Are you ready to start “trying”? It’s such a liberating feeling to get off the hormonal contraceptives, ditch the condoms and spermicides, and finally have sex with the intention of getting pregnant, isn’t it? These 10 Tips can help to boost your odds so you can see that positive pregnancy test sooner, rather than later.
- Establish a relationship with an OB/GYN. If you aren’t visiting your OB/GYN regularly, it’s very important that you do so now. Let her know that you are interested in conceiving so she can look for any signs, such as endometriosis, PCOS, or other conditions linked to infertility, or that can make it more difficult for you to conceive. The sooner you receive treatment, the better.
- Visit a fertility specialist. If you are 40 or older, or are 35+ and have tried to conceive unsuccessfully for 6 months or more, it might be a good idea to visit a fertility specialist and have consultation and/or exam. You may also want to visit a fertility specialist if you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, PCOS or other conditions associated with infertility so you understand your options and can begin planning in case natural conception continues to be evasive.
- Don’t wait for ovulation. Too many couples make the mistake of waiting until the woman is ovulating to have sex. However, the viable window for conception at this point is quite small – only about 24 hours. Perhaps this is the reason sperm can live for up to 5+ days – hanging out and waiting for their target to arrive. Have sex during the days leading up to ovulation in an effort to get as many sperm as possible past the cervix and into the loading dock. Then, when you ovulate, there is a better chance one of them will get to the egg.
- Start trying before you’re 35. If there’s any way to start your family before you turn 35, your odds of conception are significantly greater. By the time a woman hits age 30, the odds of conceiving naturally within 6-months or less begin to decline. By the time you reach age 35, the decline is pretty steep and by age 40 it takes a nose dive. If possible, make a few changes to your ultimate family plan if necessary so you can try to conceive before you are working forcefully against the odds.
- Avoid cigarette smoke and toxins in all their forms. It’s not enough to just quit smoking, you need to remove yourself out of the path of cigarette smoke altogether. If your partner smokes, it’s time to have a serious conversation. Studies show a direct and dramatic link between second- and third-hand smoke and infertility, as well as increased risk of miscarriages and infant health issues.
- Eat pesticide-free foods. Many of the chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides have been linked to infertility issues for both men and women. Some of them are endocrine-disruptors, which means they alter the way our bodies would normally produce and release hormones, a significant number of which seem to affect reproductive hormones. Opt for pesticide-free foods whenever possible and limit your exposure to these chemicals around your home and your own garden.
- Drink filtered water. The same studies linking chemical consumption/exposure and infertility are showing that groundwater may be a major culprit. All those chemicals wash and drain right off the plants and into the ground below, eventually making their way into the water supply. Consider adding a heavy-duty filter to your tap (charcoal filters are not enough) that is designed to filter out chemicals and metal.
- Take a look around your house for potential chemical-offenders. As long as you’re on the pesticide watch, we recommend taking a look around your house for harmful chemicals that may be lurking about. Things to consider include mercury, which is common in many household solvents, Bisphenol-A, or BPA, Teflon and other non-stick surfaces, etc. They are all linked to hormonal-deregulation that can affect fertility.
- Cultivate healthy sleep habits. Not only will you need it once your little bundle of joy has arrived, healthy sleep habits have correlated with successful conception. It turns out that both too little and too much sleep can have a direct result on fertility. Try to cultivate healthy sleep habits and aim for 7 to 10 hours per night, depending on your body’s needs.
- Live a healthy lifestyle. From diet to weight, your health is a key factor when it comes to fertility. Diet, obesity, chemical intake, exercise, etc. have all been linked to both fertility, as well as healthy pregnancy and birth outcomes. Talk to your doctor and make sure your lifestyle is one that is conducive to conception.
Fertility doesn’t always come easily, or naturally. The more you can do to optimize your lifestyle around these fertility tips, the better. The good news is that the majority of these tips are about more than just conception – they are about prioritizing your physical health. That’s always a positive thing.