Fertility And Conception Tips: What To Do Before Getting Pregnant
Hoping to get pregnant soon? You’ve come to the right place! Here’s everything you need to know to maximize your chances of conceiving quickly and to get your pregnancy off to the healthiest possible start.
Ann DouglasMay 1, 2018
Look after yourselfStart taking folic acid now. You reduce your chances of giving birth to a baby with a neural tube defect by 50 percent to 70 percent if you start taking at least 0.4 mg of folic acid each day two to three months before you start trying to conceive.
Looking for a delicious way to sneak some more folic acid into your diet? Start your day with a tall glass of orange juice or a fresh, juicy orange. Both are excellent sources of folic acidan important nutrient for any woman whos hoping to conceive.
Are you taking any vitamins? Large doses of certain types of vitamins can be harmful to your developing baby. Switch to a prenatal vitamin before you conceive.
If you havent already stopped smoking, do it now. Studies have shown that smoking just 10 cigarettes a day reduces a womans chances of conceiving by 50 percent.
Are you a coffee drinker? Time to give it up or switch to decaf! Caffeine is thought to restrict the growth of a developing baby by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the uterus. Whats more, a few studies have indicated that excessive consumption of caffeine may contribute to fertility problems. The jury is still out on this last point, however.
Talk To Your Doctor About Receiving The Covid
If you are trying to conceive,both the CDC and American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommend talking to your doctor about the potential risks involved with receiving a vaccination that has not yet been tested during pregnancy, as well as the risks involved if you do become pregnant and contract Covid-19. “The decision to take the vaccine while pregnant or attempting pregnancy is unique for every woman and is based on many factors. Women should inquire about the rate of positive testing for Covid-19 in their community to help determine their risk of infection,” Bishop explains. “They should also discuss any underlying medical conditions they may have, and if these conditions could become more severe if they were to contract Covid-19 while pregnant.”
But donât let fears of a vaccine affecting your fertility stop you. âTo date, there is no evidence that the Covid vaccine has a negative impact on fertility,â Dr. Cary L. Dicken, RMA Long Island IVF previously told Romper. âNo loss of fertility was reported by any of the vaccine clinical trial participants, nor is it being reported by those currently receiving the vaccine.â In fact, while initial vaccine trials did not include pregnant women, some participants became pregnant after and there hasnât been any negative effects reported as of now.
Kick The Smoking And Drinking Habits
Smoking can lead to fertility problems in both women and men. Chemicals found in cigarette smoke, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, speed up the loss rate of a woman’s eggs, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Smoking ages a woman’s ovaries and depletes her supply of eggs prematurely, according to the Mayo Clinic. In a study published in 2020 in the journal Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology, researchers looked at scientific findings around smoking, alcohol, addiction and fertility they found that smoking is linked to decreased fertility.
It’s also a good idea for women to stay away from secondhand smoke, which may affect their chances of becoming pregnant. should also be avoided while trying to conceive.
It’s safest for a woman to avoid alcohol when she is hoping to become pregnant. A woman should also stop consuming alcohol if she stops using birth control because she wants to get pregnant. That said, a 2019 Danish study of 1,708 women over a five-year period did not find a link between regular alcohol consumption and binge drinking, and fertility, according to the study published in the journal Human Reproduction.
However, a 2017 study published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology found that about half of pregnant women in the United States drink alcohol around the time they become pregnant or in early pregnancy, usually before they know they are expecting.
Once a woman becomes pregnant, there’s no safe amount of alcohol, Pavone said.
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How Do I Get Pregnant If I Was On Birth Control
If youre on birth control and want to get pregnant, simply stop using your birth control method. With most methods , fertility usually comes back right after you stop using it often within the same month.
Birth control doesnt hurt your ability to get pregnant long-term, but a few types may temporarily affect your fertility for several months after you stop using it.
Have A Cervical Screening Test
If you are aged between 25 and 49 you should have a cervical screening test every three years. Its best to get tested before you get pregnant because pregnancy can make the results of your test harder to interpret.
If youre planning a pregnancy contact your GP surgery to find out if your screening is due now or within the next year.
