You’ve had the chat, abandoned the birth control and are ready to start trying to conceive. But before you leave everything in the hands of fate, read our useful advice on how to get pregnant so you’re healthy and prepared.
How to plan for pregnancy
To really boost your chances of a speedy conception, think about your lifestyle. Firstly consider giving up smoking and stopping or reducing alcoholic drinks because both affect not just your fertility, but your partner’s too. Caffeine can also slow down conception, so try and cut it out by switching to caffeine-free coffee and Coke, or herbal tea.
Experts recommend that women who are trying to conceive take a folic acid supplement (400 micrograms a day until 12 weeks pregnant), or a prenatal vitamin that includes folic acid, which is essential for healthy foetal development and has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
How to align your pregnancy plan with your ovulation cycle
Women are only fertile for a few days each month, so knowing you are having sex at the right time will definitely improve your chances.
Have you tried our ovulation calculator? Just put in the first day of your last period and the length of your cycle and it’ll show you the optimum days in your cycle, known as your ‘fertile window’ to try and conceive.
Have you taken any steps toward a healthy pregnancy?
Your weight can not only play a role in how quickly you become pregnant, because it can affect the frequency of ovulation, it can also affect your health during pregnancy.
Work out your body mass index by putting your height and weight into an online BMI calculator. If the results show you’re over or under weight, your GP may refer you to a dietician or recommend an exercise programme to help you reach your ideal BMI and get your body in the best condition to conceive.
What foods are good for getting pregnant?
Diet isn’t only important for health, it can impact your fertility, too. Making sure you include certain healthy foods in your diet will ensure your body isn’t deficient in any of the key baby-making nutrients and vitamins.
For example, spinach contains zinc, key for healthy egg and sperm production. Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6, which helps regulate hormones.
A lack of vitamin D has been shown to increase rates of infertility, so eat eggs or fortified cereals for breakfast.
Take a look at fertility superfoods for lots more ideas.
When to seek medical advice
Simply answer the question: How long have you been trying to get pregnant for? If it’s under a year, the doctor will probably tell you to keep trying!
If it’s over a year, then visit your GP. They will be able to refer you to specialists who will run a range of fertility tests to see if there’s an underlying medical reason why you’ve been struggling to conceive.
If you’re over 36, you’re advised to seek medical help after six months of trying to conceive.
Good luck! And for lots more advice on how to get pregnant, take a look at our Pregnancy Planning section.