Beli Prenatals are HSA/FSA eligible!

Do’s and Don’ts For Planning a Pregnancy

When you decide the time is right for a baby, there’s a general rule of thumb. If you’re under 35 and generally healthy, you should give yourself roughly a year to conceive before turning to a fertility specialist. If you’re over 35 and generally healthy, the timeline to successfully conceive narrows to six months before consulting with an expert. Either way, that gives you quite a bit of time to prepare for all the excitement ahead. And by prepare, we mean doing everything in your power to nourish your fertility health. If you’re totally on board but wondering what that actually means, we’re breaking down the do’s and don’ts for planning a pregnancy.

Key Takeaways

  • The preconception window describes the three to six months before conception, a time to nourish your fertility health.
  • Healthy habits and lifestyle adjustments intended to improve your health as a whole can also help support fertility health.

The Oh-So-Important Preconception Window

If you aren’t familiar, the preconception window is the three to six months before you become pregnant, and it’s prime time to take actionable steps that really support your health. Why does this matter? Research is clear that the health of both parents before a pregnancy not only affects a successful conception, but the health of the pregnancy, your baby, and even the next generation (1). Notice we said both parents. We’re focusing on women in this post, but let’s be clear that embracing healthy habits to improve your fertility health isn’t limited to women. Sperm is one half of the baby-making equation, and we cannot stress enough that healthy sperm has an enormous effect on everything to come. For men, fertility health is largely about sperm health, and we cover sperm health parameters in depth all over this blog (check out our posts on at-home sperm testing and whether it’s considered an important part of men’s preconception health, how the right men’s prenatal can help improve low sperm count, and the importance of sperm morphology for more info).

But today, the discussion relates to preconception tips for women. So let’s define female fertility, which we describe as a person’s ability to become pregnant. For a woman, egg quality and hormonal balance, plus a basic understanding of her own cycle and when she’s ovulating, are going to be deciding factors. And no, guzzling cough syrup to “boost your fertility” isn’t the answer, and you haven’t doomed your chances of parenthood because you’ve been on hormonal birth control for the last ten years. The best way to support fertility health, male or female, is actually kind of boring. You know all of the things you should be doing to be a healthy, happy and functioning person? Yeah, that’s good for your fertility health, too. But understanding exactly how exercise, nutrition, stress management, restful sleep and moderation in certain indulgences can help can be pretty darn motivating, so let’s get into these do’s and don'ts.

Do: Make a Plan

When the goal was not getting pregnant, chances are good you had a plan for just that. Now that you’re ready for parenthood, make a plan to make it happen (ahem, we have a three-month plan for trying to conceive in 2024 right over here)! We love this intentional, proactive approach, and we really like this printable plan from the CDD with checklists and tips to walk you through it.

Do: See Your Doctor

Yes, yes, we clarified up top that you should wait six months to a year to see your doctor, but that’s if you’re actively trying to conceive and getting nowhere. Before getting pregnant, it’s a great idea to see your doctor and discuss preconception health. Be upfront about your health history and any medical conditions that could affect a pregnancy. If your cycle is reliably unreliable or you have PCOS symptoms, get ahead of the situation and talk through the best course of action with your doctor. This is also an opportunity to discuss medications you may be taking and even possibly get your nutrients levels tested to ensure  you’re getting sufficient amounts of vitamin D (real talk, most people aren’t).

Do: Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins

The best time to start taking a high-quality prenatal vitamin is before you’re pregnant. When you take a clean prenatal like Beli for Women every day, you help shore up inevitable nutritional gaps (because no diet is perfect). In the event you conceive quickly, your baby will be getting critical nutrients like choline and folic acid before you even realize you’re pregnant, which can help prevent major birth defects.

Don’t: Grab the First Prenatal Vitamin Box You See on the Shelf

There are a ton of prenatal vitamins on the market, and the quality and efficacy and purity range from one brand to the next is truly shocking. It’s a crying shame, but you can’t assume that any old prenatal vitamin will do. While we can’t speak to other brands on the market, we can tell you that Beli for Women is one of just a handful of prenatal vitamins on the market meeting current recommendations from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist and the American Medical Association for choline, folate, iodine, magnesium, and vitamin D (2). And bonus points: a serving size is a very doable three capsules (amen!).

