Whether you are trying for a baby or not, understanding how your body works when it comes to your chances of getting pregnant is important. At school, we are often given strict warnings about practicing safe sex to ensure we don’t end up unexpectedly pregnant.
Of course, while safe sex is a good idea for anyone not deliberately trying to have a child, the truth is, pregnancy doesn’t just ‘happen.’ It can be a little trickier when you actually attempt to conceive.
When you and your partner decide you’d like to start trying for a baby, it is a very exciting time. At first, you want to keep it casual and not put too much pressure on it. Just coming off whatever contraception you are on and having sex regularly works for many couples.
1. It’s all about the timing. Understanding your menstrual cycle and the most likely time for you to conceive each month is one of the best ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant. A woman’s menstrual cycle has different stages. It commonly lasts between 23 and 35 days.
The first day is the first day of your period *day 1* which usually lasts between three and seven days. After this your body begins to prepare for ovulation, a hormone known as FSH stimulates your ovaries to produce mature eggs, and your womb lining begins to thicken.
In the next stage, the egg releases *ovulation* and travels towards your womb. It is during this phase you are at your most fertile. An egg only survives for about 24 hours without being fertilized. If it is not, your body sheds the womb lining and unfertilized egg which is then the start of your next period and cycle.
For most women ovulation happens in the middle of your cycle. Ensuring you have sex during this period of time is essential if you want your egg to be fertilized. The good news is that sperm lives in your body for up to five days.
If you miss a day or two around that time, your chances of getting pregnant are not completely obliterated! Knowing when you ovulate can be a little tricky. Understanding how long your menstrual cycle lasts helps, and you can use an ovulation calculator to determine your most fertile days.
Alternatively, using ovulation testing sticks is another good and reliable way to understand when you are at your most fertile. These can be especially helpful for women whose periods are erratic.
2. Have sex regularly. This might be a no brainer, but having regular sex is the best way to ensure that you get pregnant. Some women think it is a good idea to simply wait until they are at their most fertile. However, not having regular sex means much of the sperm released may already be dead.
Having sex every two to three days ensures that young, healthy sperm are released. Giving you the best chance of one of them fighting their way through to get to that egg!
3. Take prenatal vitamins. As soon as you have decided to try for a baby it’s a good idea to start taking prenatal vitamins. They should be taken throughout your pregnancy. Taking folic acid is proven to have a significant impact when it comes to lowering chances of miscarriage, neural tube defects, and spina bifida.
Ones that also contain B6 and Omega-3 are optimum. B6 helps increase fertility and Omega-3 helps your body absorb the vitamins.
4. Eat a healthy diet. Being overweight negatively impacts your fertility. Try to get your weight down and eat as healthily as possible to ensure you received all the nutrients you need to prepare your body for pregnancy.
Reducing the amount of alcohol and caffeine you consume and quitting smoking also help. This is true for your partner too as being overweight, excess alcohol consumption, and smoking damage sperm quality.
5. Skip the lube. While you might regularly use lube to increase your enjoyment when it comes to bedroom activities, doing so while trying to conceive lowers your chances of doing so.
Lubricants impact sperm mobility so it is less likely to get to where your egg is waiting! There are some fertility friendly options out there so you don’t have to give up on it altogether.