Fertility expert Professor William Ledger sees many couples hoping to get pregnant. “Have a happy sex life,” is his top tip. He says that some couples with fertility problems don’t have sex often enough to give themselves the best chance of conceiving. Understanding a woman’s monthly cycle is incredibly useful but taking a relaxed approach and having sex consistently throughout the month can very effective and less pressure on you both.
Aside from regular sex there are a myriad of ways in which you can improve your fertility when you are trying to conceive. Most of them are simple habits that you can incorporate into your daily routine, small steps that add up to big results. In general though, a healthy lifestyle is vital; smoking and drinking alcohol can both affect sperm and egg health so consider cutting down on both. Another positive step you can take in preparation for conception is cleaning up your diet. Kym Campbell from Smart Fertility Choices says: “Focus on eating nutrient-dense wholefoods and plenty of protein and cutting out processed foods and sugars. This will both help improve your fertility and prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy.”
Stress can be a big hindrance to fertility so taking time to relax is vital. Dr Shahin Ghadir says “It’s very difficult for studies to assess the effects of stress on fertility, but as a physician who has been practicing fertility for many years, I have observed the impact stress can have on many different occasions. Make sure you are aware of when your stress levels begin to affect your health and normal functioning as a human being.” Relaxation techniques range from deep breathing techniques and meditation to alternative therapies like acupuncture and massages to increase blood flow.
Another factor to consider before trying to conceive is giving your hormones time to settle down after coming off birth control medication. Though it is possible to get pregnant as soon as the medication is out of your system it can still take a few months for your cycle to return to normal. It is also helpful for you and your partner to have a full STD check-up, as it is estimated that a quarter of all fertility problems are caused by the effects of STDs. For example, chlamydia can go completely undetected with no symptoms and end up blocking fallopian tubes if not diagnosed and treated early on.
Whilst it is impossible to say how long it will take to conceive, most couples (about 84 out of every 100) will get pregnant within a year if they have regular sex and don’t use contraception. If you are having trouble getting pregnant it is always worth seeking medical help to look for underlying problems, but in any case these simple tools are always going to help rather than hinder your fertility odds.