Getting pregnant: dos and don’ts
Trying to get pregnant can be a super-exciting time for a couple. Sex feels really special when you know it could be the start of a new life. But if things don’t happen like they’re supposed to, it can turn into a nightmare.
So it’s good to stay calm, know your facts and don’t put too much pressure on yourself or your partner. For do’s and don’ts, keep reading!
…have lots of sex (at the right time)
This seems to be a bit of a no-brainer. Of course, you can just take the simple approach of having lots of sex all the time – nothing wrong with that! But if you want to maximise your chances, there is a crucial aspect to it: you need to have sex at the right time of the month.
To find out when you are ovulating, you need to monitor your menstrual cycle. Some women do that simply by writing down the dates of their periods and then estimate their ovulation. This happens generally around the 14th day after the first day of the period.
The egg is only ready for conception for 12 to 24 hours, so it’s important to time it accurately. That gets difficult if you have an irregular cycle. The good news is that sperm can survive for a few days after intercourse. This means they can lurk around waiting for an egg to pop out. So you don’t have to hit that 12 to 24 hour window period exactly to get pregnant.
There are also apps and online calculators to help you estimate when you are ovulating. Another way is to measure your temperature in the morning. At the time of ovulation, your body temperature rises slightly, because that makes conception easier. And yet another way is to look at your vaginal discharge. Around the time of ovulation, it tends to get a bit sticky and there’s more of it than usual.
…work on your lifestyle
There are some things you can’t change. For example, the older you are, the more difficult it can be to conceive. But there are plenty of things in your life you can work on to make sure that getting pregnant gets easier.
Stop smoking and drinking – this goes for both women and men. Try to eat healthily and exercise regularly. You also should start cutting down on your coffee intake – lots of caffeine can lead to problems with your pregnancy. And make sure you get enough shut-eye. Being well-rested can make the first few months of pregnancy a bit less exhausting.
Also, if either you or your partner or both of you are significantly overweight or underweight, it can make you less fertile. So it might be a good idea to try to get to a healthier weight.
In general, now is the time you need to take good care of your body to prepare it for the coming months.
…keep track of him as well!
Obviously, it takes two people to get pregnant. But many women forget that it’s not only their own health they need to keep in mind to increase the chances of becoming pregnant. Taking care of your partner is equally important. Being over- or underweight, stressed or having a medical condition can affect the man’s body’s ability to produce sperm, so it’s important to look out for anything unusual.
And keep his testicles cool! Testicles need to be a bit below body temperature to make sperm. So don’t wear tight underpants or trousers that make your testicles too hot. And avoid having hot baths.
Lastly, please don’t forget that your partner is the person you love and not just a sperm-producer. Keep your relationship and the sex fun, and don’t make getting pregnant a stressful exercise for either of you!
…forget to take folic acid
Folic acid, (also known as folate or vitamin B9), is a vitamin that helps your baby’s spine to develop properly and reduces the risk of a condition called spina bifida. Spina bifida means that the baby’s spine doesn’t close up properly, which can cause a range of disabilities.
So you should start taking folic acid tablets as soon as you decide you want to try for a baby. It’s best to take it while you’re trying to get pregnant and for the first three months of pregnancy. If you get pregnant and you haven’t been taking it, just start straight away.
Natural sources are green leafy vegetables and whole grains. But it’s almost impossible to get the amount you need to make a difference through food alone. You can buy the tablets over the counter at a chemist or drug story. And while generally it’s not advisable to go for over-the-counter supplements without asking your doctor first, you are okay to take this one. The recommended dose is 400 micrograms a day.
…believe the myths
There are no sex positions that make it more likely that you will get pregnant. And don’t believe that positions like standing up, or eating red meat and salty snacks will increase your chances of having a baby boy, or having sex while there is a full moon for a baby girl. All myths! The sex of the baby depends on genetics and biology, not on who initiates sex or the foods you eat.
But lying still on the bed for about 15 minutes after sex is a good idea. No need to keep your legs in the air though – that’s another myth.
Also, taking the pill, or using other birth control methods long-term won’t impact your fertility. It might take a few months for your cycle to get back to normal. But infertility is not a result of using birth control.
… wait too long to see a specialist
If you have tried to get pregnant for more than a year without success, you shouldn’t hesitate to discuss your issues with a doctor or a pregnancy or fertility specialist. They can identify any problems and help you and your partner find ways that might make it easier to get pregnant. Especially women over the age of 35 seem to benefit from specialist help if they have trouble getting pregnant.
Having said that, don’t forget that it’s just as likely to be the man as the woman who is having the fertility problem. And when it comes to starting fertility testing, it’s much easier to test a man than it is to test a woman.
Also, if you have trouble getting pregnant, don’t rely on home remedies or over-the-counter pills and herbal supplements to help you unless they have been approved by your doctor. Some of them can actually have a negative impact on your cycle.
And most importantly, don’t blame yourself if you can’t get pregnant.
Do have any other tips in getting pregnant? Or want to share your experiences? Leave a comment below or join the discussion on Facebook.