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What Time Of Day Should You Have Ttc Sex
If you’re wondering when to have sex to conceive, the morning may be your best bet. Or, specifically, after your man gets a good night’s rest, says Melissa M. Goist, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Medical Center. When he’s sleeping, his body regenerates the sperm lost during the day. Although the average sperm cell has a pretty short shelf life, even stalwart swimmers can hit their expiration date early if they get too warm from hot tubs or exercises like bike riding, Dr. Goist says.
Natural Ways To Increase Your Fertility
Not everyone needs or wants medical intervention to get pregnant. There are natural things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant each month.
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Get Help For Violence
Violence can lead to injury and death among women at any stage of life, including during pregnancy. The number of violent deaths experienced by women tells only part of the story. Many more survive violence and are left with lifelong physical and emotional scars.
If someone is violent toward you or you are violent toward your loved onesget help. Violence destroys relationships and families.
How Can You Find An Acupuncturist
Look for a practitioner who is certified by the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Most states also require that acupuncturists get certified. Check with your state medical board for local requirements.
Some doctors are qualified to do acupuncture. The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture has a list of acupuncturists who are also medical doctors.
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What The Science Shows
Heres the myth-busting truth. No particular sex position has been proven to improve the odds of pregnancy. What may help is to put sperm as close to the cervix — the canal that connects the vagina and the womb — as possible.
One way to do that is to make sure that the penis goes in deep during intercourse. Along with full penetration, two sex styles are ideal for depositing the sperm right at the opening of the cervix:
- Missionary, or guy on top
- From behind, aka doggy style
Prenatal Vitamin Side Effects
Some prenatal vitamins can cause nausea in an already nauseated pregnant woman. If that happens to you, talk to your health care provider. They may be able to prescribe a different kind of prenatal vitamin that you dont have to swallow whole. Options include:
The iron in prenatal vitamins may also make you constipated. If youre constipated it can help to:
- Eat a high-fiber diet
- Exercise if your doctor says its safe for you
- Take a stool softener with your doctors OK
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Wait Until You Miss Your Period To Stop Drinking
If the thought of getting pregnant has passed through your mind, even for just a second, experts say you should give up happy hour now.
Consider this: Half of all pregnancies are unplanned. So you could be enjoying a night out on the town with a few cocktails and not know you’re already pregnant.
If you’re drinking, your baby is, too. The alcohol that’s making you feel relaxed could interfere with your baby’s brain and nervous system growth. Alcohol affects your baby at every stage of pregnancy, especially in the early weeks.
Need more reasons why you and your partner should back away from the bar?
- There’s no safe level of prepregnancy alcohol drinking. Also, there’s no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy.
- If you’re getting fertility treatments, like IVF, having four or more drinks a week lowers your chances of having a baby.
- Your guy should put down the glass, too. Alcohol can lower levels of the sex hormone testosterone and cause erectile dysfunction. You probably won’t get pregnant if that happens.
Get A Preconception Checkup
Before you officially start trying, get a checkup. Ask your doctor aboutprenatal vitaminsthat havefolic acid, which helps protect against some birth defects, such asspina bifida. Folic acid works during the early stages of pregnancy, so that’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough folic acid even before you get pregnant.
“Do this the cycle before you start trying,” says Paula Hillard, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford University. “If you have any underlying medical problems, they need to be under control before you can safely become pregnant.”
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Check In With Your Dentist
A visit to the dentist before you get pregnant is almost as important as a visit to the doctor. Thats because your future pregnancy can affect your mouth and vice versa.
The American Dental Association says that the gum disease gingivitis may be more common in pregnancy due to hormonal changes, which can mess with the way the gum tissue responds to the bacteria in your mouth.
Untreated gum disease during pregnancy has been shown to increase your risk of complications like preterm birth and preeclampsia. While youre there, be sure to have any necessary work completed now so it wont have to be done during pregnancy.
Stop Smoking Alcohol And Drugs Limit Caffeine
If you smoke, drink alcohol, or use drugs, you should stop before you get pregnant. They can:
- Make it harder for you to get pregnant
- Increase the chance of miscarriage
If you need help quitting smoking, alcohol, or drugs, talk to your doctor or midwife.
