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11 Trying To Conceive Tips The Experts Want You To Know

 

Fertility tips

Whether you’ve just started trying to get pregnant or have been at it for a while, there are things that can help. From what you eat to how often you have sex, get clued up with these pearls of wisdom from the fertility experts.

1. Have regular sex

‘Every two or three days is ideal, as too much ejaculation or prolonged abstinence both have adverse effects on sperm quality and quantity,’ explains Dr Sarah Brewer, author of Planning a Baby? A Complete Guide to Pre-Conceptual Care. ‘Although if you’ve struggled to conceive in the past, it may be worth approaching it differently and holding off for as long as seven days before having sex during your fertile peak – this lets your partner’s sperm count build up.’

2. Ditch the cigarettes

‘If you can’t stop, then cut right down,’ says Sarah. ‘Women who smoke 10 or more cigarettes a day are three times more likely to have difficulty conceiving than non-smokers.’

3. Forget the Kama Sutra

‘When it comes to sex positions, missionary with a slightly tilted pelvis (i.e. a cushion under your bottom) can help,’ says Emma Cannon, fertility specialist and author of The Baby Making Bible. ‘But really I think the best advice is just to get on with it. Becoming too obsessive can create tension.’

4. Get weight ready

‘If you need to reduce your weight, do this before starting to try for a baby,’ says Emma. ‘Being over or under weight can both have a negative impact on fertility, but if you lose too much weight too quickly while you’re TTC, your body thinks it isn't the optimum time to conceive.’

5. Look after your body

If you’re trying to get pregnant, slowing down and taking care of your body is key, as Emma Cannon points out. ‘Over the last five years, I’ve noticed the exercise routines that women are putting themselves through can be really intense and really rigorous. The problem with this is it floods the body with adrenaline, which can tell the body it’s not a particularly good time to conceive. If you’ve been trying for a while and you are struggling, you need to just take a look at your exercise routine.’

6. Focus on the present

‘It’s difficult not to obsess about becoming pregnant and having a baby,’ says life coach and relationship expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams. ‘I advise clients trying to conceive that the best way to reduce this stress is to shift your focus from the end goal to the present – so savouring daily activities you’d usually rush through. When you let yourself live in the moment, things feel less overwhelming for you both.’

7. Put down the bottle opener

‘One study found that women who drink five or less units of alcohol per week were twice as likely to conceive within six months than those drinking ten units or more,’ says Sarah.

8. Don’t forget your relationship

‘When all your attention is on the process of trying to conceive, emotions can be neglected, which can lead to frustration, anger and disappointment,’ says Sloan. ‘So, actively make couple time to do things you enjoy and talk about everything other than conception.’

9. Balance your eating

‘But don't be fooled by fad diets,’ says Emma. ‘It's a good idea to cut out processed foods, but don't be tempted to ditch whole food groups or replace meals with juices. And go for foods that are high in antioxidants, omega 3 oils and protein.’ Emma also recommends not to eat raw foods after 4pm, as these can chill the digestion and lower the core body temperature.

10. Maximise your nutrition

‘As a safety net, take a multivitamin and mineral supplement especially designed for pregnancy or conception,’ says Sarah. ‘You’re looking for something that includes folic acid (400mcg daily), which helps to prevent certain developmental disorders in your baby such as spina bifida.’

11. Find success stories

‘Athletes look to people who have achieved what they want and recreate it, and in the same way this is a good time to look at tips and techniques that have worked for others and find one that feels authentic to you,’ says Sloan. ‘Acupuncture has been shown to reduce stress, and self-hypnosis is good for relaxation.’

Take a look at these ovulation facts: 

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The average woman’s’ cycle is 28 days, but your cycle can be anything from 22 to 36 days long. Ovulation normally happens about two weeks before your next period, so if your cycle is 28 days, you will ovulate around day 14. Work out when you are ovulating by using our ovulation calculator. 
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Your egg lives for up to 24 hours after leaving your ovary, so if you are having sex around your most fertile days, you’ll have the best chance of conceiving. 
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That said, your partner’s sperm can live for up to five days, so it’s a good idea to also have sex before ovulation occurs if you are trying to conceive. 
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Your partner will release around 250 million sperm during ejaculation, however only around 400 of these sperm will make the ten-hour journey from your vagina, through your cervix and up the fallopian tube, where it can penetrate the egg. Only one can burrow through your eggs outer membrane. 
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Ovulation can be affected by a number of different things including stress and illness. If you’ve been trying for a baby for a while, it might be time to take a look at your job stresses, or workout routine. 
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The sex of your baby is actually determined from the moment your partner’s sperm meets your egg – if the sperm is carrying a Y chromosome, you’ll have conceived a boy and if it’s an X chromosome, it’ll be a girl. 
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Every woman is born with millions of immature eggs – half of these will be absorbed by your ovaries before you reach adolescence, the other half will sit waiting for your ovulation cycle to begin. Only 300 to 500 of these eggs (medically referred to as oocytes) will become mature eggs in your lifetime.  
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You can have a period even if you haven’t ovulated and you can ovulate without having a period. 
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Some women experience some bleeding as their fertilised egg burrows into the lining of their womb, this is called implantation bleeding and can often be confused with a period. Here's how to tell the difference between implantation bleeding and a period
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If an egg is not fertilised by a sperm during the ovulation period, it will disintegrate and be absorbed into the lining of the uterus or pass out with the menstrual flow. 
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Ovulation happens thanks to two different hormones – during the most fertile week of your cycle, your levels of lutenising hormones (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) will rise. This stimulates the production of follicles in your ovary. 
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Each month, one follicle will become larger than the others and produce an egg. Usually only one egg will be released during each cycle. This follicle will also start to produce oestrogen, which tells your body to start thickening the lining of the womb for implantation. 
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Once the egg has been released, the same (now empty) follicle will produce another hormone – progesterone, which prevents the release of any more eggs this cycle. The empty follicle is medically referred to as corpus luteum. This level of progesterone remains high enough to prevent any more eggs from being released for the next 12 to 16 days, after which your cycle will start again. This is the same horomone that is in birth control pills. 
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Your egg is smaller than the head of a pin when it is released during ovulation. 
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Although a lot of women do not experience any physical signs of ovulating, one in five will experience lower abdominal pain, known as mittelschmerz – a German word meaning ‘middle pain’. 
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Another physical sign you are ovulating is a clear, somewhat elastic discharge in the days leading up to ovulation. It might sound gross, but try stretching it between two fingers so you know what to look out for each month. 
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If you want to be really sure when you are ovulating, monitoring your basal body temperature (BBT) is a good indicator. Your basal body temperature averages around 36.1-36.4°C before ovulation, and rises to between 36.4-37°C after ovulation. The downside to this method is that your body temperature changes 12 to 24 hours after ovulation has actually occurred, meaning there can be little time left to conceive. 
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Research has proved your sense of smell increases when you are ovulating. Science tells us you also look more attractive to your partner when you’re ovulating. 
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Home pregnancy tests work by checking your urine for the hormone hCG, that your body starts to make once a fertilised egg has been implanted in your uterus. However, this process can take several days, so if you take a test straight away, you might want to re-take it nearer to when your period is due. Find out more about when to take a pregnancy test here. 

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