So you have decided that you want to have a baby; maybe you just got married or you want another kid or you have been trying for a while with no success. Whatever the reason, you might have already realized that there is a little more to getting pregnant than having sex.

It is important to prepare your body and mind for pregnancy for the following reasons:

– It improves your chances of getting pregnant

– It also improves your chances of achieving a successful pregnancy Ie carrying a healthy baby to full-term.

– Pregnancy puts a strain on the body and mind, preparation helps you to have an easier and fulfilling pregnancy

– The health of your baby during pregnancy and through life is greatly determined by your health before and during pregnancy.

Gone are those 'dark' days were it assumed that once you have sex, pregnancy is automatic and you can eat or do anything before and during pregnancy without affecting you or your baby. We live in a more enlightened word where the results of poor lifestyle habits before and during pregnancy are discovered daily.

So how can you ensure that you maximize your chances of a healthy conception and pregnancy? There are a few things you can do. I'll group them into 6 topics:

– Proper nutrition and where necessary a detox program.

– Exercise and relaxation regime

– Knowing and understanding your cycle

– Medical fitness

– Financial and economic understanding

– Social and support network

I'll be addressing these topics over the next few weeks because they can not fit into one article. Most, if not all these topics will be familiar to you but each one has its own role to play in preparing you to be not only a mum (but a happy mum). Before you start to feel overwhelmed, you'll find out as we go along that it is the understanding of these issues that is important. Actual implementation is simple and easy to fit into your pre-conception plan.

So Let's Talk About Proper Nutrition

There is more to proper nutrition than weight; although it is very important to realize that if a woman is overweight or underweight, her fertility might be impaired. When you are overweight, the fat cells produce and release high levels of oestrogen which impede the production of a very important hormone called the follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). FSH is required for ovulation (the release of the egg for fertilization). When no egg is released, fertilization can not occur and there's no baby. When you are underweight, the opposite happens, the body produces less hormones than is needed and again ovulation is affected.

In order to know if you are overweight, underweight or normal weight, please calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI). You can do this by dividing your weight by your height squared.

So if you weigh 63kg and are 1.57 meters tall, your BMI is 63 divided by 1.57x 1.57 = 25.56

BMI is classified as follows:

Less than 19 = underweight.

19 -24 = normal weight

25 – 29 = overweight

30 – 39 = obese

Whether you have to gain or lose some weight depends on the results of your own BMI calculation. In the above example, the person is slightly overweight.

If you are underweight, now is not the time to indulge in fatty and sugary foods to gain weight nor is it a time to go on a crash diet to lose weight. Everyone is still required to maintain a healthy and balanced diet to remain in good health and facilitate conception.

I encourage you to determine your BMI. In my next article, I'll go into more details on how to achieve or maintain the best weight for conception. I'll also describe the super foods to enhance fertility. Until then, take care and stay healthy.