Trying to get pregnant can be easy for some and extremely hard for others. Here, we've researched the best things you can do to try and increase your chances of conception...
What should I eat?
A balanced diet is absolutely vital when trying to get pregnant for both you and your partner.
- Researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health studied nearly 19,000 female nurses who were actively trying to get pregnant and found that women who ate a lot of plant protein were substantially more likely to conceive. Lentils, tofu, edamame, and nuts are excellent sources of plant-based proteins.
- When it comes to dairy products, opt for full-fat as opposed to reduced or skimmed. The Nurses' Health Study found that one or two daily servings of whole milk or whole milk products protect against ovulatory infertility. It is thought removing the fat from milk changes its balance of sex hormones, which will hinder ovulation.
- Leafy greens can substantially increase fertility in both you and your partner. Spinach, romaine, arugula, broccoli, kale and other dark leafy greens are high in folate, a B vitamin that improves ovulation. Also, men who get higher doses of folate produce healthier sperm. An excellent way to ensure you're eating enough greens is purchasing in a Nutribullet which means you can mix multiple greens in a blend and cosume it on the move.
- Wholegrain carbs should replace all refined carbs as they take longer than refined ones to digest which helps to keep blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Increased insulin levels can disrupt reproductive hormones. A study that looked at 165 couples trying to get pregnant found that when women had high levels of blood sugar they were only half as likely to have conceived over a six-month period.
- Omega-3 fatty acids may help to regulate reproductive hormones and increase blood flow to the reproductive organs. However you must avoid high-mercury fish, such as swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish. Eat lots of cold-water fish as they contain the highest amount of omega-3s and fish such as Salmon and canned light tuna as it's lower in mercury than other types.
- Eat lean protein in moderation and avoid all smoked meat.
- Avoid trans-fats at all costs. These fats, found in baked goods as well as processed and fried food, decrease the body's ability to react to insulin, which will make you more prone to irregular ovulation.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Although some studies suggest you can have one mug/glass a day - it's better to cut it out completely for maximum results.
What supplements should I take?
- Iron is highly advised. One study found that women who regularly took an iron supplement (which is non-heme iron) were 40 percent less likely to have trouble conceiving.
- You should take a 400 microgram folic acid tablet every day while you are trying to get pregnant and until you are 12 weeks pregnant.
- You and your partner should both take zinc supplements. Zinc contributes to ovulation and fertility in women and also semen and testosterone production in men which will have an affect on your ability to conceive.
- Multivitamins also boost fertility. In a study of over 18,000 women who were trying to get pregnant, researchers found a correlation between taking a multivitamin supplement and having a lower chance of ovulation problems.
When should I come off contraception?
How should I stop taking the pill?
Combined: It's best to wait until the end of your current packet. This means you will get a withdrawal bleed as usual but your next bleed will be a proper period. Mini: You can stop whenever you like.
What happens when I come off the pill?
When you stop using the pill, your periods can start any time from a couple of weeks to a few months later - it may be a while before they're regular again. You're likely to get some light bleeding for a few days, but note that this isn't a period, it's normally just withdrawal bleeding.
How long will it take to get pregnant after stopping the pill?
Doctors tend to recommend that you have at least one proper period before you start trying for a baby - this is mainly because it allows them to calculate an accurate due date.
How do I get it removed?
Book an appointment at your doctor's surgery. The operation is very minor and should be straightforward. You will have a tiny slit insertion under local Anesthetic and they will remove it for you there and then.
How long will it take to get pregnant after having the implant removed?
The average person finds that they are fertile straight away following the removal of their implant.
How do I stop the effects of the injection?
To stop the effect of the injection you need to stop renewing it.
How long will it take to get pregnant having stopped renewing the injection?
Typically injection users need to leave a minimum of a year before being able to conceive however for some, their ovulation cycle returns quicker than others so they can get pregnant straight away.
How do I know when I'm ovulating?
A woman typically ovulates about 14 days before her next period - not mid-cycle, as it is commonly thought. If you have a 28-day cycle, which is the average, then you would ovulate around halfway through your cycle. If, however, you have a 35-day cycle, you're likely to ovulate around day 21, not day 17. Note, day one is the first day of your period. The easiest way to work out your cycle is by using an ovulation calculator. Google search the term and multiple options will come up.
Are there any signs of ovulation?
- An increase in cervical mucus (discharge) can show when you're most fertile. When your mucus becomes clear, slippery and stretchy - a bit like raw egg white - you are at a more optimum condition to conceive.
- You may suffer from breast tenderness.
- Some women find they have an increase in their sex drive whilst ovulating. Perhaps it's Mother Nature telling you to mate, mate, mate.
- You can suffer from cramps, much like period cramps.
- You may feel a change in your body temperature. During the first half of your cycle, dominates. During the second half of your cycle (once ovulation has occurred), there is a surge in progesterone. Progesterone increases your body temperature as it gets your uterus ready for a fertilized, implantable egg.
Please note, these symptoms can occur when you're not ovulating as well.
When is the best time to have sex when trying for a baby?
It's extremely important to have daily intercourse in the days leading to ovulation and on the day that you ovulate to increase the likelihood of getting pregnant.
How often should we be having sex?
Regularly and frequently - the more you have it, the more likely you are to conceive.
Are there particular sex positions that make it easier to conceive?
There is no scientific evidence for this but it is commonly believed that the deeper the penetration the more likely it is that the sperm will reach the fallopian tube. Missionary with your hips raised, the woman on top and doggy are all recommended.
Do I need to orgasm to conceive?
Sadly it's only important that your partner orgasms so that the sperm can fertilise the egg. Female orgasms are purely for pleasure and they won't help couples to conceive.
Should I stay lying down after sex?
There are millions of sperm in every ejaculation so this is not essential. However, it won't hurt to try. It could be worth stay lying down for up to half an hour after sex so that the semen stays in your vagina. Try lying on your back with your hips raised on a pillow to encourage the sperm through the cervix, uterus and into your fallopian tubes.
How long should I try conceiving for before getting help?
Around 6 in 10 couples conceive within the first three months when trying to get pregnant naturally however the length conception takes is largely dependent on age:
- Over 40: seek advice straight away.
- 35-40: Try for six months before seeking assistance.
- Under 35: It should be fine to try for up to one year.
If you suspect a fertility problem in either you or your partner, consult your doctor.
What options are out there for conceiving?
The fertility treatment you receive will depend on the cause of your fertility problem. There are various medicinal options, surgical procedures and assisted conception options, such as sperm and egg donation, available but you must consult a medical professional at either your doctor's or hospital first.
PLEASE NOTE: This article is for information purposes only and should only be considered as a guide, not a specific diagnosis, treatment plan or solution for those trying to conceive. Always seek the help of a professional in connection to any issues or questions you have regarding your health and fertility.