Diet Exercise And Conception
There is no special diet that improves the odds of conception, but a healthy range of foods that includes lots of fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats is recommended.
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to function. Read more about the benefits of vitamins and minerals for fertility and pregnancy health, including folate, iodine, vitamin D, zinc and selenium supplements.
Regular exercise also improves fertility. Australian and international guidelines recommend you do at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking, gardening or dancing on most but preferably all days of the week. If possible, do some vigorous activity such as running, fast cycling or fast swimming every week as well.
For men and women who are overweight or obese, exercise can help to prevent further weight gain or achieve a modest weight loss that improves general health and fertility.
As part of weight management, international guidelines recommend that overweight or obese adults do 225-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week .
How Can You Track Ovulation
Many people follow the textbook “rule” that ovulation occurs 14 days after the first day of their periodbut the reality is that cycle lengths vary, and ovulation doesn’t always occur at the same time each month, says Machelle Seibel, M.D., Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.
Some people can detect ovulation symptoms. “If you’re in tune with your body, you may notice that you have an increased clear egg-white-like vaginal discharge a few days before ovulation,” says Yvonne Bohn, M.D., OB-GYN and co-author of The Mommy Docs Ultimate Guide to Pregnancy and Birth. But many miss this, and some mistakenly think their normal discharge is a sign of ovulation.
Instead of guessing, Dr. Seibel says that using an ovulation predictor kit can give a more accurate answer. The kit looks similar to a pregnancy test but instead of looking for the pregnancy hormone hCG, it is searching for a surge in luteinizing hormone , which precedes ovulation .
Charting your basal body temperature can also help identify ovulation for the best days to get pregnant.
Make An Appointment With Your Ob/gyn
Your first stop should be at your regular gynecologistno need to go straight to a fertility clinic. You may want to bring your partner along, although that’s not necessarily required at this point.
To prepare for your appointment, gather the following information:
- The dates of your last six periods, even if your cycles are very regular. If you’ve been keeping a fertility calendar or body basal temperature chart, bring the last six months’ information. If you’ve done any at-home fertility testing, bring those results too.
- A list of medications youand your partnertake on a regular basis. Some drugs can interfere with fertility, including certain antidepressants and even over-the-counter allergy treatments.
- A list of any infertility symptoms or risk factors you have.
- Any questions you have. If you write them down, you’re more likely to ask them.
When you discuss your symptoms, make sure to mention embarrassing ones, such as painful sex, unwanted hair growth, or low libido. These can all be symptoms of a fertility problem. Include any symptoms your male partner may be experiencing as well. Up to 40% of infertile couples face male infertility.
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Avoid Smoking Cannabis If You’re Trying To Get Pregnant
Cannabis use is on the rise among adults in the United States, thanks to legalization for medicinal and recreational purposes, according to Science Daily. But if you’re a regular marijuana smoker who’s trying to get pregnant, you should stop smoking, says reproductive endocrinologist and fertility expert Dr. David Diaz. “Whether smoking tobacco or marijuana, excessive use of either can lead to a decrease in the couple’s fertility,” he explained to The List. “Marijuana can lead to low sperm motility and diminished libido, thereby reducing lovemaking.” And that’s the last thing you need if you’re trying to have a baby!
Don’t go reaching for the edibles, tinctures, or patches either, as they can harm your unborn baby, according to the CDC. Specifically, THC has been shown to cause low birth weight and slow down development, as well as increase the baby’s risk of learning disorders later in life. So, total cessation is the way to go.
Don’t Skimp On Your Sleep If You’re Trying To Get Pregnant
While it’s often said that you’re eating for two when you’re pregnant, if you’re trying to conceive, you need to think like you’re sleeping for two, says psychologist Dr. Melissa Burkley. “A study on sleep issues found that women who suffer from insomnia are four times more likely to struggle with fertility compared to their well-rested sisters,” she penned in an article in Psychology Today. “That’s a whopping 400 increase!”
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, too, as getting sufficient rest is vital for every step of the reproductive process. Poor sleep causes menstrual irregularities and lower levels of the hormone FSH, both of which can decrease your odds of getting pregnant. It also can lead to pregnancy issues like longer labor, preterm delivery, increased chances of C-section delivery, and increased risk of miscarriage. So don’t skimp on your shuteye!
Finally, if you work the night shift, see if you can switch to the day shift if you’re trying to get pregnant. Night shift workers are especially vulnerable to losing sleep.
