Before you begin this journey, if you have taken Depo Provera for birth control, please understand it can take up to 2 years for the effects to completely disappear.
When a woman is trying to become pregnant, it sometimes seems to be a simple and rather easy feat. She decides that she wants to conceive a baby, and next thing you know, “BOOM!”, 9 months later you’re guessing whether it’s going to be a boy or a girl.
Unfortunately, not all women are as lucky. Some women decide that they want to have a baby, unaware that their journey is going to be long, bumpy and difficult to traverse. However, though there are things that can happen or perhaps make it difficult for you to achieve your goal, there are also some things that can make it easier and much more likely to happen. This is a simple list of 20 things that may actually assist you in helping you to reach your ultimate goal….. a baby.
- 1 Give Up Smoking
- 2 Weight
- 3 Find out exactly when your ovulation occurs
- 4 Don’t worry about the position you have sex in, but DO stay laying down
- 5 Be careful of your cell phones, hands-free devices, etc
- 6 Keep your man from wearing tight-fitting clothing and more
- 7 Stress
- 8 Make sure to have sex on a regular basis
- 9 Don’t overdo it when it comes to exercise
- 10 Make certain to optimize your “conception sex”
- 11 Caffeine
- 12 Foods that can increase your fertility
- 13 Get more sleep
- 14 Supplements
- 15 Stay away from pesticides and herbicides and insecticides
- 16 Give up alcohol
- 17 Get some sun
- 18 Drink more water
- 19 Try out a free fertility phone app or calculator
- 20 Cut out over-the-counter painkillers and arthritis medications
Give Up Smoking
What many people do not realize, is just how much of a roadblock this particular thing could be to your ability to become pregnant. There have been numerous studies done on the use of tobacco and how it can affect your fertility, not to mention several facts as well. Women who are smokers are much more likely to have issues with infertility than women who are not. And the longer and larger of an amount that you continue to smoke also has an effect, not to mention the damaging consequences of secondhand smoke. In fact, experts in the field of fertility have made the statements that fertility can be almost as affected by secondhand smoke as it can if you were smoking the cigarettes yourself.
The main fertility risks that smoking can cause include:
- Damage to your eggs
- Problems with ovulation
- Increased risks for both miscarriage and cancer
- Genetic issues
- Premature menopause
- Damage to any of your reproductive organs
Unfortunately, men are not exempt from infertility problems brought on by the use of cigarettes or tobacco either.
Some of the problems that they can face include:
- Low sperm counts
- Erectile dysfunction
- Problems with sperm motility
- Hormonal issues
Women that attempt to get pregnant with the assistance of fertility treatments have also proven to take longer to conceive as well. And if you do become pregnant and smoke, it has been shown that smokers not only have a higher chance of giving birth to a baby with health issues, but also are at a much higher risk for miscarriage. So, if you want to BECOME pregnant and STAY pregnant, quit smoking at least a few months before you want to begin trying to conceive, and improve your chances for motherhood.
If you are vastly under or over a healthy weight, it is recommended that you gain or lose the amount needed for your BMI (Body Mass Index) to become as close as it needs to be as possible. It has been shown repeatedly that obesity and anovulation (lack of ovulation) are connected. There is also something called oligoovulation (where ovulation is not completely absent but is irregular) both of which are forms of ovulatory dysfunction. Actually, ovulatory dysfunction is quite a common cause of infertility in women, occurring in up to a surprising 40% of them. It has also been shown that even women who are still ovulating normally can have problems if they are overweight or obese. Many experience something that is called, sub-fertility, which is when one has a much lower than normal chance of conception, however, the chance of a spontaneous pregnancy is still possible. A normal BMI is anywhere between 18.5 and 24.9, any BMI 25 and over is considered to be overweight. Additionally, according to one specific study, any woman that has a BMI unit that is over 29 drops their chances of becoming pregnant by a whopping 4% per unit, when compared with women who had a body mass index between 21 and 29. Here’s site with a free BMI calculator CLICK HERE to find out your BMI.
