Getting pregnant is not just about having unprotected sex at the right time and being lucky. It’s also about being fit and healthy – ensuring that you are of optimum weight, making healthy lifestyle choices and staying stress-free. All these count when it comes to improving your fertility.
Remember, when it comes to preparing for pregnancy, both partners have to strive to keep themselves healthy. In men, for instance, sperm functionally is directly associated with their health and well-being. So, if you’re eager to have a baby soon, here’s all that you should be doing to boost your chances of conceiving.
Schedule a Visit to the Doc
It goes without saying that a healthy body is a springboard to a healthy pregnancy – as well as a healthy baby. So it’s good thing to schedule a visit to your doctor and have a thorough pre-pregnancy check-up to address your health issues, assess your health and fitness before you get pregnant. Untreated infections, sexually transmitted diseases and health problems like diabetes, blood pressure and aneamia could affect your chances of getting pregnant.
Start on Folic Acid
Studies have shown that taking supplements of folic acid taken before pregnancy can help reduce the risk of neural tube defects. Talk to your doctor and get the right pre-natal vitamins and folic acid that is suitable for you.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Well, this may be news to you. But your weight plays a significant role during conception and pregnancy. Studies have shown that women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 30 and under 20 have a tougher time conceiving than those with a BMI in the 20-30 range. The reason being, your body fat produces hormones that affect your periods. So being underweight or overweight can upset your natural cycle and could lead to irregular periods. So aim for the ideal BMI of 20-25.
Have Sex at the Right Time
Well, this goes without saying! While timing your intercourse during ovulation increases your odds of conception, you should not just stick to these days. Because ovulation days vary from month to month, it’s near-impossible to calculate your fertile days and time sex perfectly.
A good solution to this is to have sex thrice a week. (Not more, as it could reduce sperm count). The chances of conceiving are high when you have sex within a day or two after ovulation (when the ovaries release an egg). The egg lives for 12-24 hours. So for you to get pregnant, it should be fertilized by the sperm within this time. The sperm however can live for up to 3 days. So timing your intercourse even 3 days before ovulation, can get you pregnant.
Chart your Basal Body Temperature
When you’re trying to conceive naturally, tracking your basal body temperature can help you find out when you’re ovulating.
Prior to ovulation, the basal body temperature is consistent. As you approach ovulation, there is a slight drop in temperature, followed by a sharp rise in temperature – indicating you have ovulated.
Tracking your basal body temperature for a few months can show a clear trend and help you predict when you are ovulating, thereby increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Kick your Addictions
Smoking, alcohol and drugs have a direct bearing on baby’s health. So if you’re planning on pregnancy, it’s a good time to kick these habits.
Smoking: Smoking during pregnancy can lead to low-birth weight babies, pre-term delivery and even infant deaths.
Drugs: Taking drugs during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature birth, and later lead to developmental delays and behavioural problems in your child.
Alcohol: Though there are several contradictory views on the safe limit of alcohol during pregnancy, it’s best to steer clear from alcohol completely to avoid complications and minimize risks.
Fizz Factor: Studies show that women who drink two or more servings of any kind of soda a day are likely to have lower fertility levels than those who don’t drink at all.
Hot Baths and Saunas can affect Sperm Count
The testicles are a few degrees lower than the rest of the male body. The best quality of sperms are produced in a cool environment, ideally at 94-96 degrees, which is a little below the body temperature. Exposure to excessive heat can slow down sperm production resulting in reduced sperm count. So your male partner, should make sure not to expose himself to artificial heat environments. Even hot baths and saunas can have a negative effect.
Eat a Healthy, Nutritious Diet
When trying to conceive, it’s important that you get the best nutrition possible. A healthy diet with adequate protein and carbohydrates, healthy fats, can promote good health and conception. A diet rich in vitamin C, zinc and folic acid is recommended for women. Both men and women should avoid eating sugar and artificially sweetened foods as it can interfere with the hormone balance.
Dieting can have a negative effect on the woman’s hormonal levels. In men, it leads to reduced sex drive and structural changes in the reproductive tissue ultimately leading to infertility.
Regular exercise is important for our well-being and good health. Making exercise a routine before you conceive will not only keep you in good health during pregnancy but also help build stamina for labour and delivery. Going for a brisk walk, working out in the gym, cycling, swimming all contribute to your well being and help improve your chances of conceiving, by keeping you fit and healthy.
But over-exercising is not advisable. It can hamper hormonal balance and mess up ovulation. By chance, you happen to conceive, intense and excessive exercise can impair placental and foetal growth, as well as overheat the foetus.
High stress levels cause hormonal imbalance which can significantly affect your ovarian activity. So it’s important to minimize your stress levels. Staying relaxed also has a positive affect on the foetus.
Make sure to have a good night’s sleep to relieve stress and tension. Relax through the day with regular exercise, yoga, meditation and music.
Reach a doctor yourself
The elder you are and the more complex your medical history, the healthier it is to see a doctor with wide training and familiarity in infertility. The fine news is doctors can accurate many problems with surgery, and with other medications. The diagnostic measures you have to endure involve blood tests, Early Pregnancy Tests and Know about Laparoscopy Test
Reach infertility centers and costs
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks infertility clinics’ success rates at https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/index.html
The National institute of child health and human development provides Pregnancy Condition information; www.nichd.nih.gov. American pregnancy Association Provides information on Pregnancy Symptoms and Early Signs of Pregnancy; www.americanpregnancy.org.
Tips & Tricks
Dieting during pregnancy can cause abnormalities and a low birth weight in your baby; therefore your ideal weight should be reached before pregnancy.
Taking folic acid in its natural form before pregnancy can prevent serious birth defects. You can find them in fruits and vegetables, fortified cereals, and enriched bread products. If you’re planning to conceive, you should consume at least 400 micrograms of folic acid a day.
If you are on contraceptive pills, it could take a few months before your periods are regular and you begin ovulating again. It usually is best to stop the pills at the end of a cycle to avoid mid-cycle bleeding.
Before buying a home pregnancy test kit, be sure to check the expiry date. For accurate results, take the test after one week after the missed period; testing very early, can give you negative results.
Green tea and orange pekoe (popularly known as 'regular') are considered to be excellent fertility enhancers. Research has shown that women who regularly drink tea, increase their chance of conception.