There are a lot of factors that can affect your fertility. It's important to know what to do before you get pregnant.
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Juli Auclair: We know her from her bestselling book What to Expect When You are Expecting, but Heidi Murkoff is here today to talk about her latest book What to Expect Before You're Expecting. It is always good to have you with us in the studio.
Heidi Murkoff: It's great to be back.
Juli Auclair: Good to have you. Now your books have always had great information for moms and dads --
Heidi Murkoff: And they still do.
Juli Auclair: -- who are already pregnant, and they still do, but now you are helping them out beforehand, when they are getting ready. Tell us about that?
Heidi Murkoff: Exactly, this is the prequel to What to Expect When You're Expecting, and it's the first step in What to Expect and it's a step that really every couple who is thinking about having a baby, might want to think about before they actually get busy making that baby.
Juli Auclair: Okay.
Heidi Murkoff: And that's because there are a lot of perks to planning and preparing for pregnancy. It can fast track your fertility, actually help you get pregnant faster, so -- In fact it could save your time in the long run.
Juli Auclair: Which is a good thing.
Heidi Murkoff: Always a good thing, and also it can help you have a healthier pregnancy and a healthier baby. That's what the research is showing and that's what doctors or CBC, everybody is pushing this preconception planning.
Juli Auclair: Now, for starters you are saying that women should add three months to their pregnancy, you need --
Heidi Murkoff: No, not being pregnant --
Juli Auclair: Right, not being pregnant --
Heidi Murkoff: I don't think I could convince anyone to do that. No, no.
Juli Auclair: No, no, no nine months is just about --
Heidi Murkoff: Let me you know thank you very much.
Juli Auclair: But you are talking about three months of planning --
Heidi Murkoff: Of getting ready to become pregnant.
Juli Auclair: And what do you mean?
Heidi Murkoff: So getting your body and your partner's body into tip-top baby making shape before sperm meets egg.
So you know conceptions sneaks up on a lot of couples and that's going to happen, but if you are thinking ahead and you are thinking, oh what on the baby this year? Well, then get busy planning.
Juli Auclair: What kind of things quickly should you --
Heidi Murkoff: There are so many factors that affect into your fertility, like your weight, being overweight or underweight can really undermine your fertility.
Juli Auclair: So let's talk about that.
Heidi Murkoff: Yeah.
Juli Auclair: What should you do if you are planning? Should you check with your doctor? What do you need to know?
Heidi Murkoff: You should check in with your doctor, both of you, not just want-to-be moms, want-to-be dads also should get a preconception checkup. And if the doctor will say, okay, you need to lose certain amount of weight before you conceive. It should be as close as possible to your ideal BMI and your ideal weight before you starting your baby-making engines.
Too many fat cells means you are producing too much estrogen, and you know, that sounds great for women trying to make baby, oh! It's a reproductive hormone.
Juli Auclair: Right, right.
Heidi Murkoff: How can I go wrong! Well, in fact, too much of any hormone can lower your fertility. So you want to take a look at your bottom lines, get those where they need to be. But also your lifestyle, if you smoke, a lot of women say, oh! and men too, once we are pregnant then I'll quit. Well the one problem is, with that theory, is that smoking can lower fertility for both partners.
Juli Auclair: So it's going to cause you problems.
Heidi Murkoff: It takes you longer to get pregnant if you are smoking, either one of you, and caffeine also, alcohol --
Juli Auclair: Are there foods that can actually help you get pregnant?
Heidi Murkoff: Well, there is some evidence, though -- of course you can get pregnant no matter what you eat, no matter what you don't eat, but there are some very preliminary kind of compelling evidence that your fertility maybe what you eat, and certain foods, not surprisingly the really healthy ones, are suppose to be good for fertility. So we are talking, for women yams are great one, nuts and seeds for both of you, pumpkin seeds are really great for sperm go figure.
Juli Auclair: Go figure.
Heidi Murkoff: Go figure, fruits and vegetables. You know when mom use to tell your partner to eat his vegetables, you probably didn't have this benefit in mind, but in fact, brightly colored fruits and vegetables make his sperm more energetic.
Juli Auclair: Start feeding your husband --
Heidi Murkoff: Pomegranates juice is great for men.
Juli Auclair: Pomegranates, okay. Now, for couples who are trying to conceive their second or third baby should they expect the same challenges, the same ease as the first one or --
Heidi Murkoff: Every pregnancy is different, so in fact, you may get pregnant faster or you may take your time, the second time around.
There are some factors that you can't avoid second time around, you are older. No matter when you had you first one you are older now. Now, maybe you are old enough that your fertility is impacted by your age or may be not, also some people are so carrying around some extra weight from that first or second pregnancy and of course, as we said, that could weigh on your fertility.
It's true that secondary infertility is more common than primary, about 60% of infertility cases are secondary.
Juli Auclair: So how long should you wait before consulting a doctor?
Heidi Murkoff: Well, important to keep this in mind, conception doesn't happen overnight, even if it was a really hot and steamy night. It can, of course, you can get pregnant in your first time out, but it does take the average couple between 6 and 12 months to make that baby, and that's a fully fertile couple. So first you don't succeed, you try, try again, on the other hand, if you've been trying for a year and you are under 35 time to pick up the phone and call your doctor if you are 40 and above you probably want to check-in right from the start.
Juli Auclair: Heidi, always great permission. Thank you so much for coming in!
Heidi Murkoff: Oh! I wouldn't miss it.
Juli Auclair: All right, for more preconception tips you can pick up Heidi's new book What to Expect Before You're Expecting or you can go to whattoexpect.com. See you soon!