acid at least 1 month before conceiving. This is because folic acid plays an important role in the development of the neural tube of the spine and brain. Neural tube defects can occur early on, well before a planning mom knows she's even pregnant. Majority of over-the-counter (OTC) prenatal vitamins contain at least 800mcg of folic acid. Prescription strength prenatal vitamins contain at least 1mg of folic acid. It may be overwhelming with the wide array of prenatal vitamins to select from and deciding which is the right one for you. A major difference you may notice when selecting a prenatal vitamin is one that contains DHA and one without. DHA is the healthy omega-3 fatty acids found in many fish that may help aid in baby's brain development. It's recommended to get 2 to 3 (8-12 ounce) servings of pregnancy-safe fatty fish per week. If you can't get enough naturally in your diet, perhaps the prenatal + DHA may be preferred. Like always, consult your physician before starting or changing your medication regimens.
* I personally chose Nature Made Prenatal + DHA. This is because I didn't want to take 2 separate tablets for the multivitamin and one for the DHA. It has a soft gel coating and is about an inch long. Lately my gag reflexes make me choke a little if I don't drink enough water with it but so far smooth sailing and no nausea from the vitamin itself. I wanted to make sure that when the time came, I had enough vitamins and nutrients to be able to support mine and baby's bodily functions.
Fertility phone apps
From the recommendation of friends, I began using different apps to help track my fertility. I can honestly say I really loved using Ovia Fertility. (there's also Ovia Pregnancy too! which I used daily). I used Ovia and Clue to track my period and fertility to help me determine my peak fertile time for conception. Both apps calculate when your next expected period should be and the fertility window based on the length of cycle and when your last menstrual period was. What I found was that there must be two or more recordings of your menstrual cycle for it to calculate accurately your expected fertility window. I only had 2 recorded cycles when I started so I had to adjust my cycle length manually until it calibrated for me. There was only a 1 to 2 day difference discrepancy between the two apps. Both apps are FREE which is a plus! I found a few other apps start off 'free' but limit you to a few months before having to pay to unlock for full access (therefore no review on those as these are much better).
Ovia has so much more to offer! It gives you your fertility score, what cycle day you are in, number of days until your fertile window and number of days until pregnancy test. You can follow along the calendar or track your data using the graph. Like Clue, you can also log your period, mood, symptoms, and intercourse. What Ovia had over Clue that you can also log your cervical fluid texture, basal temperature, cervical position, how it feels and if its open or closed. What does that mean and why is it important? Cervical fluid and basal temperature can help you determine what phase you may be in and the optimal environmental for sperm to travel to your egg. The position, feel and openness of your cervix also determines susceptible entry for the sperm. Ovia provides daily tips from facts to tidbits and articles on different subjects as well. I find it super user friendly and very informative, and therefor it's my top choice. The best part is that it's FREE with no limitations.
Clue uses both a traditional calendar and circular cycle for you to track your period and fertility. The calendar highlights when your next expected period is and the fertility window including expected peak day aka ovulation. Other data points that you can manually enter include menstrual flow, symptoms, mood, sleep, sex, and energy.