Do: Prioritize Nutrition, Movement and Rest

Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce pregnancy complications, so if you’re under or over where you need to be, commit to eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep (3). Easier said than done, right? You can ask your doctor for specific recommendations, but there really is no magic bullet. Reach for whole foods over processed versions, because what you eat really matters (4). Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water, make time to move 30 minutes every day, and do your best to get at least seven hours of shut-eye every night.

Don’t: Panic about Being Perfect

You’re working toward healthy habits, but beating yourself up because you enjoyed dessert or skipped a workout or stayed up to watch a movie is doing you no favors. First of all, stress itself can torpedo your fertility, so cut yourself a little slack. Do what you can, make healthy choices more often than not, and be proud of yourself for the effort!

Do: Cut Way Back on Alcohol

We cover the topic pretty comprehensively in our alcohol and your fertility post, but suffice to say that moderation is key when you’re trying to conceive. You’ll want to stop completely when you’re pregnant, just to play it safe, so get into the swing of things early and take it easy on the booze.

Don’t: Smoke or Use Recreational Drugs

Still smoking or vaping? It’s way past time to stop, just from a health standpoint, and really important when the plan is a baby (5). These fall into the “toxic substances” category, which pose all sorts of issues for a healthy baby, so if you need resources to quit, jump online or call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Cannabis is legal in certain states, but again, this is something to avoid at this point in time. The same is true for CBD. There just isn’t enough research to confirm its safety during this time, so the wisest course of action is to abstain completely.

The Bottom Line

A baby is a big deal and taking parenthood seriously should ideally begin well before you see those two pink lines (that change everything). You don’t have to be a maniac about it, but being mindful about what you do now in preparation for pregnancy really can make a difference. 

Article Sources
    1. Preconception Health. The Lancet. (2018). https://www.thelancet.com/series/preconception-health
    2. Nutrition During Pregnancy. 2023. https://www.acog.org/womens-health/faqs/nutrition-during-pregnancy
    3. Planning for Pregnancy. (2023). https://www.cdc.gov/preconception/planning.html
    4. Panth, N et al. (2018). The influence of diet on fertility and the implications for public health nutrition in the United States. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6079277/
    5. Pregnant? Don’t Smoke! (2020). https://www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/features/pregnantdontsmoke.html

Additional Resources

Men really do benefit from specialized nutrition in the form of a prenatal vitamin that’s formulated to support sperm health. Here’s what that looks like, and how specific nutrients can impact a man’s fertility health before fatherhood.

Read More

Shilajit is finally getting the credit it’s due, and we’re proud to point out that our proprietary formula was the very first to include this powerful Ayurvedic compound. Here’s why shilajit is rapidly becoming the darling of the male fertility world–and what you’re missing if you’re skipping it.

Read More

Ever wondered why men produce so much darn sperm, especially if only one of them will ultimately fertilize the egg? There are millions of sperm in normal ejaculate because it increases the likelihood that one will reach the egg and seal the deal. It begs the question, what exactly happens on the journey to the egg?

Read More

Optimal nutrition plays a pivotal role in enhancing fertility and supporting a healthy pregnancy. A diet rich in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and healthy fats, lays the foundation for reproductive health.

Read More

Is there anything unsexier than scheduled, pressure-ridden, trying-like-hell-to-conceive sex? But good news. We’ve found handy workarounds and tricks of the trade, so forget the basal temperature chart for a second and read on for four ways to keep things hot when you’re TTC.

Read More

Just as women’s bodies need to be prepared for pregnancy, men’s bodies need to be ready to contribute healthy sperm for conception. Nutrients are the foundation that support the normal structure and function of sperm and men's fertility health. Taking Beli’s male prenatal supplement is a proactive way to strategically fuel your body to optimize fertility contributing to your overall chances of conceiving and supporting a healthy pregnancy.  

Read More

A shot to the balls may be played for laughs on screen, but testicular impacts really aren’t a joke. Worse case scenario, getting hit in the balls can affect fertility thanks to complications like sexual dysfunction, low testosterone and other issues. Let's discuss.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window 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.

Read More

When it comes to becoming parents, good habits really will take you where you want to go. Now, new science is giving us insight into exactly how long it takes to form those good habits. We're breaking down all the ways you can build healthy habits to boost your chances of conception. Think of it as life-hacking, but for grown-ups.

Read More

Somewhere between the “let’s have a baby!” conversation and seeing those two pink lines, you’re going to end up researching prenatal vitamins. And trust us when we say you’re going to have a ton of options to wade through. Consider this your handy guide to the best prenatal vitamins for men and women in 2024.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re working hard to raise awareness of the important role men play in the baby-making equation, which brings us to today’s topic of men’s preconception health and specifically, sperm health. Knowing what you’re working with can save you a lot of time, but is at-home sperm testing considered an important part of men’s preconception health? Let’s break it down.

