Perhaps you’ve just started trying to conceive a baby, or maybe you’ve been trying to conceive for a long time. Either way, the following tips will help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
First, you must do all you can to ensure that if you do conceive, your body will be able to provide all that the baby needs to grow healthy and strong.
Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs must be avoided, including alcohol. Yes, alcohol is a drug. Ingesting drugs could cause your baby problems such as addiction, growth deformities, retardation, and brain damage. Any amount is potentially harmful. It is not worth the risk!
Smoking and Tobacco
The same goes for smoking and other forms of tobacco. The risks include premature birth, placenta previa, placental abruption, breathing problems for your baby, and various illnesses.
Caffeine should not be overlooked, either, as it is a strong stimulant, and some studies have shown that the risk of miscarriage is increased by too much caffeine. Caffeine can be found in coffee, soda, and chocolate.
Also beware of chemicals. All chemicals you come in contact with may be potentially hazardous. Learn what the risks are and how to avoid them. If your house was built before 1978, lead paint may be a problem. Have your paint tested, because lead is harmful to a baby’s growing brain. Reassess any chemical cleaners you use at home or in the workplace, and at the very least, wear rubber gloves when using them.
Now that the negatives are out of the way, let’s focus on the positives!
Eat a healthy diet to ensure that you are getting the nutrients that your body, and your baby, will need to ensure a healthy pregnancy. This means a varied diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, grains, and protein. Don’t overdo the high-sugar, fatty treats.
Drink at least six to eight glasses of water a day. This keeps you hydrated and helps remove toxins from your body. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to fill your glass. By then you are already dehydrated!
It is important to have a sufficient intake of vitamins, but it is best to get these from your food. A good prenatal vitamin is a wise “safety net” that can be taken if okayed by your doctor. Folic acid (folate) is vital for a woman trying to conceive. Make sure you have four milligrams (4,000 micrograms)of folic acid every day to prevent neural tube defects in your baby-to-be. Overloading on vitamins can be bad, however, as too much A or D can cause birth defects.
Regular exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle and pregnancy. Establish a reasonable routine of exercise now, and you will be able to keep this up while pregnant, meaning you will feel and look better.
Your Weight Affects Fertility
This is more true than many women realize. Being overweight or underweight can negatively affect your fertility. Learn what your healthy weight is for your age and height, and try to reach that weight before becoming pregnant, because pregnancy is no time for dieting!
Know Your Cycle Length
Before you can pinpoint the best time to try to conceive, you must be familiar with the length of your menstrual cycle. Normal cycle lengths can be anywhere from about 21 days to 35. Day 1 of your cycle begins on the day you start your period. Cycles can be thrown out of whack by working long shifts, night shifts, frequent travel, unhealthy dietary habits, and stress. This in turn can affect ovulation.
The key to conceiving is to know when you ovulate. It is a common misconception that women ovulate on day 14. This number comes from an average, for women who have 28-day cycles, and may not be correct for you. Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days before your next cycle begins. So if you have a 35 day cycle, you more likely ovulate on day 21.
But there is more you can do than merely make an educated guess. There are several different ways to figure out when you ovulate. You can watch for your body’s natural signs, or take things a step further and use an ovulation prediction test of some kind.
Some women can tell when they ovulate. They feel a pain on the side of their pelvis area, and this is called “mittelschmerz,” a German word for “middle pain”. This can be a confusing method of detecting ovulation, however, and cannot be relied upon for most women.
2. Cervical Mucous
By keeping track of the changes in your cervical mucous throughout your cycle, you can roughly estimate your time of ovulation. When the cervical mucous changes from a thick, sticky discharge to a more plentiful liquid of egg white consistency (that can be stretched about three inches between your fingers), you are in your fertile period.
3. Cervix Consistency
As you near ovulation, the tissues of your cervix become softer. How do you check for this? Wash your hands thoroughly and use your index finger. When the cervix feels soft as an ear lobe or like the inside of your cheek, then you are close to ovulating.
4. Basal Body Temperature
When a woman ovulates, her body’s temperature rises ever-so-slightly. This method has been used for decades, but can be confusing and tricky. First, you will need a basil body thermometer, which measures minute temperature changes of .1 degree. A digital basal body thermometer is easier to read and it registers faster. You must take your temperature the same time and way every morning before getting out of bed or even speaking, so as not to affect your temperature. Each movement you make decreases your chances of an accurate reading. Then you chart this information, looking for at least a .4 degree rise from your average temperature to indicate ovulation. You may detect a drop in temperature right before ovulation. By now you can see there is a large margin for error with this method, and you could end up detecting ovulation too late.
5. Ovulation Prediction with the Help of Technology
The following are more reliable than the above methods:
Ovulation Prediction Kits
Always follow the instructions precisely. These kits are fairly easy to use, but the cost varies greatly. You begin testing several days before you would expect to ovulate. You test each day using urine, much like a pregnancy test (do not use first morning urine, though, as this is too concentrated). The test detects LH (luteinizing hormone), and the test line darkens when it is time to start trying to conceive.
A fertility monitor is a little computer that tells you when you should test you urine. Then it tests it for you and produces a result of low, high, or fertile, based on the levels of LH and estrogen detected. This monitor is costly, however, and you do need to keep buying urine test sticks.
Also known as saliva testers or ferning testers, ovulation microscopes are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to test for your fertile period. They are simple to use but highly accurate—over 90% so. Another plus is that you test your saliva instead of urine.
To use an ovulation microscope, you place a saliva drop on the glass, let it dry, then observe the results, twisting the lens to focus. When your first see a ferning, crystal-like pattern (like frost on glass), you know that ovulation will be occurring soon, within about four days. This gives you ample time to attempt conception. As you continue to test each day, the ferning becomes more distinct as you reach your time of ovulation.
The microscopes resemble a lipstick tube, so you can carry it easily in your purse wherever you go. You can use it any time of day or night. Best of all, you can use it over and over again—perfect for those women who love to test. At less than $30, an ovulation microscope is a great value!
Timing and Frequency:
Once you know when you ovulate, you can use this knowledge to time intercourse. Some couples simply have intercourse every day in an attempt to get pregnant. This is not the best way, however, because this can cause a lower sperm count. Instead, it is wiser to have sex every other day. However, “saving” up sperm for a long time will not increase your chances, and can result in less effective sperm. Once you have figured out when you expect to ovulate, time intercourse for a few days before, during, and after ovulation.
For example, if you expect to ovulate on day 16, you ideally want to have sex on 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20. Remember, sperm can live for three days or longer once inside you, but the egg is only viable for twelve to twenty-four hours.
After intercourse, it is recommended that you lie on your back and elevate your hips by placing a pillow under them. This makes it easier for the sperm to reach its destination. Staying like this for about a half an hour should be sufficient. Now you just need to wait two weeks till you can take a pregnancy test and try for that big fat positive!
Those of you who are trying to conceive will find the products in this store invaluable: