Most people didn’t learn the best way to get pregnant in the sex education class. So if you want to get pregnant and wish you knew more about the process, you’re definitely not alone.
There are many things that you can do to increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant. The following tips may prove helpful as you begin to consider adding a new member to your family:
Opt for a healthy lifestyle
You already know the importance of a healthy lifestyle to your overall well-being, but this is particularly important if you’re planning on having a baby. As far as your diet is concerned, you don’t need to switch to a specific ‘baby-friendly’ diet — just make sure that you consume a variety of foods, including fresh fruit and vegetables when possible. This is more likely to provide the nutrients that you and your baby-to-be will need. You might also want to consider taking a folate supplement so your body has plenty of this important vitamin when you do become pregnant.
Moderate exercise such as brisk walking or relaxed cycling can improve your chances of conceiving. And if you’re overweight, losing just 5 percent of your body weight can greatly improve your odds of getting pregnant.
Track your ovulation
One of the ways you can increase your chances of becoming pregnant is to track your ovulation. Ovulation is the process by which an egg is released from your ovaries. Medical advice typically suggests having sex at least every other day during the 5 days before you ovulate, as sperm remains viable inside the woman’s reproductive tract up to 5 days. This raises the likelihood that sperm will be available to fertilize an egg soon after it’s released.
So how can you tell that you’re ovulating? Fortunately, there are many signs that you can readily track at home without medical intervention. Some methods take a little more practice than others, so it’s just a matter of finding the one that’s right for you:
Tracking basal body temperature: Your body temperature fluctuates over the course of your cycle. Once an egg has been released by an ovary, rising progesterone will cause your body temperature to rise. If you keep a record of your temperature first thing in the morning, you should be able to detect when ovulation has occurred.
Monitoring cervical fluid for changes: For most people, just before ovulation, the volume of cervical fluid increases, and it becomes more slippery and stretchy, similar to egg whites. To check it, wipe from front to back with a piece of toilet paper or a clean finger. Once you’ve become used to the normal volume and consistency of your cervical fluid, you’ll be able to tell when these changes indicate ovulation is about to take place.
Using ovulation testing kits: Nowadays a range of high-quality ovulation testing kits are available from clinics and drugstores. Some of them work by testing your urine for rising levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). This increases in the 24–36 hours before ovulation. Others detect an increase of estrogen and LH before you ovulate.
If you’ve been using a barrier method of contraception like a condom or diaphragm, all you need to do to is stop using it, and you should be ready to become pregnant if your cycle is regular. It may take a while longer if you’ve been using a birth control pill, patch, or ring.
You don’t need to wait until the end of your monthly cycle to stop taking the pill, and your period will probably return within a few days. Some women may take as long as a month to start ovulating again, but this is completely normal. If you were using the shot, it might take longer. After a year, 85% of sexually active women who are trying to become pregnant within one year. The chance to get pregnant within 1 month with no contraception is around 30%.
Tips for your partner
If you have a male partner, their health can also have an effect on your ability to get pregnant. Stress can affect male fertility, so this is something to keep in mind if your partner has a demanding career or is experiencing other stress. They may want to consider making changes to their work commitments, adjusting other aspects of their lifestyle, or developing new coping methods for stress. Medical experts also recommend eliminating alcohol and tobacco consumption, which are both known to have an impact on fertility.
Regular exercise and a healthy diet can help maintain or achieve optimal weight. Being overweight can also negatively affect male fertility. A diet that is rich in zinc and selenium — from foods like meat, seafood, cereals, and grains — is associated with higher-quality sperm production.
Although many tests that are currently available claim to be up to 99% accurate on the first day of a missed period, research findings suggest that the reliability of these devices is a little uncertain in the earliest stages of pregnancy. You may need to repeat a test if you take it very early. Testing first thing in the morning is ideal because the hormone the test checks for is more concentrated in your urine when you first wake up.
Most couples will conceive within a year of having regular sex without contraception — 85 percent, in fact. If you’ve been unsuccessfully trying for a baby for longer than this, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to become pregnant. Most women in this situation go on to conceive and deliver healthy babies.
Talk to a trusted healthcare provider if you have any concerns about fertility. They will be able to offer you expert advice on lifestyle factors and underlying conditions that may be affecting your ability to become pregnant.