Pregnancy

Getting Pregnant: Ways to Increase Your Fertility

So you and your partner have decided to have a baby! That’s wonderful!  For some couples, conceiving is very easy, and happens the first or second month.  But for many others, the wait is much longer.  For some, it seems pregnancy will never happen.  While infertility is a complex problem that often needs medical attention to resolve, there are a few things you and your partner can do to help increase your fertility.  Here are a few tips:

Get a preconception check-up

Every couple trying to conceive should make sure to have a check-up prior to trying to conceive.  Certain health issues such as abnormal thyroid levels, high blood pressure, abnormal hormone levels, and more, can affect the fertility of both partners.  A health exam that identifies, and treats, these conditions right away can save a couple months of frustratingly unsuccessful attempts to conceive.

Sort out your weight issues

As frustrating as it may be for an overweight woman to hear, weight does impact fertility.  Studies show that overweight or obese women often have irregular or absent ovulation, and if a woman is not ovulating, she can’t conceive.  Irregular ovulation makes it difficult for a couple to identify when a woman is fertile.  Losing even 10% of a woman’s excess weight can sort out ovulation troubles without any medical intervention or fertility assistance. So if you are overweight, consider losing a few pounds. Underweight women may also face fertility problems from infrequent or absent ovulation.  When a woman’s body fat is too low, her hormone levels become imbalanced which affects ovulation.  Many elite female athletes do not ovulate and do not have regular periods.  If you are underweight, consider gaining a few pounds.  Keep in mind, and weight loss or gain should be done slowly and in a healthful manner.

Lead a healthy lifestyle

Most women know they need to give up cigarettes and alcohol when they are trying to conceive, and that they need to completely abstain from using any street drugs.  But there are other things both partners can do to improve their chances of conception.  Get plenty of rest, and stay relaxed.  Insomnia and stress also affect hormones in a woman’s body, and reducing stress in both partners lives can have a dramatic effect on fertility.  A woman should also cut back on her caffeine consumption.  Some studies indicate that excessive amounts of caffeine consumption can make conception harder and can slightly increase the risk of miscarriage.  While small amounts of caffeine, such as in a cup of coffee, are just fine, many women choose to eliminate caffeine completely.  Just remember, stress has a far greater negative impact on fertility than does caffeine, so don’t stress if you have trouble giving up caffeine.

Eat a balanced diet

Keeping yourself in the best overall health possible will greatly increase your chances of conceiving, and one big component of a healthy life is a healthy diet.  Pay attention to foods rich in Omega oils (nuts, salmon, sunflower seeds), iron (green leafy vegetables, chicken and turkey), and calcium.  Be sure to get enough folic acid, as folic acid deficiency is linked to several birth defects.

Exercise

Exercising promotes physical and mental health. As mentioned a couple times already, stress really does affect your ability to conceive, and exercise is a great stress reliever.  Exercise also helps reduce blood pressure and can help a woman struggling with her weight obtain a healthier body.

Do your math

Conceiving depends on some very specific timing; a woman is only fertile for a very short amount of time each month.  Some women trying to conceive hit that window without even being aware it exists.  Others need to do some math.  A woman’s cycle is on average 28 days long, though some women have shorter cycles, and some longer.  Each woman should track her cycles to figure out what is normal for her.  The cycle begins on the first day of bleeding. Ovulation usually occurs on day fourteen.  Sperm can live inside a woman’s body for a couple of days, so having intercourse every day or every other day starting around day 11 of the cycle and continuing for a few days after day fourteen can greatly increase the chances conception.  There are other things a woman can do to figure out when she will ovulate, or to see if she has ovulated.  One easy way to track ovulation is through ovulation predictor kits which are available at most grocery and big-box stores.

One more little fact to keep in mind, 85% of couples having intercourse without using birth control will conceive within one year. That means that it is perfectly normal for it to take some to make a baby.  Try to relax and enjoy yourself, and before you know it you’ll have a beautiful baby to cuddle!

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