If your partner and you have been trying to conceive a baby without much luck, here are some tips by guest contributor Ethan Lynette that are worth trying.
We’re always taught that getting pregnant is easy. I mean, if millions of couples can conceive by accident, how difficult can it be? Yet many couples are often surprised to learn that actually getting a plus sign on a pregnancy test isn’t as straightforward as they thought.
Determining when you’re ovulating and timing intercourse during your «fertile window» — the limited number of days when having sex can actually result in pregnancy — is incredibly important for conceiving. In fact, the chance of you becoming pregnant if you don’t have sex during your fertile window is zero percent. Needless to say, reading and understanding your body is critical when trying to make a baby. Here are seven tips to help boost your chances of conceiving naturally.
1. Chart Your Cycles
The first step to accurately predicting ovulation is determining the length of your menstrual cycles. Your menstrual cycle is the total number of days from the start of one period to the start of the next period.
For most women, this is approximately 28 days, though cycles can be longer or shorter. Record your cycles each month, marking the first day of your period as «Cycle Day 1» and counting until the next period begins. You can use a calendar, a mobile app, or a fertility charting website. Once you have an understanding of the length of your cycle, you can more accurately predict when you will ovulate.
2. Watch for Signs and Symptoms of Ovulation
You’d be surprised how much information your body can give you that indicates it’s almost ready to ovulate. For instance, many women notice changes in their cervical mucus. (The cervical mucus that precedes ovulation has a consistency like egg whites: thin, stretchy, and translucent.)
Other women have pain associated with ovulation or see light spotting. Paying attention to these signs will help you identify the day you ovulate, and you’ll have an idea when you should start having sex the following month.
3. Choose an Ovulation Prediction Method That Works for You
If you don’t have any noticeable ovulation symptoms, there are ovulation prediction tools that can help you out. There are many options available today that range in price and level of sophistication. One is a urine-based test strips/sticks, which measure hormonal changes 12 to 48 hours before ovulation. Then there's also an electronic fertility monitor that measures hormone and electrolyte changes and lets you know when you’re going to ovulate five to seven days in advance. You could also try basal body temperature thermometers that track your BBT, which rises once ovulation has occurred. Last but not least are ovulation microscopes that allow you to see a ferning pattern in your saliva that signals ovulation will occur in three to five days.
Ovulation prediction tools can also identify if you are not ovulating, which can help alert you early if you need to visit a fertility doctor.
4. Start Having Sex as Early as Five Days before Ovulation
Once you’ve had an idea of when ovulation will occur, you can begin the fun part of trying to get pregnant. Plan to start having intercourse once a day for the five days leading up to ovulation. An egg is viable (i.e., able to be fertilized) for approximately 24 hours following ovulation, so having healthy sperm ready and waiting in the fallopian tube when the egg is released will give you the best chance of getting pregnant.
5. Make Sure Your Partner Gets His Sperm Health Checked
Even the most accurate ovulation prediction won’t help poor sperm health, so while you’re doing all of this calculating and cycle tracking, have your partner get his sperm health checked with a sperm analysis at a clinic or by using a convenient at-home test.
6. Increase Your Antioxidant Intake
Free radicals, the unstable chemicals your body generates when it breaks down toxins, can wreak havoc with your health and fertility. Since there are more toxins in our environment today than ever before, you need to be sure to protect your body by boosting your antioxidant intake. Foods like beans, berries, apples, artichokes, and pecans are great sources of antioxidants, and you can also find antioxidants in certain supplements.
7. Exercise and Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
The better your overall health is, the better your fertility will be. Exercise regularly at a moderate pace, and maintain a weight appropriate for your height and body structure. Also, by starting physical activity before you are pregnant, it will be easier to maintain an exercise routine into your pregnancy and beyond. And don’t forget about your partner — physical activity can improve his fertility, too, so make moderate exercise a team event.
The surest path to pregnancy is understanding your cycle, correctly predicting your fertile window, and timing sex appropriately. If it takes longer than you’d expected, don’t despair. For many couples, getting pregnant takes planning and persistence, but it’s worth it in the end.
Did you have initial problems conceiving? How did you deal?