You’re all set to start a family. Now is the time. When you’re ready to start a family, the last thing you want to do is wait.
While Mother Nature has a hand in the timing, there are several things you can do (or not do) to help improve your chances of becoming pregnant as soon as possible. Continue reading for seven expert-approved pregnancy tips.
- Get a preconception test.
Get a checkup before you start attempting to conceive. Ask your doctor for folic acid-fortified prenatal vitamins, which can help prevent birth defects like spina bifida. Folic acid is effective in the early stages of pregnancy, which is why it’s important to get enough of it right before you become pregnant.
“Do this cycle before you start trying,” says Paula Hillard, MD, a Stanford University professor of obstetrics and gynecology. “Before you can comfortably become pregnant, you must have any underlying medical conditions under control.”
- Learn about the menstrual cycle.
Do you have a good understanding of the menstrual cycle? According to Hillard, knowing when you’re most fertile requires a deep understanding. The best time to get pregnant is during ovulation. Hillard advises, “This is the time to focus on having sex.”
It is beneficial to become conscious of ovulation symptoms, such as a shift in cervical mucus. When you’re most fertile, the skin becomes thin and oily. A one-sided twinge of pain can also be experienced by some women.
According to James Goldfarb, MD, director of the infertility service at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, ovulation prediction kits will also help you predict the best time to get pregnant. They can not only confirm that you are ovulating, but they can also tell you when to have intercourse to improve your chances of becoming pregnant, he says.
The following is how it works: Day one of your menstrual cycle is considered the first day. Joanne Piscitelli, MD, an associate professor of gynecology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., suggests, “Start checking on day nine and keep going until you get a positive.” Women that have a 28-day cycle ovulate on day 14 of their cycle. However, since many women’s periods are longer or shorter, casting a large net will help you be certain.
What if you’ve been on birth control for a while? Is it necessary to wait a while before attempting to conceive? Not at all, according to Goldfarb. “Years ago, it was common wisdom to wait a certain period of time after quitting birth control before attempting to conceive, but this is no longer the case. You should begin trying to conceive as soon as you stop taking birth control “According to Goldfarb. The only thing to bear in mind is that you could become pregnant before you get your period, making monitoring ovulation and determining your due date more difficult. As a result, he says, “some people can feel safer waiting until they get one cycle on their own.”
- Don’t be concerned with the best places for conceiving.
There are several theories about the best places for conceiving, but they are just that: myths. When it comes to improving the odds of having a son, there is no statistical proof that the missionary role is better than the woman being on top.
Goldfarb tells Babies Daily News that “very rarely, a woman’s cervix is in an odd position where those positions will make a difference.”
However, certain gravity-defying positions during intercourse, such as sitting or standing, can prevent sperm from moving upstream. “It’s a question of gravity,” Hillard explains, “and you don’t want all the semen to run out because semen are fast little critters.”
- Immediately after sex, go to bed.
You’ve already heard this one: after having sex, lie in bed with your feet in the air to improve your chances of being pregnant. What’s the verdict? This is (completely) untrue.
“It’s a good idea to lie in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse,” Goldfarb says, “but you don’t need your feet in the air.” “When you lift your legs into the air, your pelvis does not move.” He also advises against using the restroom during this period. “The sperm that will get into the cervix will be in the cervix if you wait 10 to 15 minutes.”
- Don’t go overboard.
Having sex every day, even during ovulation, does not guarantee that you will become pregnant. “In general, becoming pregnant every other night around the time of ovulation increases the chances,” Goldfarb says. Sperm can survive in your body for up to 5 days. The best advice is to have sex on a regular basis, both when you’re ovulating and when you aren’t.
When it comes to sperm, “tight-fitting clothing will reduce sperm count,” Piscitelli says. Spending time in a hot tub or Jacuzzi may also be beneficial. Your man’s mobile phone habits could also use some improvement. Men who used a hands-free interface with a mobile phone and kept their phone close to their testicles had lower sperm content, according to a study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.
They will also have to give up edamame and other soy foods for a while. According to a study published online in Human Reproduction, men who consume a lot of soy foods have lower sperm concentration than men who don’t eat soy foods.
- Find a way to de-stress in whatever way you can.
Don’t get too worked up about starting a family. When someone says, “Just relax and it will happen,” you might roll your eyes, but stress will actually prevent ovulation. As a result, the more at ease you are, the better!
Whatever helps you de-stress as long as it’s safe is perfect. According to Goldfarb, “there is some proof that acupuncture may help you relieve stress and improve your likelihood of becoming pregnant.” And, while drinking too much alcohol while trying to conceive isn’t a good idea, a glass of wine won’t hurt.
- Maintain a balanced lifestyle.
Exercising is a good habit to develop, particularly if it helps you maintain your ideal weight. However, just like anything else, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. “Too much exercise will prevent you from ovulating,” says Goldfarb.
How much is too much? It could be different for each woman. If you’re a hard-core exerciser who still gets your period on time, he says, your workout routine is probably not a concern. However, according to Goldfarb, if you exercise too much, your menstrual cycle isn’t the first thing to go. “The first thing that happens is that your second half of your cycle becomes shorter. After you ovulate, you should have a period for 14 days, but too much exercise will shorten this period.” This is the first sign that you can reduce your workout routine. The only way to know for sure, he says, is to keep track of how long it takes you to get a period after you ovulate.
According to Goldfarb, the safest way to improve the odds of becoming pregnant while getting the health benefits of daily exercise is to do two and a half hours of moderate exercise per week (think brisk walking) (or at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week).
To raise the odds of becoming pregnant, Hillard recommends quitting smoking. Apart from the many negative health consequences of smoking, this bad habit also reduces fertility. “Estrogen levels and ovulation are affected.”
Also, don’t be too concerned with your day planner. “Within a year of trying, 85 percent of women will become pregnant,” Hillard says.