Alcohol can harm a growing fetus , even in small amounts. Drinking alcohol while you are pregnant can cause long-term problems for your baby, such as intellectual disability, behavioral issues, learning disabilities, and facial and heart defects.
Smoking is bad for unborn babies and puts your child at greater risk of health problems later in life.
- Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with a lower birth weight.
- Smoking also makes it harder for you to recover from your pregnancy.
Drugs that are not prescribed by a doctor can be dangerous for you to take at any point in your life.
You should also cut down on caffeine when you are trying to get pregnant. Women who daily consume more than 2 cups of coffee or 5 cans of soda that contains caffeine may have a harder time getting pregnant and a greater chance of miscarriage.
Limit unnecessary medicines or supplements. Discuss with your provider about both prescribed and over-the-counter medicines and supplements you take before you try to conceive. Most medicines have some risks, but many have unknown risks and have not been thoroughly studied for safety. If medicines or supplements are not absolutely necessary, do not take them.
When To Call A Doctor
Doctors recommend that you see a doctor about your fertility if
- You’re 35 years or older and have been trying for at least six months
- You’re younger than 35 and have been trying for at least one year
If either of these fit your situation then see a doctor, even if you have no symptoms of a fertility problem.
When You Should See A Doctor About Getting Pregnant
About 80% of couples conceive in the first 6 months of trying. That number increases to 85% after 12 months. If you have regular menstrual cycles and have been trying to conceive for a year, then its a good idea to talk to your OBGYN about it. We will evaluate to see if there are other issues that make it harder for you and your partner to conceive.
If youre over 35 years old, have this conversation with your doctor soonerafter youve been trying to conceive for 6 months. If you are in your 40s and want to have a baby, its better to speak with your OBGYN right away because often fertility treatments can be started right away.
No matter your age, if you know you have irregular periods , get evaluated sooner. If you have other health problems, make a preconception visit to make sure these conditions are optimized prior to conceiving.
Before you are referred to a fertility clinic, your OBGYN can rule out and/or treat common issues. Sometimes we can recommend small changes that can help you get pregnant.
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How Often Should You Have Sex To Get Pregnant
You may think that cutting down on sex to “save” your guy’s spermor only having sex during ovulationwill make getting pregnant easier. But abstaining too much can throw off conception. Indeed, while holding off on sex can increase sperm count, it can also decrease sperm motility. What’s more, “it’s easy to miss the fertile period if sex is limited only to when you think you’re ovulating, because many women believe they’re ovulating when they actually aren’t,” says Samuel Wood, M.D., medical director at The Reproductive Sciences Center in La Jolla, CA.
How Much Exercise Is Too Much When I’m Trying To Conceive
Most of us don’t come anywhere near hitting our exercise limits whether we’re trying to conceive or are already pregnant. However, if you’re a seasoned athlete or regularly training for athletic competitions, there is a chance you’re getting too much of a good thing. In fact, some research has shown that five or more hours of high-intensity workouts per week may increase the time it takes to conceive.
Still, that very well may be because intense training without adequate nutrition depletes your body of essential baby-making nutrients and increases the odds that you’ll weigh in at an underweight body mass index , which can alter your menstrual cycle and even halt ovulation.
If youre looking to get pregnant soon and aren’t sure if your workout routines are too strenuous, now’s a good time to have your doctor weigh in on your routine. He or she may also possibly hook you up with a nutritionist to make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need.
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Trying To Get Pregnant
Pregnancy happens when sperm enters a vagina, travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tube and fertilises an egg.
Youre more likely to get pregnant around the time you are ovulating. This is when an egg becomes ready and you are at your most fertile.
If you are under 40 and have regular sex without using contraception, there is an 8 in 10 chance you will get pregnant within 1 year.
How To Stay Positive When Trying To Conceive
It’s all too common that TTC takes over your life a bit, particularly if you’re struggling to get pregnant. Trying for a baby can start to feel overwhelming. It’s easy to feel down when things don’t happen the way you want them to after months of trying for a baby. Though it can feel even more of a struggle to stay positive in this crazy world we’re living in, with so many external stresses, let alone the pressure you’re putting on yourself to get a bun in the oven – keeping your spirits up is important right now, and these easy ideas can help.
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