Pregnancy : Preparing for Pregnancy

Adrienne Lawrence, The Frederick News-Post, Md.

Prepping one's body for pregnancy may entail changing one's diet, habits or spiritual mindset.

Jasmine Sneed, owner of Jasmine Sneed LLC, and her husband have a 7-year-old child and weren't sure if they would have a second.

"I didn't know if I wanted to add the complication of a newborn," said Sneed, who lives in Frederick. "It was a lot of prayer (that got me ready for a baby), I prepared spiritually." Now that she is ready, Sneed is happily pregnant and expecting their second child in January.

Dr. Kathleen Moe, of Frederick, and her husband are still thinking about having a second child. Just in case they do, she's modified her diet and daily habits.

"I keep healthy, I exercise regularly, cut down my caffeine intake -- I used to have an espresso a day in my latte and that's since gone away," she said. "(I also eat) a well-balanced diet.

"Putting these lifestyle modifications into play ... can be beneficial," Moe said. She is a dermatologist and founding partner of Frederick Dermatology Associates. Dr. Melissa Esposito, reproductive endocrinologist with Shady Grove Fertility Center in Frederick, agrees -- diet, exercise and caffeine may have an affect on one's ability to conceive.

Weight can also be a factor. Some Shady Grove patients have needed to lose weight before beginning treatment. Others may be smokers and smokers have a more difficult time conceiving, Esposito said.

Moe also takes prenatal vitamins daily. The vitamins have folic acid and docosahexaenoic acid, also known as DHA. DHA plays a crucial role in the growth and development of the central nervous system as well as visual functioning in infants, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center's website. DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid found in cold water fatty fish and fish oil supplements.

By talking with her doctor, Moe has found the best time of the month to conceive. "When you have regular (menstrual) cycles, you usually ovulate 14 days before your menses. For most people who have 28-day cycles, that puts you right in the middle of the month," she said.

Having sex every day might not be the best idea for couples trying to conceive. "From what I've read, sperm can live inside you for about five days and you don't try to do it every single day because that (increases) the possibility of the sperm count going down," Moe said. "You try and give the guy a break every other day."

Men may also need to change their style of underwear. "You can reduce your sperm count if (your underwear holds) your testicles too close to your body," Moe said. "It warms the temperature of the sperm and kills them. There's a reason you have testicles outside your body."

Stress can also play a factor, too. "Try reducing stress and concentrating on your partner and how much you love him, instead of making it a chore, is always a good thing," Moe said. For couples who are younger than 35 and have been trying to conceive for a year or longer, it may be a good idea to visit with one's doctor or see a specialist. For couples who are older than 35, it may be a good idea to seek help after six months, Esposito said.

Moe and her husband have a 3-year-old daughter, Caroline. "I'm from a family of four and I can never imagine just having one child," she said. "Whether it's two or three, that's yet to be determined, but we'll (have) one child at a time."

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Copyright © 2011, The Frederick News-Post, Md.

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