Now, if you have a BMI that is too low due to being underweight, you are going to have similar problems. You will more than likely not ovulate and/or you will have irregular menstrual cycles or none at all. The minimum amount of body fat content needed to have and keep regular periods, as well as to ovulate, is approximately 22%. Anything under this amount of body fat, and no signal leaves the pituitary gland to let your ovaries know that they are supposed to release an egg, because the flow of hormones that travels from your brain to the pituitary gland is disrupted. So, if you are concerned that you are either under or overweight, take your BMI and find out. Look online, it is a very simple process. Then, if you are under 18.5 or over 25, you will know what you need to do.
Find out exactly when your ovulation occurs
If you want to become pregnant, just knowing that you ovulate each month is not enough. You need to spend a few months before you actually begin trying, figuring out the exact time that you are going to be the most fertile. First, you must stop taking any birth control that you may be on. Second, use an ovulation calculator, which will give you more of a general idea of when you will be the most fertile. To be even more exact, begin charting what is called your basal body temperature or your lowest body temp in a 24-hour period. This is done with a specialized thermometer called a basal thermometer. This must be done each morning after you wake up and before you sit up. After the first month you will have a good idea when you are going to ovulate, but testing for a few months more is the best idea so that you can be as exact as possible and understand your ovulation pattern. You can also use an ovulation predictor kit, which works by detecting hormone in your urine, and telling you that you are about to ovulate.
Don’t worry about the position you have sex in, but DO stay laying down
Many people think that the “perfect” sexual position is the key to getting pregnant. Not true. In fact, some gravity defying positions even have the opposite effect, because they let the sperm run out and away from the cervix. Instead of concerning yourself with specific positions, just stay in a laying down position after you have had sex. You don’t need to lift your feet in the air, (as many may have suggested) as your pelvis doesn’t move by doing this, so it gives you no additional help. Just lay on your back, immediately after having had sex, for an approximate time of 10 to 15 minutes. This will give the sperm the time that they need to reach the cervix. Also, do not go to the bathroom before the 10-15 minutes are up.
Be careful of your cell phones, hands-free devices, etc
Many who are using hands-free devices with their cell phones, are unaware of the possible effect that it could be having on their fertility, mostly men. The reason being, that most men who use a hands-free device with their cell phone, tend to keep it all in their trouser pocket, right near their testicles. There have been many studies that suggest that RF-EMR (radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation) is a danger to fertility. According to a recent meta-study (which is a study of many other studies) led by Dr. Fiona Matthews of Biosciences at the University of Exeter, and published in the journal Environmental International on June 10, 2014, shows an 8.1% drop in sperm’s motility and a 10% change in their viability (if they can actually make it to the egg) from carrying cell phones in their trouser pockets. So, even if your partner does not want to refrain from using cell phones altogether, at least have them keep it out of their pants’ pockets. One additional note: Also keep your guy from sitting his laptop on his lap as well. Not only can his testicles get overheated from the computer, but they can be exposed to RF-EMR this way as well.
Keep your man from wearing tight-fitting clothing and more
Men who wear clothing that is tight-fitting can have a bad effect on sperm counts. Spending a great deal of time in hot tubs or Jacuzzi’s can also have a very negative effect on a man’s sperm count. In addition, a few other items that may have an effect on a man’s sperm levels are edamame and various other soy foods. Men who have been shown to eat a lot of soy foods have also been shown to have lower sperm concentrations, according to a study that was published online in Human Reproduction. Staying away from any of these things will help to keep a man’s sperm count where it needs to be.