Read More

Most births occur between June and early November. Count back nine months, and you’ll see that places most conceptions in the fall and winter. So what’s the deal? Is it the cold weather, all the festivities, or something else driving us between the sheets? That ugly sweater is pretty cute, but you can chalk this up to reproductive seasonality. Here’s what that means, why it matters, and what to do to use it to your advantage.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

Heard the one about ice baths and testosterone? Spoiler: there's little to no research behind that idea. Here’s what to know about cold plunges and male fertility, according to the research, plus where you should really focus your efforts if you’re trying to improve sperm health.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

Jimmy Fallon. Hugh Jackman. Mark Zuckerberg. Keith Urban. Gordon Ramsey. Kyle Busch. Besides immediate name recognition, what else do these men have in common? They’ve all struggled with infertility issues—and it’s something they’re all talking about publicly. Here's why that matters.

Read More

There’s a persistent misconception that a woman’s egg quality is largely untouchable—you get what you get, and the rest is out of your hands. But for women actively planning on becoming mothers, there are a handful of best practices that can go a very long way. So, can you improve egg quality in 90 days?

Read More

Can weight loss improve your fertility? That depends on what you read. In today’s post, we’re running through all the latest data on weight loss and fertility, and clarifying why the focus should be less on pounds lost and more on prioritizing habits that support your health as a whole.

Read More

Perimenopause is a transitional time that’s pretty wild in its own right, with hormonal changes similar to a roller coaster and major changes to your cycle. Balanced hormones are, of course, key to successfully becoming pregnant and it’s certainly reasonable to wonder whether it’s possible to get pregnant during perimenopause. The short answer is oh yes. 

Read More

While it’s true that popular hair loss meds work minor miracles on that receding hairline and back-of-the-head bald patch, it’s also true that it can come with side effects—some of them sexual. So, what does that mean in terms of male fertility? Here’s what couples should understand about the effects of popular hair-loss medications on sperm health.

Read More

A few years ago, the keto diet was all the rage—a high-fat, low-carb way to shed pounds quickly. While it’s lost a bit of its luster, as all diet trends do, interest in the keto diet remains. Specifically, those hoping to become parents wonder whether following this way of eating could support fertility. Is a diet high in fat and low in carbs the answer? It’s possible. Here’s what to know about the keto diet and whether it might help support fertility.

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Here at Beli, we’re staunch advocates of supporting men's fertility health in anticipation of fatherhood. In fact, our men’s prenatal vitamin, Beli Vitality for Men, is actually our flagship product. Today, we’re diving into the obvious and unexpected benefits of prenatal vitamins for men, starting with what actually happens when you start taking them.

Read More

Forbes Health recently reviewed our men's prenatal vitamins and we love author Leigh Weingus' take: "Beli Men Vitality Multivitamins first caught my eye because while I often see supplements that claim to improve fertility outcomes for women, I rarely see the same thing for men." We hear you, Leigh! Check out the full review here and read on for some highlights.

Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

We’re back with our second post in our “It Starts With The Sperm” mini series on the key roles sperm plays in conception, pregnancy and baby, and this time, we’re talking DNA. When it comes to male fertility, it’s not enough to have a high sperm count and top marks for motility and morphology. Without low levels of DNA fragmentation, a man’s fertility—along with his ability to successfully conceive with a partner—is affected.

Read More

With the New Year upon us, there are all kinds of articles and videos making the rounds with predictions of the Zodiac signs most likely to get pregnant in 2024. But here at Beli, we take a much more scientific approach to conception. Here are the top eight things people will do to get pregnant in 2024.

Read More

Research shows that the overall health of both biological parents during the preconception window 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.

Read More

There’s a certain magic to the holiday season, whether you’re all-in on the decorations and the family time or a self-proclaimed Scrooge from mid-November to the New Year. But when you’re trying to conceive, it can be a challenging time.  We’re sharing five tips for managing the holidays when you’re trying to conceive.

Read More

Everyone knows that alcohol and pregnancy don’t mix. But what about before you’re pregnant, during the trying-to-conceive stage? There’s no evidence that the occasional drink—i.e. one or two a week—is going to torpedo your chances of parenthood. But it is true that the more you drink, the greater the likelihood it will have an effect on your health. Here’s what the research says about alcohol and your fertility.

