If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, you may be wondering what could boost your chances of conceiving. When you really look into it, you’ll find that getting pregnant is much more technical than it seems. You need to rely on ovulation, good quality eggs and sperm, fertilisation and implantation. Then comes the worry of maintaining a pregnancy. For couples going through infertility, it can be an emotional rollercoaster. So, what can you do to make sure you have a fighting chance at success?
It Takes Two
Infertility is a difficult road to travel down, and many couples find it difficult to communicate with each other. That’s often because they’re protecting each other’s feelings but communicating as a couple can be a huge stress relief. In fact, many couples find that once they voice their opinions they realise their partner feels the same way. Women go through more physically when it comes to trying to get pregnant, whether it’s a natural cycle or fertility treatment is being used. It’s important you don’t attempt to deal with everything yourself. If you find it difficult to talk to loved ones, it may be of benefit for you to seek counselling.
Eat a Balanced Diet
You may have been told a thousand times already that eating a balanced diet can aid in conception, but many couples don’t take it in. After all, how much can what we eat really help? Well, a lot. Think of it this way – when you put the wrong type of fuel in a car, it doesn’t work. Our bodies need the right kind of nutrients to function properly. So, if you’re living on processed meals and greasy take-aways, you need to make a change. Eating the right foods won’t just boost your chances of having a baby, it’ll make you feel more relaxed when you need to, more energised when you need to and your baby will get the best start in life.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine
This doesn’t mean that you have to completely cut out all alcohol and caffeine. But, it is important to cut down. Alcohol can affect your estrogen levels which can cause poor egg quality and make implantation less likely. No matter what doctor you see, each one will advise you to limit your intake of caffeine. That doesn’t just mean tea and coffee. Caffeine is present in things like chocolate and fizzy drinks too. To give yourself the best chance at success, limit yourself to one coffee per day and if you’re going to eat chocolate, have one square of dark chocolate per day.
You can find out what your BMI is here. Before having fertility treatment, most doctors will recommend that you’re at a healthy BMI before starting. It goes without saying that you should also have a healthy BMI when trying for a baby naturally. This may mean that you need to lose a bit of weight, or in some cases, put weight on. Losing weight isn’t easy, but it’s for the benefit of your health and your future child’s.
If you’ve been using a female form of contraceptive, like the pill or an IUD, it may take you longer to conceive once you stop using them. Contraception like the pill could make your cycles erratic when you stop taking them. Before trying to get pregnant, wait for your cycles to return to normal. If you’re still experiencing unusual cycles after six months, make an appointment to see your GP or gynaecologist.
Sometimes, the last thing you feel like doing when you’re going through infertility is motivating yourself to exercise. However, exercise can be one of the healthiest things to do when you’re going through something stressful. Not only is it a fantastic stress relief, but it can also help to improve your mood. Exercise is also linked to an increased libido and it aids blood flow around the body, which you need for implantation. However, it’s important to avoid intense exercise when trying to conceive as it can hinder conception. Stick to half an hour jogs, yoga classes or light cardio.
Producing quality sperm is also important for creating a healthy pregnancy. Men should get a good dose of leafy greens in their diet every week to improve sperm motility. They should also avoid intense exercise and wear boxer shorts that allow their testicles to breathe. Men who work close to chemicals should always wear protective masks to avoid breathing in gases and doctors often recommend that men shouldn’t be tattooed for at least three months prior to trying to conceive.
We all know that smoking during a pregnancy is not healthy. However, it’s important to give up smoking when you’re trying to get pregnant too. One of the main reasons to give up smoking when you want a child is to protect your ovaries. Smoking can make the ovaries prematurely age, which means you may have less time to get pregnant. It’s possible for a 35 year old smoker to have the ovaries of a 42 year old. Cutting out smoking entirely could significantly improve your chances of a pregnancy.
Monitor Your Cycle
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you’ll already know the signs of ovulation and when is best to have sex to increase your chances of conception. However, many women are so busy that’s it’s difficult to notice signs from your body. Keep a diary with you and take notes of all the things you feel during a cycle. You may notice things like abnormal bleeding, aches and pains, erratic cycles or uncomfortable sex. If you notice anything strange about your cycles, go to your doctor and example your symptoms. A few simple checks or a scan could give you the answers you’ve been looking for. For example, there are many women who have found out they have endometriosis because an endometrioma has been present on a scan.
It goes without saying that you need to have sex to create a pregnancy, but there are more benefits to sex than you know. Studies have shown that women who have sex regularly are more likely to have regular cycles. Regular cycles are often the best sign that you’re ovulating properly. Your boyfriend/husband can help you by releasing hormones into your system that promotes healthy and regular cycles. How often should you be having sex? Research shows that every three days is optimum for conception. Sperm can survive for up to seven days, but it takes at least two days for your partner to produce another good quantity of quality sperm.
Know Your Body
Conditions like Bacterial Vaginosis have been linked to infertility. Surprisingly, bacterial vaginosis isn’t a result of bad hygiene. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Washing your vagina too thoroughly could lead to an imbalance of your natural PH levels. If you notice a fishy odour or a slight grey discharge, you may have bacterial vaginosis. The good news is, it can be diagnosed with a simple swab and treated with creams or antibiotics.
Isn’t it annoying when people tell you to stop stressing? In fact, that usually leads to more stress. It’s impossible to completely avoid stress, so stop worrying about being stressed when you shouldn’t be. Some women have tried to get pregnant for years and then conceived at their most stressful moments. However, it is important to take a break from it all. Infertility can really take it out of you, so do things you enjoy with your partner. Go on holiday, go on dates, laugh as much as you can and take people’s opinions with a pinch of salt.
Many couples who have to go through fertility treatment would tell you they wished they hadn’t waited so long. IUI, IVF and ICSI are often thought of as last resorts. No-one really wants to go through fertility treatment unless it’s absolutely necessary. However, if you’ve been trying for more than a year with no success, it may be time you made an appointment to see your doctor. Getting to the root of fertility problems can be tricky at times, so the more time you give yourself, the better. Get as many tests done as possible so you can narrow down what treatment will work best for you.
Sometimes, we need a helping hand in getting exactly what our bodies need for quality performance. You won’t always be able to get it from your diet, so the next best alternative is supplements. Women should take a 400mg dose of folic acid every day when trying to conceive. Prenatal vitamins that are specifically designed for couples trying to get pregnant will also give you and your partner’s bodies a boost. Get advice from your doctor before taking any supplement.
Dealing with infertility is hard, but do your best to stay positive and remember that this too shall pass. Having a positive attitude is the best weapon you can carry.