Believe it or not, being too stressed can actually interfere with trying to conceive. Though there is not yet enough data to prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt, there is definitely enough to show that being stressed and having difficulty becoming pregnant are somehow linked. Says Dr. Allen Morgan of the Shore Institute for Reproductive Medicine in Lakewood, N.J., “What we do know now is that when stress- reduction techniques are employed, something happens in some women that allow them to get pregnant when they couldn’t get pregnant before.” Though doctors are not absolutely certain of exactly how the link between fertility and stress work, it is thought to have something to do with hormones such as cortisol or epinephrine, which can many times stay at high levels when one is chronically stressed. And therefore, it is believed that by reducing stress, it may help to enhance proteins located within the lining of the uterus, and are actually involved in the implantation process. Stress reduction is also believed to increase the amount of blood flow that goes to the uterus. This also has great effect on whether or not a woman is easily or actually able to conceive.
Many doctors believe that acupuncture may hold the key to this issue. By stimulating certain points on the body, it is believed to help increase blood flow to the uterus, as well as assist with controlling ovulation. One study that was done on acupuncture and women, who were entered into an infertility program, was particularly promising. The results were then published in the journal Fertility and Sterility. What was discovered, was that the women who had acupuncture treatments just before an embryo transfer into the uterus, and then again just after, had a pregnancy rate of 42.5%. This was much higher than the women who did not have the acupuncture treatments, as their rate of pregnancy was only 26.3%.
There can be other things that may help to bring a woman’s level of stress down, and anything that can make you more relaxed will always be a good option. For instance, massage, sometime away, etc. Just make certain that you don’t choose anything that could do harm to you or your body, as you want to be in the best health that you can possibly be in when you reach your goal of becoming pregnant.
Make sure to have sex on a regular basis
Even if you have sex every single day during ovulation, you will not necessarily increase your odds of getting pregnant. However, if you have sex on a regular basis, especially during ovulation time, but also when it’s not, you will increase your chances of conception. The best thing would be having sex every other night at ovulation time, and as close to that as possible the rest of the time. This will help to increase your chances of becoming pregnant. After all, sperm have the ability to live for up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse, which means that even if you did not have sex that day, if you had sex in the previous day or two, you could still become pregnant. It also increases the chances that you will have sex when you are at your most fertile times. In addition, having sex more often will actually improve the health of the sperm, which also means a better shot at conception. And according to some recent preliminary research, having sex after ovulation as well as before and during, may play a very important role in becoming pregnant. The reason for this is due to research showing that semen exposure may possibly play a part in the implantation stage of the embryo. So take the time, enjoy each other and help increase your odds.
Don’t overdo it when it comes to exercise
Though keeping fit and exercising is a very, very important thing to do, be careful, sometimes you can exercise TOO MUCH! While it’s definitely true that exercise can help to keep you at your optimal weight, keep your muscles toned and just help you to stay feeling healthy, if you’re trying to become pregnant, you don’t want to go overboard.
If you exercise too often or heavily, you can actually stop ovulating. If you are someone who already exercises quite a bit, and still gets their menstrual cycle regularly, you more than likely do not have a problem. But if you have only stepped up your exercise routine recently, you might want to take it back down a bit. You won’t lose your menstrual period first from over exercising, but instead will have a shorter second half to your cycle. Your period should arrive 14 days after you ovulate, if this phase is shorter than that, this may be your first sign that you need to slow down.
Make certain to optimize your “conception sex”
One thing that many people are unaware of, is that personal lubricants such as KY Jelly or Astroglide are actually harmful and dangerous for sperm. The many chemicals in the lubricants tend to kill off a good number of sperm, as well as prevent them from swimming and reaching the destination that they so desperately need to get to. The best idea is not to use any lubricant at all; however, if there is a problem that makes lubricant necessary or is just something that you and your partner do not want to do without, there are some sperm-friendly options available.
