It can be disappointing when you first feel those symptoms coming on; especially when you have been trying to conceive for a while. That familiar irritability giving way to back-pain and cramping is a cycle you’ve been through before, but were not looking forward to this time.

If cramping during periods is an occurrence, there are simple remedies that can alleviate this symptom. A heating pad applied directly to the pelvic area or a lower back rub or massage can give instant relief. Hitting the gym just prior to the start of a period is also known to lessen the intensity of cramping that may set in.

Daily vitamin supplements that include B complex and calcium over time have been shown to diminish cramping. A glass of lassi will do the trick often. Of course when all else fails, resorting to an over the counter anti-inflammatory medication will work but tends to be harsh on the stomach.

Although you are not pregnant yet, it is important that you continue “behaving pregnant”. Smoking and alcohol are a complete no-no even if it is just second hand smoke. Medications, unless prescribed by your physician are also not recommended; many can be detrimental for conception and fetal development.

Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle helps both with combating menstrual cramps and your long-term goal of getting pregnant while readying your womb and mind for that interesting journey. So from losing a few kilos to getting fit, here are a few tips for lifestyle changes that promote conception and a healthy pregnancy.

1. Getting your weight under control

For those women who have always wondered about this – pre-pregnancy weight does matter! If you weigh more than you should, it can impair your fertility and cause conditions such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia when you get pregnant. If on the other hand, you are under-weight, the regularity of ovulation is impacted, which then leads to decreased fertility. When pregnant, being underweight can also result in miscarriages or early labor that can be associated with long-term complications.

So getting to the ideal weight not only promotes fertility but bodes well for your pregnancy without having to overcompensate for a too high or too low preconception weight. A combination of exercise along with a diet rich in whole grains and vegetables is the smartest and fastest route to your ideal weight.

2. Exercise

Even if you are one of those few that doesn’t struggle with weight, exercising on a regular basis has not only shown to increase fertility but also to ease labor. Starting with as few as 10 minutes of walking every few days and working yourself up to 30 minutes, will give you a jumpstart on what the next few years may have in store for you! If you are intimidated by high impact exercises, then easing your way in with yoga or stretching can lead you to a regular fitness regimen.

3. Sleep and prenatal vitamins

Prenatal vitamins fortified with folic acid have been shown to prevent birth defects along with providing all the elemental nutrition required for fetal development.

This along with plenty of rest and adequate amount of sleep will have your body prepared in no time for the wonderful journey that lies ahead.