11 Tips to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
You’ve had the big talk with your partner and you’ve both decided you’re ready to start trying. You’re excited and envisioning your future together as a family. You’re narrowing down potential baby names for both sexes and you’re making space for a crib. But wait — you haven’t even conceived yet. Trying for a baby is often more complicated than just having unprotected sex. While it’s an exciting time, it can also be frustrating when weeks turn into months and you’re still not pregnant. But don’t worry — many fertile couples need to be patient. If you want to increase your chances of getting pregnant and speed up the time it takes you to conceive, follow these 11 tips.
If you’ve been putting off losing weight, now is a good time to start that journey. A UK study of 2,112 pregnant women investigated if there was a correlation between weight and how long it took to get pregnant. Women who have a body mass index (BMI) of 25-39 (considered overweight) took twice the amount of time to get pregnant. Being overweight can also lead to problems during pregnancy, so it’s best to tackle the issue now. To conceive quicker, hire a personal trainer and nutritionist. Not only will you be healthier, but you’ll also deal with less hassle getting pregnant.
If you’re underweight, you have some work to do too. According to the study, women with a BMI less than 19 (almost underweight) took four times as long to conceive. When you’re planning on having a baby, you don’t want to pack on the pounds by eating unhealthy foods. Instead, consult a nutritionist to help you reach a healthy weight.
Being overweight or underweight can change your hormones and affect ovulation. Use this tool to calculate your BMI.
Minimize Alcohol Consumption
We know that we must stop drinking alcohol once we become pregnant, but we should also minimize our consumption when we’re trying to conceive. A 1998 study found that a woman’s alcohol intake decreased their chances of getting pregnant. You don’t have to be intoxicated or be a heavy drinker for alcohol to affect your fertility. Even women who have five or fewer drinks a week decrease their chances, according to the study.
Another study looked at couples that failed about three cycles of IVF. Researchers found that women who stopped drinking alcohol had a 90% chance of having a successful pregnancy over three years. Conversely, women who drank three glasses of wine a week only had a 30% chance.
That means no more nightly glasses of wine or cocktails on a girl’s night out. Switch to mocktails to make conceiving easier.
Alcohol can also affect a man hoping to become a father, but only if he drinks heavily. Excessive alcohol intake can lower testosterone levels and affect the quality of sperm.
If you’re a smoker, you will need to stop once you get pregnant, so you might as well kill the habit now. Smokers are more likely to have fertility problems such as ovulation issues and damage to reproductive organs. It’s not just you that should stop smoking; it’s your partner too.
Not only could being around second-hand smoke affect you, but smoking could also lower his sperm count. A review of research showed that the bad habit could also reduce sperm motility, sperm’s fertilizing ability and create DNA damage.
You’ve probably heard about the potential health risks of pesticides, but you probably didn’t know it could affect your chances of getting pregnant. We’ve known for a while that occupational exposure to some pesticides, as experienced by plantation workers, can negatively affect semen quality and male fertility.
This means if your partner works with pesticides or harmful chemicals, it could be hurting his chances of getting you pregnant. Now, research has shown that even just eating these foods can have detrimental effects. A 2015 study found that men who ate the most foods where pesticides were used have a lower sperm quality and count. If you’re having trouble conceiving, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to switch over to organic fruits and vegetables. If you have a garden in your backyard, use more natural pest control methods.
Know the Best Time to Conceive
To increase your chances of getting pregnant, have sex during the optimal time. You have the best chances of getting pregnant if you have intercourse in the three days before ovulation. During this time, your chances of getting pregnant are up to 33%.
Ovulation occurs on about the 14th day of your cycle, or 14 days before your next period. To know when you ovulate, you will have to keep track of your cycle using a calendar.
Have Sex More Often
The more you have sex, the more you will increase your chances of getting pregnant. You might have to work late or feel tired after a long day, but setting some time aside is crucial. According to two research papers, when a woman has sex frequently, her immune system receives the message to make a baby. The researchers say that even when a woman has sex outside of her fertility window, it still increases her chances of getting pregnant. So, even if you’re not close to ovulation, it’s a good idea to get busy anyway!
Use Fertility-Friendly Lubricants
If you’re trying to conceive, don’t just use any lube. There’s some evidence that some lubes can affect a sperm’s ability to fertilize an egg; the sperm will have a harder time traveling to the uterus. So, what makes it difficult for the sperm to travel? The thickness of most lubricants can slow sperm down. Water-based lubricants sold in stores could also force the sperm to absorb water, which can damage sperm.
If you want to conceive quickly, it’s best to avoid the trusted KY Jelly and Astroglide. Oils you keep in your kitchen can be used instead; try canola, vegetable or peanut oil. If you wanted to play it safe, you could stick to good old natural lubricant. Each time you’re trying to conceive, make it special by including enough foreplay that you don’t have to use a lube.
If you’re having trouble conceiving, you may be stressing out. But stressing may only worsen the problem.
Research has found that women with high levels of a stress hormone stop ovulating, making them unable to conceive. After therapy to reduce stress, 80% of the women started ovulating again and some even became pregnant within two months. Researchers in the study say women with hectic jobs are at the most risk.
To reduce stress, try to pinpoint your stressor and tackle it. Is it work? Home life? Anxiety issues? Give yourself a little bit of time every day to sit back and relax. Maybe that means reading a good book, taking a bath or having a nice dinner with your partner. Practices like yoga and meditation can also help you find your inner peace, decrease stress and increase fertility.
Get Your Partner to Cut down on Caffeine
You’re not the only one that has to make some diet changes. If your partner lives on coffee during the day and then binges on soda at night — it’s time for him to make a change if he wants a baby. A Danish study found that men who had a high intake of caffeine had a lower sperm count and sperm concentration. But that doesn’t mean he has to cut out coffee altogether — sticking to about 300 milligrams a day is best.
If your partner doesn’t already, encourage him to get a little exercise, about 45 minutes each day. Research has shown that exercise can enhance fertility for both men and women by regulating weight and releasing stress.
With that being said, if you or your partner are training for a marathon, it may be best to wait to conceive until after the race. Excessive exercise can lower sperm count. It can also stop menstruation in women.
There are so many different factors in both men and women that can affect their ability to conceive. If you don’t conceive as quickly as you’d like, remember that it’s probably normal. Consider this: During the time period when you’re most likely to conceive, you still only have up to a 33% chance of getting pregnant. That’s why they call it the miracle of birth!
Try to avoid stressing out, as that could lengthen the time it takes you to conceive. Instead, have fun. Enjoy making love with your partner while it’s just the two of you.
Some women worry when they don’t conceive within the first few times of trying and think they may be infertile. However, infertility is defined by the failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of trying. If you’re too impatient to wait a year, talk to your family doctor and consider a fertility specialist.