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B002V0ZJ4Y” locale=”US” tag=”40weekspreg-20″]Conceive Plus[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B00VVKUJN6″ locale=”US” tag=”40weekspreg-20″]Yes Baby[/easyazon_link]
- [easyazon_link identifier=”B004382GWK” locale=”US” tag=”40weekspreg-20″]PreSeed[/easyazon_link]
- Canola or Baby Oil
Though many studies have been performed on whether caffeine affects fertility or not, no definitive answers have been found. Some studies seem to lean toward it being a problem, while others do not. However, if you’re trying to get pregnant and are trying to do so as quickly as possible, cutting back for a while may not be a bad idea.
Foods that can increase your fertility
Fertility super foods are a hot new craze these days, although there is no real proof that any specific food actually helps one’s fertility. However, there are some very basic facts that we do know for certain that relate food and fertility. First, there are certain nutrients that play a role that is absolutely essential in the reproductive system. And the things that we eat are an important way to receive those. Second, according to some research, people who consume certain foods often have fewer fertility issues. (And in some cases they have fewer fertility issues for certain foods that they do NOT consume.)
Here are some foods that are well known for helping to boost fertility.
- Sunflower Seeds
- Mature Cheeses (Cheddar, Manchego, Parmesan, etc.)
- Liver (especially from cows)
- Grapefruit Juice
- Cooked Tomatoes
- Dried Fruits (prunes, raisins, apricots, dates, etc.)
- Full Fat Dairy Products (ice cream, yogurt, cream cheese, whole milk, etc.)
- Beans (all but especially black beans)
- Orange Juice
- Peas and Chickpeas
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Maca Root (sometimes eaten as a vegetable and in the same family as things like cabbage and broccoli)
Here are some foods you may want to avoid.
- Low-Fat Dairy Foods
- Soy Based Foods of any kind
- Large amounts of food that come from cans, lined with BPA
- High-Mercury Fish
- Trans-Fatty Acids (commonly found in items such as donuts, fast food and various junk foods)
- White Breads
Men who had high concentrations of trans-fatty acids in their semen had a shocking 96% fewer sperm than men who had low concentrations of trans-fatty acids in their semen. This statistic is from a Harvard-affiliated study that was able to confirm previous studies that suggest “trans-fatty acids can affect spermatogenesis profoundly.” Though they still have yet to determine the timespan over which trans-fatty acids accumulate in the testes, or how long they stay there, one thing is for certain, the higher the levels of trans-fatty acids in a man’s semen, the more excessively it will lower a man’s sperm count. Thusly, the less trans-fatty acids a man eats, the higher his sperm count will be and the better and more likely chance that you will have to conceive.
Get more sleep
This may sound like nothing that could help you become pregnant, but that is very, very untrue. Most people simply look upon sleep as a way to get through the day. But, for someone who is trying to conceive, sleep is of utmost importance. What many people are unaware of is that sleep plays an absolutely essential role in the production of many hormones.
Women with low levels of melatonin and serotonin have been shown to have shorter times in between ovulation and menstruation, making it much less likely that they will be able to conceive. Lack of sleep also affects the hormone, leptin, which is the primary hormone responsible for ovulation in women. Interruption of leptin production will eventually lead to disruptions and irregularities in the menstrual cycle, leading to issues with fertility. In addition, lack of sleep also lessens the body’s ability to be able to correctly regulate insulin, cortisol and adrenaline, which makes the chances of conception not only very difficult, but also very unlikely.
Get enough sleep so that you feel rested. If you feel tired, dizzy, have a lack of energy or have trouble remembering things, you probably aren’t getting enough. If you can’t manage to get enough rest at night, take a nap during the day, give your body and cells a chance to rejuvenate. And lack of sleep does not only cause fertility problems for women, but for men as well. Men who do not get enough sleep have been proven to have both lower levels of testosterone, as well as lower sperm counts. So, enhance your fertility easily and simply, and get some sleep.
While it’s true that many things can help you to become pregnant and reverse infertility, such as diet and lifestyle changes, things like natural supplements and herbs may help to accomplish this better and more quickly. Here are some herbs and vitamins that have been known to increase fertility and have been used by many.
