Preparing for pregnancy

Before you get pregnant, it is wise to think about a number of things. For example, it is essential that you stop taking your contraceptives in time and that you start taking folic acid in time, a vitamin that is very important for the physical development of the unborn child. You can gain insight into your menstrual cycle in various ways to determine the moment of ovulation and therefore have the greatest chance of fertilization.

Stop contraception

One of the most important aspects of becoming pregnant is stopping contraception. This concerns both hormonal and non-hormonal contraceptives. It is wise to have at least one spontaneous period before trying to become pregnant.

Folic acid

Lately, a lot of attention has been paid to taking folic acid in preparation for pregnancy. Where does this hustle and bustle come from? And is folic acid really that important?

What is folic acid?

Folic acid is a vitamin that our body produces itself. Another name for folic acid is vitamin B11 . Folic acid is also found in various foods such as fresh vegetables, fruit, potatoes and dairy. In principle, you get enough folic acid and you don’t need to take anything extra. However, when you are pregnant, your body needs extra folic acid because your kidneys break down folic acid faster than normal. To get enough folic acid through your diet, you have to eat a lot. Instead, you can also take tablets with folic acid .

Is folic acid really that important?

If you do not have enough folic acid available in your body, your unborn child is at a higher risk of neural tube defects . These are conditions in which the neural tube is not closed enough and parts of the baby’s spinal cord become exposed. This is also colloquially called ‘spina bifida’ . It is therefore strongly recommended to ensure that your body has sufficient folic acid available.

When should you take folic acid?

Doctors recommend starting taking folic acid 4 weeks before conception . Because you never know exactly when you will become pregnant, it is wise to take folic acid tablets when you are actively trying to become pregnant. You must take this folic acid until approximately 10 weeks of pregnancy . It is best to take tablets of 400 micrograms of folic acid per day, which is more than sufficient.

Menstrual cycle

The female menstrual cycle is a periodic change in the body of the sexually mature woman from puberty to menopause. During this menstrual cycle, a woman’s egg matures for a possible pregnancy and the woman’s body changes to such an extent that a pregnancy is possible.
The average menstrual cycle is about 28 days on average. The menstrual cycle is regulated by the hormones estrogen, progesterone, FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).
The development and release of an egg ready for fertilization called ovulation . In the first half of the menstrual cycle, about 20 eggs are matured. These eggs are surrounded by fluid-filled sacs called follicles . Ultimately, one of these follicles bursts open first, releasing the egg. This happens approximately on the 14th day of the menstrual cycle. After ovulation, there is approximately 12 to 24 hours to fertilize the egg.

Fruitful days

There are various tests on the market that can give you a good insight into your menstrual cycle so that you can have sex at exactly the right time to induce fertilization.

Ovulation test

About 24 to 36 hours before ovulation occurs, the amount of LH in the urine increases. This hormone prepares the uterine lining for the possible implantation of a fertilized egg. Using an ovulation test you can measure how much of this hormone is present in the urine in order to predict ovulation.

Temperature method

The temperature method is a somewhat older method to determine a woman’s fertile days. One to two days after ovulation, the body temperature rises slightly due to the influence of hormones. However, this method allows less time for fertilization than the ovulation test.


Fertilization is the moment when the man’s sperm meets and penetrates the woman’s egg. During fertilization, 23 chromosomes from the sperm cell and 23 chromosomes from the egg cell form a fertilized cell with 46 chromosomes.
The sperm cell penetrates the membrane of the egg cell by releasing enzymes that create a hole in the membrane of the egg cell. The sperm cell then prepares to enter the inner part of the egg cell. When this is done, the sperm cell loses its body and tail .

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