Read More

You’re clear on the mechanics of making a baby, but how much do you really know about conception and fertility? There are a lot of wild stories, downright falsehoods and notions that are actually rooted in a kernel of truth out there. In the interest of sticking to the facts, we’re debunking 15 of the most common myths about conception and fertility.

Read More

When you’re knocking boots in an effort to get knocked up, timing is everything. Your best chance of conceiving is during the most fertile time of your menstrual cycle—when you ovulate. The key is figuring out exactly when that happens. Fortunately, you have a few ways of detecting ovulation. Here’s what to know about understanding ovulation and timing sex for pregnancy.

Read More

You have big plans for parenthood in 2024, which means this is the time to start laying the groundwork for everything to come. While so much of conception is beyond our control, there are actionable steps you and your partner can take right now to support and nourish your fertility.

Read More

Welcome to our little corner of common fertility and pregnancy terms! We know that jargon can be overwhelming, so consider this your very own baby-making dictionary. Here, confusing medical terms transform into easy-to-understand facts that help you confidently navigate your family planning journey. 

Read More

Is there anything worse than the two-week wait? All the listicles out there sensibly advise keeping busy and journaling and talking it out, but we’re sharing more specific recommendations collected from the Beli community. Read on for seven tips for surviving the two-week wait without losing your mind.

Read More

As a society, we’re an impatient bunch, and that applies to pregnancy, too. The second you decide it’s time to try for a baby, you’re ready to see those two pink lines. If you’ve recently tossed the birth control and you’re wondering how long it should take to get pregnant, here's what to know.

Read More

There’s a persistent misconception that a woman’s egg quality is largely untouchable—you get what you get, and the rest is out of your hands. But for women actively planning on becoming mothers, there are a handful of best practices that can go a very long way. So, can you improve egg quality in 90 days?

Read More

Can weight loss improve your fertility? That depends on what you read. In today’s post, we’re running through all the latest data on weight loss and fertility, and clarifying why the focus should be less on pounds lost and more on prioritizing habits that support your health as a whole.

Read More

Perimenopause is a transitional time that’s pretty wild in its own right, with hormonal changes similar to a roller coaster and major changes to your cycle. Balanced hormones are, of course, key to successfully becoming pregnant and it’s certainly reasonable to wonder whether it’s possible to get pregnant during perimenopause. The short answer is oh yes. 

Read More

A few years ago, the keto diet was all the rage—a high-fat, low-carb way to shed pounds quickly. While it’s lost a bit of its luster, as all diet trends do, interest in the keto diet remains. Specifically, those hoping to become parents wonder whether following this way of eating could support fertility. Is a diet high in fat and low in carbs the answer? It’s possible. Here’s what to know about the keto diet and whether it might help support fertility.

Read More

When you’re pregnant, of course, you’re told to limit your caffeine consumption. But what about when you’re trying to conceive? Can too much caffeine affect your chances of conception as a couple? It's a good idea to cut back—which means you need to be really clear about sneaky sources of caffeine in your diet.

Read More

Many new mothers are seriously drained. The popular term is postnatal depletion, the combination of hormonal, physical and emotional depletion that’s incredibly common for women following the birth of their babies.  Here’s what to understand about postnatal depletion and its effects on breastfeeding + 4 easy tips to help avoid postnatal depletion.

Read More

Turns out, you really can have too much of a good thing, and nutrient overload during pregnancy is a prime example—particularly if you add a daily prenatal vitamin to the supplements you’re already taking. Here’s why excess nutrients are problematic during pregnancy, and what you can do to keep things balanced.

Read More

The heat and humidity on these endless summer days can be hard to beat, and believe us when we say it’s even harder when you’re pregnant. The good news—you can do this! And we can help with these four not-so-obvious tips to beat the summer heat during pregnancy.

Read More

Everyone responds to supplementation (not to mention pregnancy!) differently, which is one reason that how you feel isn’t a clue into whether or not your prenatal vitamin is actually working. Instead, you need to be confident about the prenatal vitamin itself, and there are a few things you’ll want to look for.

Read More

Up to 90% of pregnant women will end up with stretch marks—call it a maternity souvenir. That’s why the internet is full of creams and lotions and potions that promise to prevent these completely harmless but largely undesirable scars. By and large, stretch mark prevention products are largely anecdotal (and definitely unproven). But what about collagen?

Read More