If 2022 is the year you’re hoping to become a parent, well, all the more reason to look forward to this shiny new year. And while every journey to parenthood is different, a little self-care can go a long way for those taking a planned “let’s make a baby” approach. Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window — the three to six months before a baby is conceived — plays a huge role in everything from conception to pregnancy health to the lifetime health of their baby. Luckily, there are simple steps you can both take to improve your health together. Here are five ways to get your body ready for a baby in 2022.
- The health of both biological parents directly affects pregnancy outcomes and the lifelong health of their children.
- Parents-to-be can improve their health during the preconception window with specialized nutrition, a better diet, regular exercise, minimized stress, and by avoiding environmental toxins.
- A high-quality prenatal vitamin can deliver nutrients shown to drive processes of conception in both men and women.
Improve Your Diet
When it comes to fertility, a lot is outside our control. But nutrition can absolutely be managed, and it plays a direct role in fertility outcomes for men and women. A colorful, whole-foods diet can work wonders — helping create the healthiest possible sperm, preserving egg quality, and reducing the length of time it takes to conceive. Eat a varied diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains and high-quality protein, and limit processed meats, trans fats and soy products because of their potentially damaging effects. Pro tip — shop the perimeter of the grocery store to avoid a lot of junk!
Fill Nutritional Gaps with High-Quality Prenatal Vitamins for Him & Her
Everyone knows that women need a prenatal vitamin during pregnancy. But hopeful mothers will also benefit from the specialized nutrition of a good prenatal before conception — and so will dads-to-be. Surprised? Don’t be! Prenatal vitamins are a huge part of preconception care, delivering a steady supply of the nutrients shown to support processes that drive conception in both women and men.
Many experts recommend beginning prenatal vitamins at least three months before you hope to conceive, and that’s no coincidence. While women are born with all the eggs they’ll ever have, each one will need roughly three months to be ready for fertilization. Meanwhile, men are busy knocking out millions of sperm every day, but sperm maturation also takes around three months. In both cases, the right nutrients in the right amounts are absolutely critical for egg quality and sperm parameters like motility, morphology, and other factors.
Enter a really great prenatal vitamin — one that’s formulated with specialized nutrition to support the respective needs of men and women. We designed Beli for Men and Beli for Women to be the best possible fuel for fertility and family. Our women’s formula is one of just a few prenatals on the market meeting recommended levels of key nutrients shown to help promote hormonal balance and protect healthy egg maturation, among other benefits. Our men’s formula contains nutrients shown by science to help increase sperm count, improve sperm motility and morphology, and counteract DNA damage, so you can pass on the strongest legacy possible.
Commit to Regular Exercise
There’s plenty of evidence that exercise helps almost every measure of health, and fertility health is no exception. But you don’t have to lace up your shoes for marathon training if that’s not your thing. As little as 30 minutes of cardio three times a week can help improve sperm count and quality for men, while also supporting hormonal balance and regular ovulation for women.
Preconception is a precious time where you set the tone for your future family culture. Why not explore a few ways to get active together? Commit to walking around the block each evening, take up pickleball, or explore a new trail. However you do it, you’ll have more fun the more you move — and you’ll see fertility benefits, too.
Address Your Stress
Fact: stress hurts your chances of getting pregnant. Researchers debate the reasons — it could be that stress itself directly affects fertility, or it could be that coping with stress drives us toward unhealthy behaviors. Either way, future parents can manage stress by prioritizing sleep, creating healthy boundaries around work obligations, and making time to enjoy favorite activities. Easier said than done, but every little bit helps.
Be Aware of Environmental Toxins
You know that what you put in your body matters. That’s why you’re both planning to take your fertility health into your own hands with the best prenatal multivitamins, a varied, whole-foods diet, regular exercise, and getting a hold on stress. But most folks don’t think about the stuff that can sneak in and wreak havoc on your reproductive system — environmental toxins.
For women, exposure to toxic chemicals can cause eggs to age faster, increase the risk of miscarriage, and slow down fetal growth. For men, too much toxic exposure can cause low sperm count and poor sperm quality, making it harder to become a dad. Yikes!
Luckily, your body has an amazing ability to heal. Whenever possible, do your research. Get picky about using clean vitamins, beauty and cleaning products, and wear protective equipment when you’re not sure about the safety of a product you’re using at home or at work.
The Bottom Line
Baby-making takes two, and the health of both parents plays a bigger role than you’d think. If a baby is the plan for 2022, taking steps now to improve your health as a couple can help build your bond and boost your chances of a healthy conception, pregnancy, and baby. It’s an exciting time, and we wish you nothing but success on your journey to parenthood!