10 Tips You Need to Know about Trying to Conceive
Fertility issues affect up to 15% of couples trying to conceive. Luckily, there are many ways to boost your fertility to help you get pregnant faster. Diet and lifestyle changes can help boost fertility. Here are 10 tips you need to know about trying to conceive.
1. Tracking ovulation
Women with typical cycles ovulate around two weeks before their periods. Women with irregular cycles have a much more difficult time monitoring their ovulation. There are many methods you can use to help track your most fertile days during your menstrual cycle. This can help increase your chances of conceiving.
One common way to track ovulation is to track levels of cervical mucus. The appearance, amount, and smell of mucus in your vagina are used to help track your fertile window. In regular cycles, the amount of cervical mucus may increase before ovulation, and become slippery and clear. Cervical mucus is important because it helps sperm travel to fertile eggs.
Other tracking methods include tracking your basal body temperature and cervical position. These methods are not reliable because they vary based on lifestyle and diets.
Unlike other fertility trackers, Mira Fertility Tracker is the only one that gives you actual fertility hormone concentrations and shows you your personalized fertility hormone curve. Mira tells you exactly when you are fertile and non-fertile. By tracking your unique hormone levels throughout your cycle, Mira learns your cycle to personalize your ovulation prediction with 99% accuracy.
2. Have Intercourse Every Other Day
Your fertility window span about six-days. Research from the ASRM states fertility levels increases five days before ovulation, plus the day of. These are the days when a woman is most fertile.
You can use the Mira Fertility Tracker and App to help keep track of when you are more likely to conceive. Research shows that there’s a small difference in pregnancy rates for couples who have intercourse daily during their fertile window versus couples who do not. Mary Pavone, professor of gynecology at Northwestern University agrees with this and says, “And having sex every other day might be easier for a couple to pull off.”
Pavone also explains the common myths of trying to conceive. For instance, the lack of concrete evidence that your sex positions can positively influence the chance of conceiving. In addition, laying on your back after intercourse has not been proven to increase the odds of you conceiving.
3. Use Prenatal Vitamins
It is recommended to take prenatal vitamins for those attempting to conceive. Prenatal vitamins should be taken before getting pregnant. A woman can more easily find a vitamin that is agreeable to her reproductive system before getting pregnant, and then continue to use it during pregnancy.
Taking daily multivitamins is an alternative to prenatal vitamins. Experts recommend supplements that contain 400mcg of folic acid and vitamin D. These nutrients are essential for preventing brain and spinal birth defects.
The CDC strongly suggests women take 400mcg of folic acid on a daily basis. Daily supplements should be taken for at least one month before getting pregnant. Starting early with folic acid supplements is a great idea because the neural tube develops in the brain and spine from 3 to 4 weeks after conception occurs. Many women may not realize their conceiving yet during this time period.
4. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight heavily influences fertility. Women that are overweight or underweight may experience a higher rate of infertility.
The Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention suggests that about 25% of ovulatory infertility is caused by being overweight, and 12% of ovulatory infertility is caused by being underweight. Because the number of fat cells in the body influences the functions of the reproductive system.
Women underweight/overweight often experience longer menstrual cycle lengths, making it harder to get pregnant. To increase the chances of conceiving, seek professional medical advice to find ways to maintain a healthy weight.
5. Avoid Unhealthy Fats
Including a healthy amount of fat in your diet is essential for boosting fertility. However, there are healthier fats and bad fats. You should avoid bad fats such as trans-fats, since their associated with infertility, and negatively affect insulin sensitivity.
Common culprits of trans fats are vegetable oils, margarine, fried foods, and processed goods. An observational study linked high trans-fat, and low unsaturated fat diets with infertility. Consuming trans fats over healthier monounsaturated fats could increase the risk of ovulatory infertility risk by 31%. To boost fertility levels try cooking your foods with a healthy alternative oil like extra virgin olive oil.
6. Consider Vegetable-based Proteins
Proteins are the building blocks of a healthy belly. Research suggests that replacing animal proteins (poultry, eggs, fish) with vegetable-based sources (beans, nuts, seeds) can reduce your risk of infertility.
There was a study showing that when 5% of calories in your diet are vegetable-based proteins, the risk of ovulatory infertility can decrease by over 50%. This can be done by replacing meat protein with vegetables, nuts, and beans.
7. Eat Healthier Meals
There is no specific diet for increasing fertility, but adding healthy foods into your diet can help prepare your body for pregnancy. Essential nutrients include calcium, protein, and iron. This means eating fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy sources of fat. Aside from taking folic acid supplements, women can get vitamin B from dark leafy greens, cereals, and orange juice.
Women trying to conceive need to lower or remove the intake of high-mercury fish: king mackerel, tilefish, and swordfish. The Food and Drug Administration recommends a maximum of 6 ounces of white tuna per week to reduce metal exposure as well.
Caffeine can negatively affect fertility rates in men and women alike. Cut back on caffeine. Consuming over 500 milligrams of caffeine per day has been strongly associated with decreased fertility in women. On the plus side, 1 to 2 cups of coffee every day has a virtually non-existent impact on fertility in women according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
8. Avoid Overtraining
Exercising regularly helps your body better prepare for the physical stresses of pregnancy and labor. Nevertheless, overtraining your body could interfere with ovulation and cause other menstrual disturbances. Often the solution to overtraining is to cut back on your workouts.
9. Avoid Smoking and Drinking
Aside from typical health problems, smoking also causes fertility problems in men and women. According to the ASRM, the nicotine and carbon monoxide in cigarettes increase the loss rate of your eggs. Smoking causes your ovaries and fallopian tubes to age faster and depletes your egg supply prematurely.
You should also avoid second-hand smoke, which can negatively affect your chances of getting pregnant. Besides cigarettes, marijuana and other recreational drug use should be avoided while trying to conceive.
Alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy, and for those trying to conceive. Many women accidentally drink alcohol during early pregnancy which can result in fetal alcohol syndrome, or cause an early miscarriage.
Research shows that around half of the women that get pregnant will drink alcohol around the time of conception (early pregnancy). Most women who drank while pregnant were not aware at the time.
Once a woman gets pregnant there’s no safe amount of alcohol, says Mary Pavone. Drinking alcohol from one drink per day to heavier levels can make it difficult for a woman to even get pregnant says ACOG. Also, your pregnancy test most likely won’t track your conception the exact day of.
10. Consider Seeking Help
You and your partner should get an infertility evaluation If you’re 35 or older, and haven’t gotten pregnant after six months of unprotected sex without using birth control. Women under the age of 35 should consult a fertility specialist if they fail after one year of consistent unprotected sex.
✔️ Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treating couples and individuals with infertility since 2014. Prior to joining Eden Centers for Advanced Fertility, she was practicing as a top fertility specialist at Kaiser Permanente in Orange County and Reproductive Fertility Center. Dr. Kashani has received numerous awards throughout her years of study and medical training.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation. Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.
Dr. Kashani is a fellow of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In addition, she is a diplomat of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and an active member of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and Pacific Coast Reproductive Society (PCRS). She is also a member of the Society of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (SREI).