Making the decision to grow your family can be exciting, and the thought of welcoming a little one can be heartwarming.
Trying to fall pregnant can sometimes be quick and easy, or you might have a longer path to follow.
Either way, it is tricky to time when you fall pregnant but here are a few things you can do to help the process along.
There are many factors that will influence how and when you get pregnant. Many things can affect fertility including age, level of fitness, smoking, weight, and other health factors.
Some of these you may not be able to change, but there are often things that you can do to improve your chances of getting pregnant and reduce the risk of complications in your pregnancy.
Getting pregnant is an exciting time in both your and your partner’s life! When you get started, make sure to take the following factors into consideration to help you fall pregnant:
Interestingly, the most common cause of infertility is 'unexplained', which means that following thorough investigations, doctors can find no specific or identifiable medical problem at the root. Fertility is multi-factorial, in other words, there are many things that can affect one's ability to conceive, and they are not all medical! To find the cause of fertility problems, it is important to look at every aspect of your health, your emotions and your lifestyle.
The natural approach to fertility is and has been enormously successful, largely because fertility is multi-factorial. A study conducted by the University of Surrey showed that couples with a previous history of infertility that made changes in their lifestyle and diet and took nutritional supplements had an 80 percent success rate. Given that the success rate for IVF is around 25 percent, it's worth considering these options.
The first step in getting pregnant is to come off of your birth control - seems easy, right? Well, this would have to depend on what kind of birth control you are on as many have different effects on your reproductive system.
Yes, there are some women who fall pregnant immediately after coming off of their birth control, but in the majority of the time, birth control needs to leave your system before pregnancy can occur.
If you are on the depo vera shot, try to come off of it 9 months before you want to conceive. Most birth controls take a few months to get your ovulation cycle back to normal. Once you start having regular cycles, your ovulation will return back to its normal state.
Due to the fact that women can only fall pregnant on a few days of their menstrual cycle - getting your timing right can dramatically help your chances of falling pregnant.
Here’s the science behind it: when you are ovulating, this means that a mature egg is being released from your ovary and into the fallopian tube, where it will potentially be fertilised. By having intercourse during this time, you are allowing the opportunity for the sperm to meet the egg in the fallopian tube, resulting in conception.
That is exactly why it is important to track your monthly cycle and time your intercourse for this specific period. PLEASE NOTE: Having an intercourse after this fertility window (usually only 5 days somewhere in the middle of your cycle), will mean that the egg will be long gone (it only lives about 24 hours after ovulation) and conception simply won’t be possible.
Thus, the times that you should highlight are the 5 days before ovulation or the day of ovulation and the day that you start ovulating. Having intercourse during this time will heighten your chances of getting pregnant. You are most fertile on the day of your ovulation and the day before that (when Luteinizing Hormone levels rise, which can be indicated by home Ovulation Predictor Kits).
This is when your chances of getting pregnant are higher. Keep in mind that after 12-24 hours after ovulation, your key fertility window is closed as the egg is no longer in the fallopian tube.
If you are a smoker or tend to enjoy some alcoholic indulgences, it is recommended that these be removed these from your day-to-day activities. Incorporating more (moderate and not excessive) exercise and healthy living patterns into your lifestyle will make for a better, more healthy fertility environment. Ensure that you have a good balanced diet to keep your blood in check.
There have been studies that show that babies inherit intestine microflora from their mothers during labour, and the level of ‘good’ bacteria in your gut will determine would your baby suffer from colic pain (and sleepless nights) or not. See more on this below.
If you love coffee, don’t worry about drinking the recommended amount a day (about 2 cups), as there has been no real link established between drinking coffee and not conceiving a baby.
Spending a bit more time outside could also generate quite a bit of endorphins - and you will need a lot of these if your ‘baby-making marathon’ becomes a matter of months or even years.
A woman is twice as likely to get pregnant if she doesn't smoke compared to a woman who does. And smoking is linked to 5,000 miscarriages per year.
Smoking also reduces the chances of an IVF treatment being successful. If couples smoke during the IVF cycle the number of eggs retrieved is decreased by 40 per cent and 46 per cent if just the man smokes during the cycle. Also, the overall success rate of the IVF was 44 per cent for non-smokers and 24 per cent for smokers.
When trying to fall pregnant it is always a good idea to treat your body like a temple and to create a healthy environment for your future baby. There are a few vitamins and supplements that you should take, when you are trying to conceive.
Most of the following vitamins and supplements are available to buy in supermarkets and pharmacies. It’s recommended that you take folic acid (400 micrograms a day) for three months before starting trying for a baby, and until the end of the first trimester.
The folic acid will decrease the risk of birth defects and can increase your partner’s sperm count if they are also taking the supplement. Vitamin D will help develop your baby and can help your blood pressure levels to ensure a healthy birth.
Other vitamins and supplements that you could look at taking are magnesium, vitamin C and E, zinc, and plenty of antioxidants. There are lots of options available that provide the entire pre-conception complex in one pill!
Opting for a healthier diet is a great way to help you and your partner to fall pregnant. For both men and women, a change of diet can affect their fertility levels. Maintaining a balanced diet can assist with sperm levels, vaginal PH levels, and have an overall impact on your baby-making environment. Get enough nutrients through certain foods and vitamins.
Food like fruit, vegetables, yogurt, whole grains, fish with low level of Mercury and high in Omega-3 and non-processed meats are best for fertility.
Simple nutrients like antioxidants have been shown to significantly boost male fertility and also help women improve their chances of success during IVF. Similarly, deficiencies of certain nutrients such as vitamin D can have an enormous effect on both male and female fertility. But couples don't often hear about these simple and practical dietary changes that can mean the difference between getting pregnant and not getting pregnant.
The Omega 3 fatty acids have a profound effect on every system of the body, including the reproductive system and they are crucial for healthy hormone functioning. Sometimes immune problems may be affecting a woman's ability to get and stay pregnant. The theory is that in order for her body to stay pregnant, her immune system has to quieten down because half the baby's DNA is not hers. Normally if the body detects something foreign it aims to reject it and expel it from the body. For some women, their immune systems do not quieten down and so they can't get or stay pregnant.
One of the immune antibodies measured is called antiphospholipid antibodies (APAs). These blood-clotting antibodies can prevent implantation and cause recurrent miscarriage by attacking the cells that build the placenta. The medical treatment for this is blood thinners like aspirin and heparin. But research has shown that fish oil given to 22 women with APAs who already had 3 or more miscarriages went on to have 23 pregnancies (one woman had twins) without a miscarriage.
Having a healthy vaginal environment can assist you in getting pregnant by boosting the sperm’s ability to reach the egg. Sperm needs a alkaline environment to prolong their time to fertilise the egg.
You can change up your diet to assist with your PH levels. Drinking more water could also help with your fertile mucus production - fertile mucus resembles an egg white and is stretchy and very shiny.
This is because it is lower on acid and higher on water during your fertile time, which creates a perfect environment needed for the sperm to survive till meeting your egg.
It’s never a bad thing to look to your GP or fertility specialist for help and advice. If you have been trying to fall pregnant for over a year and you haven’t conceived yet, it is wise to pay your doctor a visit. Factors such as age or previous health issues can make it more difficult for getting pregnant.
After 6 months of trying for a baby, consult your doctor for extra advice. One of the first tests the doctor could run is to check your hormone levels at two stages of you cycle, your partner’s sperm quality and quantity, as well as an STD check, to ensure you have the right health conditions for conception.
The doctor will also ask for your health history and whether or not either you or your partner had chlamydia or gonorrhoea which are both potential factors of in- and sub-fertility. Only then would she be able to find the best strategy for your family planning.