Top 12 Tips to Help You Conceive
Sometimes there’s a combination of female and male factors which further decreases the chances of conceiving. Here are some ways to boost your chances of conceiving.
Jane Barry, a Midwife and Child Health Nurse is here to help you increase your chances of falling pregnant.
As research evolves we’ve come to understand a lot more about what individuals and couples can do to boost their chances of conceiving. And although much of it seems pretty simple, it can be really helpful to make even the smallest lifestyle and dietary changes.
Infertility affects around 15 percent of couples of reproductive age. Even if there are no infertility issues, there are only around six days per month when conception is likely to happen. When you think about it, it’s kind of a miracle that there are 7.8 billion people in the world!
Fertility for women starts to steadily decline from the early 30s onwards and accelerates steadily so by the time she’s 40, a woman’s chances of conceiving naturally drops to around 5 percent.
As well as increasing age, there are a range of causes for infertility, not all of them related to women. Men too, can have problems, most commonly in producing healthy numbers of mobile sperm.
Sometimes there’s a combination of female and male factors which further decreases the chances of conceiving.
Ways to Increase Fertility: Top Twelve Tips to Help You Conceive
Have lots of sex
The first and most obvious answer is to have regular sex. Although it only takes one egg and one sperm to conceive, your chances will improve the more sex you have. Ideally, this will be within 1-2 days of when you ovulate.
Conception is also about timing – an egg lives for up to 24 hours after it’s released, though sperm can live for up to seven days in a woman’s body. There needs to be an egg ready for the sperm to fertilise, otherwise it won’t matter how much sex you’re having.
Eat healthy foods
Eat a wide range of healthy, nutritious foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Antioxidants help to mop up and neutralise free radicals which can harm egg and sperm cells.
Looking at ways to increase fertility? The best sources of antioxidants are in fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and grains. Antioxidant supplements can also be helpful.
- Reduce your intake of trans fats. Instead, eat healthy fats like those in olive oil, avocados, fish, seafood and eggs.
- Include vegetable protein as well as animal sources in your diet. Tofu, nuts, beans, sprouts and pulses are all good sources.
- Cut back on eating refined carbohydrates. White flour/sugar/rice/pasta all cause blood sugar spikes causing insulin to peak which can impact on ovulation function.
- Enjoy full fat dairy foods rather than the reduced fat options. Extra sugar is often added to compensate for the taste of reduced fat. Read labels and include good quality dairy foods in your diet.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. This can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and may also have a positive effect on hormone levels. Women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) especially seem to benefit from eating a larger breakfast and to reduce their intake of refined carbohydrates.
See your doctor
It can be useful to have a range of screening tests when planning to conceive. Blood tests can identify if there are underlying health conditions such as underactive thyroid which can affect fertility. Your immunity to certain diseases will also be checked. It’s also important to have an up to date pap smear and breast examination.
Take a pregnancy multivitamin
It’s especially important for women who are trying to conceive to take folic acid and iodine supplements.
Use an ovulation kit
These can be useful to detect hormonal changes which occur before and at ovulation. Be aware ovulation testing kits are not always precise and don’t offer 100 percent guarantees of accuracy.
Stop smoking and/or using illicit drugs
Both can affect the quality and viability of eggs and/or sperm. They also increase the risk factors for mothers and babies developing a range of health issues.
Stop or reduce your alcohol intake
Current guidelines are clear for women who are planning to conceive, that no alcohol is the safest option. Sperm quality, impotence and lower sex drive are all more common for men who drink heavily.
Eat more fibre
Fibre helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and for the body to discard excess hormones. Though it’s important not to eat too much fibre as this can also lead to hormonal imbalance.
Limit your caffeine intake
Aim for no more than 200 mgs/day or two cups of coffee/three cups of tea per day. And remember, caffeine is also in energy drinks and chocolate.
Aim for extra movement every day by walking, going to the gym, swimming, bike riding. Ideally, any exercise which will get your heart rate up and helps you keep within a healthy weight range.
Find time to relax
Stress hormones can affect ovulation and libido. We all react to stress in individual ways, though relaxation can be especially helpful for couples who are trying to conceive to feel more connected.
Be in a healthy weight range
Check your BMI (body mass index) to see what’s right for your height. Studies have shown that being overweight impacts on healthy hormone production, especially oestrogen and testosterone – both important fertility hormones.
- See your GP if you haven’t conceived after one year of trying or if you feel concerned that you might have a medical issue affecting your fertility.
- Speak with a dietician if you need diet and weight loss support.
This article was first published on KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.
Lead image source via iStock.