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Pregnant Body Should Be a Wonderland

Pregnant Body Should Be a Wonderland


After a short break, writer Maggie Quale is back with her tales of trying to conceive with her partner, Kim. As the process accelerates, Maggie looks to make her body more baby-friendly.

It's official. We've decided to knock me up. We want to have the sperm in hand, so to speak, by my next ovulation window. To get prepared, we are filling out 30 zillion pages of paperwork, narrowing down our donor selections, and the money has finally started to flow from our pockets. Even with all this going on, I've actually got another job right now: turning my body into a temple.

I know we should all treat our bodies like temples, but imagining a baby growing inside is incentive to get healthy now. Although it goes without saying that diet and lifestyle choices are crucial to a healthy pregnancy and baby, it can also affect your ability to conceive. This is what I've discovered.

A recent study found that women who consumed 300 milligrams of caffeine or more a day took longer to conceive than those who ingested less or none. Caffeine constricts blood vessels, thereby slowing blood flow to the uterus and potentially making it harder for an egg to grab hold of the uterine wall. For example, a 16-ounce cup of Starbucks Grande coffee contains 372 milligrams of caffeine, throwing you way over the suggested limit.

Research suggests that the more you drink booze, the less likely you are to conceive. In fact, drinking any alcohol at all can reduce your fertility by up to one half. One study showed that women who drank less than five glasses of wine or beer each week, were twice as likely to get pregnant within six months compared with women who drank more.

Pain relievers that contain ibuprofen, including Advil, Motrin, and Aleve, can interfere with ovulation and make the lining of your uterus less hospitable for the egg to implant. As a result you should only take such pain relievers while you're menstruating if you're trying to conceive.

Exercise can help speed things along. Working up a little sweat is a great way to relieve stress, which can otherwise cause your body to delay ovulation and increases the frequency of uterine contractions. Both of these actions can get in the way of getting pregnant by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

And finally the mother of all paradoxes. It's common knowledge that you increase your chance of conceiving if you orgasm, however, if you use lubricant to do so, then you are actually decreasing your chance of conceiving. This is just madness, I tell you! Alas, three decades of research shows that most vaginal lubricants affect sperm quality and decrease the potential for fertilization and conception. I hear rumors of a specially designed lubricant called Pre-Seed that was created to be "sperm-friendly." We'll test it out and report back next time.

As usual I will endeavor to take all of this in stride. On Friday night you will likely find me sharing a glass of cabernet with Kim. And I guarantee that my daily ritual of two cups of English breakfast tea is here to stay for the duration. But at around 500 bucks a pop, it's important we do what it takes to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant sooner rather than later. Wish us luck.

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Maggie Quale