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Is There Anything I Can Do To Guarantee My Chances Of Conception Next Time
Unfortunately, nothing can guarantee a pregnancy, but if you have a history of abdominal pain which continues after the ectopic pregnancy, you should see your doctor/GP to make sure you do not have a persistent infection that might impact future fertility. Having regular sexual intercourse is a good way to approach future conception.
Benefits Of Taking Folic Acid Before Pregnancy
Folic acid is a vitamin . It is found in certain foods and it can also be taken as tablets.
If youre planning to have a baby, its important that you take folic acid tablets for two to three months before you conceive. This allows it to build up in your body to a level that gives the most protection to your future baby against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.
As you could get pregnant within a month of trying, it is ideal to start taking folic acid tablets two months before you stop contraception. If you have already stopped contraception, thats OK, start taking it now and until week 12 of pregnancy.
You can also try to eat more foods that contain folate, which is the natural form of folic acid. However, even a healthy diet does not have enough folic acid for pregnancy so taking folic acid tablets is very important.
If you end up taking folic acid tablets for far longer than two to three months this is perfectly OK and not harmful.
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Reach A Healthy Weight
Your weight can impact your ability to conceive, so talk to your doctor or dietitian to learn about proper calorie intake, exercise and other healthy habits as you try to conceive.
If youre underweight
Some people who are underweight, especially those with eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia, may not ovulate or may have irregular periods.
Even those who are underweight without eating disorders can have issues that relate to ovulation, cycle management, implantation of pregnancy and preterm delivery once they do become pregnant, Dr. Mooney says.
If youre overweight
Obesity, too, can affect your menstrual cycle, including the quality of your eggs. And people who are who are overweight are at higher risk for:
- Gestational diabetes.
I encourage patients with obesity to first try to maintain their weight, and then we can get a plan in place to begin to lose weight, Dr. Mooney recommends. Start slow, with just five pounds, then 10 or 12, and well go from there.
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.
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Weight Fertility And Conception
Being overweight or underweight can cause hormonal changes that interfere with ovulation and reduce fertility. On average, women who are obese take longer to conceive than women in the healthy weight range and are more likely to experience infertility.
In men, obesity can lower fertility. This is likely due to a combination of factors including hormone problems, problems with erection or other health conditions linked to obesity.
Improving Your Chances Of Becoming Pregnant
Youll have a better chance of getting pregnant if you understand your menstrual cycle. The average cycle is 28 days, but it can vary from anywhere between 20 to 40 days for some women.
If your cycle is regular, then you can know that you probably ovulate 2 weeks before the start of your next cycle. So you can work from that and work out the best time to have sex.
Also, both you and your partner should be as healthy as you can be. Apart from anything else, this really will help your chances of getting pregnant. You can both:
- quit if you smoke, and avoid passive smoking
- be a healthy weight
- check for and treat any sexually transmitted infections
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When To Start Discussing Infertility
It can be frustrating and even devastating to try to conceive and continue seeing just one line on repeated pregnancy tests. If youve been trying for six months to a year with no success, it may be time to see a doctor.
Infertility is defined as one year of unprotected intercourse without achieving pregnancy. If youre age 35 or older, though, that timeframe is shortened to six months.
Start having the dialogue with your partner and your healthcare provider sooner rather than later, Dr. Mooney says, So you can feel prepared and assertive in starting to get the care you require.
Stay In Bed Right After Intercourse
You have probably heard this one — lie in bed with your feet in the air after having sex to increase your chances of getting pregnant. The verdict? Not true.
“It’s good advice to lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse, but you don’t need your feet in the air,” Goldfarb says. “Your pelvis does not move when you put your legs in the air.” Don’t go the bathroom during this time either, he says. “If you wait 10 to 15 minutes, the sperm that is going to get into the cervix will be in the cervix.”
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Is Having Sex Every Day Bad When Trying To Conceive
On the other hand, having sex too often can also cause potential problems, says Dr. Wood. “If it’s for reproductive purposes alone, having sex multiple times a day or even every single day could cause ‘burnout,’ and the couple may begin to view sex as little more than a pre-ovulatory chore,” he explains.
According to one study, abstaining from sex for as little as one to two days helped to increase peak quality sperm, so taking breaks from sex might actually be a good thing.