- Fermented Cod Liver Oil
- Natural Progesterone Cream
- Red Raspberry Leaf
- Vitex/Chaste Tree Berry
- Nettle Leaf
- Red Clover
- Folic Acid
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin C
**Very important, do not mix fertility drugs of any kind with any of the herbs that are listed above. Also, do not mix any of these herbs with any form of hormonal birth control or hormone treatments. Consult a doctor or nutritionist and/or research each vitamin or herb that you are considering taking. And if you are taking any type of medication on a regular basis, make certain that whatever you choose to take to enhance your fertility, can be safely mixed together.
Stay away from pesticides and herbicides and insecticides
The chemicals that are used in the killing of both insects and weeds that are a threat to crops, are also a threat to human fertility. Most pesticides, insecticides and herbicides contain numerous and various chemicals that studies are just recently proving are a serious cause of infertility. In men, they are decreasing levels of fertility at a shocking rate, and in women, they are causing disruptions with menstrual cycles and restricting ovarian function. Most of these studies were centered on how fertility was affected by occupational exposure to these chemicals. However, in March 2015, another type of study was published in an issue of Human Reproduction, which showed how eating fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed with pesticides can affect a man’s sperm count as well as quality. So, if you are trying to become pregnant, try to stay away from as much of these type of products as possible and wash your fruits and vegetables, even the organic ones with a great amount of care.
Give up alcohol
Though many people don’t like to hear it, if you’re trying to conceive, alcohol is one of those things that you need to stay away from for a while, as it can make you less fertile. Alcohol is well known for causing many different kinds of damage to the body and brain, but many don’t know how it affects both men and women’s fertility. In men it affects both sperm count and motility, and in women it interferes with both menstruation and ovulation. It affects the body’s ability to be able to produce the amino acids that are so essential for proper cell development and proper cell development is absolutely critical when it comes to reproduction. By both of you giving up alcohol completely while trying to conceive, you actually increase your odds of becoming pregnant incredibly.
Get some sun
Soaking up the sunshine actually boosts fertility in both men and women. Sunlight increases levels of Vitamin D in the body, which in turn boosts levels of the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, responsible for regulating periods and therefore making the chances of conceiving that much greater. And let’s not leave out the guys; sunlight is a great way to help increase sperm counts as well.
Drink more water
If you are not careful to keep your body hydrated, the reproductive system will be one of the things that will lose out first, if your body begins to dehydrate. The reason being that the more vital organs in the body, heart, lungs, liver, etc., will receive the much needed water first. Water helps to create a very strong blood supply to the lining of the womb, along with making fat little egg follicles as well. And one additional bit of information, your cervical fluid will become slow-moving if your body is dehydrated, which will make it much more difficult for it to do its very important job of helping the sperm find the egg. The more hydrated you keep your body, the better your body will be able to do its job, and the sooner you will be able to become pregnant.
Try out a free fertility phone app or calculator
If you’re too busy to keep close enough track, or you just want a little help, try out some of the fertility apps or ovulation calculators out there. They work out when you are going to be at your most fertile, by using the dates of your period and your daily basal body temperatures. Some to try are, Fertility Friend, Period Diary or Menstrual Calendar.
Cut out over-the-counter painkillers and arthritis medications
If some over-the-counter medications are taken around the time of ovulation, it can have quite an effect on whether or not you are able to conceive. The kinds most likely to have a bad consequence would be ibuprofen, several Cox-2 inhibitor anti-inflammatory drugs, (Vioxx, Bextra and Celebrex) and paracetamol. These drugs, both the older and the newer, are known collectively as NSAIDS or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and all should be avoided. One common pain reliever that is not an NSAID and appears to be safe for use is the pain reliever, Tylenol.
So, use these suggestions to help increase your odds of getting pregnant. Most couples become pregnant within 3 to 6 months, but if 1 year has passed and you still have not become pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor, as something more difficult to fix may be wrong. Take your time, enjoy and good luck!