After making the decision to have a baby, there are a number of ways a woman can increase her chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby. Taking proper care of your body is a good first step to enhance fertility. For a woman trying to get pregnant, it is advisable for her to get to know her body and understand her menstrual cycle specifically.
If you are trying to get pregnant, there are few steps you can take to make “trying” more effective. Here are 10 tips to safely increase your chances:
1. Record Menstrual Cycle: A woman who wants to get pregnant should keep track of her cycle and monitor whether the first days of her periods tend to come the same number of days apart every month, which is considered regular. Inversely, her period might be irregular meaning her cycle length varies from month to month. By keeping track of this information, a woman can predict when she is ovulating, and this can help her time sexual intercourse accordingly.
2. Monitor Ovulation: Women with regular cycles ovulate about two weeks before the start of their next period. However, in women with irregular cycles, the prediction is harder but it usually comes 12 to 16 days before the arrival of her next period. There are several options in which a woman can determine her most fertile days every month. A good option is to use a home ovulation prediction kit, e.g a urine test kit. Another option to predict ovulation is to track cervical mucus. This involves a regular check of the amount and appearance of mucus in the vagina. When a woman is most fertile the mucus becomes thinner, slippery, clearer and the amount of discharge increases. Studies show that women who check their cervical mucus consistently are 2.3 times more likely to get pregnant over a six-month period.
3. A Healthy Body Weight: When attempting to get pregnant, it is important to be as healthy as possible. Being overweight can have an effect on conception while being too thin also makes it harder to have a baby. Having too much body fat produces excess estrogen, which can interfere with ovulation and prevent pregnancy, which is why it is advisable to lose 5 to 10 percent of body weight to improve fertility. For underweight women, they might experience irregular periods or have difficulties ovulating.
4. Have Sex During Fertile Window: A woman stands the chance of getting pregnant if she has sexual intercourse during her fertile window. The fertile window spans a six-day interval; the five days prior to ovulation and the day of ovulation.
5. Eat Healthy Food: To achieve conception, it is advisable to eat a variety of healthy foods that can help prepare a woman’s body for pregnancy by giving her adequate stores of critical nutrients such as calcium, protein and iron. This means eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, dairy and healthy sources of fat. When trying to get pregnant, eat a lower amount of high mercury fish, and take supplements containing folic acid. Reducing the intake of caffeine is also important because consuming more than 500 milligrams of caffeine a day has been linked with decrease infertility in women.
6. Prenatal Vitamin: Women who are attempting to conceive, are advised to start taking a prenatal vitamin even before becoming pregnant. Taking multivitamins daily is also an option, as long as it contains at least 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and B vitamin that’s important for preventing birth defects in a baby’s brain and spine.
7. Be Aware of Age-Related Fertility Declines: As women grow older their fertility decreases because of age-related changes in the ovaries that cause a decline in the quantity and quality of eggs. There’s a gradual fertility decline in women beginning in their 30’s, with a sharper decline after age 37 and a steep decline after age 40. With advancing age, women are at risk for some health-related problems like endometriosis, uterine fibroids and blockage of the fallopian tubes.
8. Stop Smoking and Drinking: Chemicals found in cigarette smoke, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, speed up the loss rate of a woman’s eggs, ages a woman’s ovaries and depletes her supply of eggs prematurely. It is also advisable for a woman to avoid alcohol when she is hoping to become pregnant.
9. Cut Back Strenuous Workout: Strenuous workouts have proved to interfere with ovulation, leading to irregular periods. Being physically active can help a woman’s body prepare for the demands of pregnancy and labour, but getting too much exercise or doing frequent strenuous workouts could interfere with ovulation and prevent chances of pregnancy.
10. Seek Help: Consulting a fertility specialist when having infertility issues is very important. This counselling can help couples have an idea of what to do and how to improve the chances of getting pregnant. A woman who is under 35 should consult a fertility specialist if she has failed to become pregnant after one year of having unprotected intercourse on a regular basis, while a woman that is 35 or older should consider infertility evaluation if she has not become pregnant after six months of having unprotected sex regularly.