Note – not doing these things will not keep you from getting pregnant!
Are you thinking of starting a family? Congratulations! Here are some helpful tips to increase your chances of a quick conception and a healthy pregnancy, and of course of bringing a healthy, happy baby into the world.
Before even going off birth control, think about nourishing those eggs and sperm, and her womb, for the healthiest baby.
- Schedule a medical checkup and blood work for both the man and the woman. The best time to prevent problems with conception or pregnancy is before you start trying to conceive. Your doctor will evaluate your health and your diet and look at all prescribed medications in terms of how they would affect conception and a developing baby. She may prescribe supplements to increase the health of egg and sperm, to prevent birth defects and ensure mom’s and baby’s health.
- Maintain a healthy weight. If either partner is significantly overweight or underweight, this can affect the hormones you need to conceive a healthy baby. Be sure to consult your doctor for the diet and exercise plan that is right for this time in your life. Over-exercise, for instance, inhibits conception but you need a strong body to make a baby. Some “magic weight loss” diets could provide too few of the nutrients you need.
- Eat a diet high in natural fruits and vegetables, preferably organic, and high in proteins. This is NOT the time for a fast-food diet, or one with many packaged or pre-made foods. It IS the time to push 13 or more servings of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables into your meals, actually the new USDA recommendation for us all. http://fnic.nal.usda.gov/dietary-guidance/fruits-veggies-more-matters-resources/fruits-veggies-more-matters To reach that total, some can be pureed and included in sauces and casseroles, some can be juiced or blended into a “green smoothie,” and you might be surprised at the flavor of grilled fruits and veggies. You will also actually need some healthy fats to metabolize some nutrients and to build a baby, which means sautéed veggies are IN!
- Take folic acid now. Some serious birth defects can happen in the first weeks after conception, before you even know you are pregnant. Folic acid can help to prevent those defects
- Both partners should STOP smoking and stop using recreational drugs, caffeine and alcohol. This will increase chances of conception and reduce the chances of birth defects in a baby. Did you know, for instance, that exposure to even second-hand smoke will reduce your baby’s IQ score up to 5 points and greatly increase the chance of a learning disability, in addition to increasing the chances for sudden infant death? http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=41584
How to know when to get busy once you are ready to start your family
- Calculate when she is ovulating. We measure the woman’s cycle of fertility(and a baby’s due date) from the first day of her last period. Start marking those dates on a calendar as soon as her periods resume. A women’s normal cycle can be anywhere between 25 and 35 days, with 28 days being “nice but not predictable.” Ovulation (release of her egg) usually happens mid-way through the cycle.
- Determine her fertile window. Understand the life cycle of an egg and a sperm. Her egg will only live for about a day after it is released, while healthy sperm may remain anxiously awaiting her arrival for 5 to 7 days. To get pregnant, you should have sex from 7 days prior to ovulation to up to one day after.
- Try a free online ovulation calculator to help you figure out your particular cycle such as this one. (http://www.webmd.com/baby/healthtool-ovulation-calculatorNote: After you stop using birth control, it may take a few cycles to start ovulating regularly.
- Try an ovulation test kit if you seem to be missing the mark. You can’t actually count on ovulating at 14 days, or even midway in a menstrual cycle. A recent National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study showed that ovulation varies from woman to woman. It could be as early as day 6 or as late as day 20 in your cycle. There are several ways to actually tell when she is ovulating. Ask your doctor to recommend an ovulation test kit, which checks for certain hormones in your urine, or note daily changes in your basal body temperature and cervical mucus to know exactly when she is ovulating. From there you can predict your probable fertile days more accurately.
About 1 in 6 couples will need extra help. If you are still having trouble, check these possibilities out.
- Reduce Stress. High levels of stress can affect both male and female hormones and fertility. So work on reducing stressful situations every day, increasing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, make sure to include opportunities for lots of laughter every day and focus on emotional as well as physical foreplay and then…well…abandon yourself to having as much spicy fun as possible in bed! Every position is as good as another – but it does help if she lies flat for 15 minutes or so in “the afterglow of love” to give those sperm a chance to get where they need to go. Maybe that’s why Mother Nature provides it.
- Check with the doctor. Both men and women can have medical issues that are preventing pregnancy. Check with your doctor to determine if one or both of you have a condition that is making it hard to conceive. Modern medicine has many ways to help with conception.
- Check for celiac disease. Most people, including many doctors, don’t know this, but celiac disease, a reaction to the gluten (protein) in wheat, rye, and barley, can cause infertility in both men and women. If this is the case, the problem clears once your system is free of gluten and healing. Your doctor can order tests to see if this is a problem for you. Most people with celiac disease are still undiagnosed and it causes a wide range of physical problems you wouldn’t think were related.
Don’t worry, most couples can get pregnant quickly when they adhere to these guidelines, and have a smooth pregnancy and healthy baby to love forever. And, for those who can’t modern medicine has developed many creative solutions.
If after several years of trying you still don’t succeed, even with the help of your doctors, even then you may be able to welcome a baby into your arms, which another couple are unable to care for through adoption. I myself have an adorable brand new grandbaby who came to my son and daughter-in-law from a wonderful couple who wanted to find her the perfect home. The new parents were even present in the delivery room! This was a win for the baby, a win for the natural parents and the biggest blessing ever to our own family!
Best of luck – and have fun trying!