Does Drinking Alcohol Affect Fertility
Alcohol affects fertility by disrupting the delicate balance of the menstrual cycle. Clinical research data suggests that women, who drank socially, 1-5 drinks per week, were at a greater risk of decreased fertility when compared to women who remained abstinent. These findings underscore the importance of remaining abstinent while attempting to conceive.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence looks at the available evidence on the best way of treating or managing a condition and makes recommendations based on evidence. Doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the NHS are expected to follow NICEâs clinical guidelines. Current NICE guidance states:
âPregnant women and women planning a pregnancy should be advised to avoid drinking alcohol in the first 3 months of pregnancy if possible because it may be associated with an increased risk of miscarriage.â
Research also suggests that alcohol disrupts the hormonal imbalance of the female reproductive system, leading to menstrual irregularities, and even anovulatory cycles . These changes can drastically decrease the chances of becoming pregnant and thus affect fertility. The NHS website provides information on drinking alcohol while pregnant and states that the safest approach is not to drink while pregnant.
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Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
The best time to get in the habit of taking a prenatal vitamin is before youre pregnant. One of their most important ingredients is folate, or folic acid, which helps your fetus spinal column to close properly, and prevents spina bifida.The other vitamins and nutrients in prenatals help sustain and nourish both you and, eventually, the little life growing inside of you. When youre pregnant, nutrients are shifted from you to the fetus, so its important to have a continuous supply of important nutrients for fetal growth, Dr. Mooney says.
Avoid These Animal Products If You’re Trying To Get Pregnant
While meat and fish are a good source of protein and can be part of a healthy diet, if you’re trying to get pregnant, there are some foods that you should avoid, according to registered dietitian Suzanne Fisher. For one, she told Glamour magazine that it’s not a good idea to eat deli meats, as they are vulnerable to listeria but if you just can’t miss out on your turkey sandwich, heat it up until it’s steaming. Fisher also recommends abstaining from raw meats and seafood, as well as eggs, as they can contain bacteria that can infect the fetus via the placenta. So save the sushi for later.
If you’re not a meat eater to begin with, there’s some good news for you! According to a study in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, replacing some of your meat, fish, and eggs with plant-based proteins is linked to reduced infertility risk. Talk to your doctor about making any dietary changes, of course, but it looks like science sided with vegetarians here.
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What To Ask Doctors After A Miscarriage To Get Pregnant Again
Experiencing a miscarriage at any stage is both heartbreaking and very confusing, leaving you and your partner with many questions and seemingly very few answers.
It is normal to have questions after going through something as difficult as pregnancy loss and communicating this can be very helpful as you begin the healing journey. Talking with your doctor and working towards finding answers may be the first step you need to move forward.
Here are 6 questions you can ask your doctor after a miscarriage.
Stop Using Birth Control
Obviously, if you want to get pregnant, you need to stop using birth control. What you may not know is that you may need time for your fertility to return. It depends on what kind of birth control you were using.
With most forms of birth control, your fertility will return the next cycle after you stop using it. There may be a few bumpy months while your cycle regulates itself, but its also possible to get pregnant in your first official fertile month.
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Try To Maintain A Healthy Weight
Your BMI is a measure that uses your height and weight to work out if your weight is healthy. The ideal BMI before conception is between 18.5 and 24.9.
Having a high BMI can reduce your fertility and increases the risk of complications in pregnancy. Being overweight can also contribute to fertility problems in men .
If you have a very high BMI you may feel like it is an impossible task to reach the healthy range and you may have been struggling with your weight your whole life. Try not to lose heart, bringing your BMI a few points down the scale can make a big difference.There is professional support available if you need it.
If your BMI is in the underweight range it may affect your fertility and cause health problems during pregnancy. It may help to put on weight gradually with a healthy diet. There are many reasons why a person may be underweight. You GP can give you help and advice.
Keep These Pointers In Mind
- Do what feels right: Know that it’s a myth that any specific sexual position will improve your chances of conception.
- However, do try for an orgasm: “Orgasm can stimulate uterine contractions, which may help to promote sperm transport through the reproductive tract,” says Dr. Sanaz Ghazal, co-founder and medical director of RISE Fertility, and a double-certified fertility specialist.
- If you use lube, be sure it’s one that won’t inhibit conception: “Some vaginal lubricants can actually decrease fertility by having adverse effects on the sperm. Over-the-counter water-based lubricants like Astroglide, K-Y Jelly and K-Y Touch can decrease sperm motility by as much as 60% to 100%,” says Dr. Ghazal. Instead, choose lubricants that are sperm-safe, like Pre-Seed.
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