Growing your family isn’t always simple or quick. While some couples find that they can get pregnant without much effort, others have to put lots of time, money, and stress into getting pregnant. Before you invest in complicated fertility testing or expensive doctor visits, try these tips to increase your chances of conceiving:
- Be as healthy as possible
Quit smoking, get enough exercise and sleep, and reduce caffeine intake to 2 cups of coffee or less. Work to maintain a healthy weight, ideally at 20-30 BMI for women. If your partner is male, have him switch to boxers instead of briefs while you are trying to conceive (it can take several months for this to work, however).
- Learn to understand your body’s ovulation (egg releasing) cues
There are several clues that a your body is approaching its fertile days each month:
- basal body temperature
- the position of the cervix
- the quality and the quantity of cervical fluid
While there are ways to monitor these 3 signs, it is usually easiest to notice the cervical fluid that appears on the toilet paper throughout the day. Typically, cervical fluid will become more slippery and elastic as the most fertile time approaches.
For more detailed information about cervical fluid and how it affects your fertility, read more here. To learn even more about your monthly cycle and how your hormones impact fertility, Fertility Friend offers free online educational courses.
- Have intercourse at least once during the 2 days prior to and the day of ovulation.
When you know you are about to ovulate, you need to be sure to have intercourse (or inseminate with sperm) during this 3-day window. Many people ovulate around the 14th day of their cycle, but there are others who do not. By watching your fertility signs, you will be able to predict more easily when you will ovulate. The convenience and simplicity of ovulation predictor kits (OPK’s) can be helpful if you don’t mind peeing on a stick once or twice a day. It can be a good tool to help determine when you will be ovulating. For more information about timing of intercourse, read Fertility Friend’s article here.
- Give your body lots of chances for pregnancy during ovulation
Some old wives’ tales warn against having sex too often during the fertile window, claiming that it can reduce sperm count. The reality is that for healthy couples with normal sperm, frequent intercourse or insemination will only increase the likelihood of pregnancy. If you and your partner can commit to at least once per day during the 3-day fertile window, that’s okay too. Do what you can to be sure that you have an orgasm each time, as that can increase the chances of conception as well.
- Use a fertility charting app or program to become familiar with your body’s patterns
I am a big fan of Fertility Friend, but there are other fertility charting programs out there to choose from. Once you have determined your patterns, you are much more likely to catch the egg during your fertile window, and even more likely to get pregnant! In addition, if you find that you still are not pregnant after 6 months of actively trying, you will want to talk to your care provider and show them your fertility data.
Although getting pregnant can sometimes seem like a job with uncontrollable variables, you can rest easy knowing that these tips will give you the best chances of conceiving without intervention. Good luck growing your family! ~Sarah