Have you been planning to fall pregnant? Is it taking longer than expected? Don’t get frustrated. Here is a quick list of 5 Dos and Don’ts that will help you fall pregnant fast!
Let’s start with the Dos. Match yourself against these all-time classics!
- Know your ovulation
This is possibly the simplest and most important factor in falling pregnant. If you do not know your ovulation date, you are shooting in the dark! It’s that simple.
If you do not know the days around ovulation, then you need to learn how. They are the fertile days of your cycle and conception MUST happen around this time.
The important tool you will need is an Ovulation Kit. There are many types of ovulation kits out there, but the simplest and easiest to use is a mid-stream ovulation test kit.
Alternatively, you can use other methods to time your ovulation including a simple ovulation calculator. Once you know when the fertile period is, then you can get to work and start trying
- Know your signs of ovulation
Ovulation is not just about checking with the ovulation test kit and ovulation calculator. Getting to know the signs will be a great confirmation and reassurance that it has taken place.
One of the best signs of ovulation is your basal body temperature. The rise in temperature during ovulation is relatively small and not able to be noticed with regular thermometer. Basal body thermometers are very sensitive oral thermometers used to get these temperature readings. Your basal body temperature is your resting body temperature: when fertility charting, you track your resting body temperature first thing in the morning each day to discover the patterns in your cycle and to identify your fertility window.
- Nutrition – Know what to eat
Nutrition is possibly one of the most underrated, but crucial ingredients when falling pregnant. The type of food you eat and the nutritious benefits of such foods towards conception is a no brainer.
In most circumstances, most women (and men) take no special precaution in planning their diet for conception. That’s why it makes sense to take a good pre-natal multivitamin. Make sure that the multivitamin has folic acid, iron and Vitamin B12. These three ingredients are crucial for both conception and the neural development of the fetus from a very early stage.
In addition to nutrition, it is possibly important to mention that weight-loss and exercise are crucial to good fertility. Weight especially for women should be viewed on both sides – When BMI is too low, it means that the ovulatory cycle won’t be regular; BMI too high also carries challenges of fertility.
- Best Positions
The question of position has become more of an urban myth than the real truth. The fact of the matter is that there is no factual study that has been carried on this matter and therefore very unlikely to talk with certainty.
However, all experts agree on one common factor; gravity helps! Therefore positions that promote both deep penetration as well as letting the ejaculate get close to the cervix (opening of the uterus) will be more advantageous.
- What your man should do
Men’s fertility is sometimes ignored to the detriment of both parties. Men have a major role to play and in some circumstances will determine the outcome.
Nutrition is possibly one of the best places to start. Good nutrition and supplementation assists with increase sperm count and viability. Avoid smoking, drinking and exposure to some environmental toxins e.g. pesticides and organic solvents.
Men should also examine the drugs they are taking – The use of cannabis, cocaine and other substance abuse will markedly reduce their fertility. In addition anabolic steroids interfere with sperm production. Similarly drugs such as Sulfasalazine (IBS, Crohns and Colitis medication), Cimetidine (Ulcer medication) and Spironolactone (for High Blood Pressure) have been shown to interfere with sperm production.
The Don’ts of Falling Pregnant
- Don’t Smoke or Stop Smoking
When it comes to falling pregnant, smoking is one of the obvious ‘no go’ habits. Various clinical studies have demonstrated the detrimental effects of smoking on both the conception process as well as fetal growth. Research has shown that women who smoke 10 or more cigarettes per day, significantly decrease their fertility and thus their chances of conception.
Smoking has been associated with changes in the lining of the fallopian tubes, changes in the cervical mucus and damage to the egg. All these will likely lead to either no conception or miscarriage after conception.
Quitting smoking is not just the domain of women alone, but their partners as well. Second hand smoke can just be as detrimental to fertility as the smoke from the person who is really smoking. In addition, men who smoke will find that they also reduce their sperm count, motility and other hormonal imbalances that will affect their fertility.
In a nutshell, couples who are serious about conception should just quit smoking! Both parties should come up with a plan on how to quit smoking and support each other in the process.
- Stop Drinking
Consuming alcohol affect both female and male fertility and has adverse effects on the growing fetus during pregnancy.
The controversy here is on whether to quit alcohol before trying to conceive or after falling pregnant. Basic advice is the former – quit alcohol before trying to conceive. The argument here is that the woman could fall pregnant without knowing and still continue with alcohol consumption. This will lead to detrimental effects on the fetus.
The most common and possibly dreaded condition is known as Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) – A spectrum of conditions that inflict your unborn baby including abnormal appearance, low body weight, small body size, low intelligence, poor coordination etc.
- Reduce or Stop Caffeine altogether
Caffeine has been shown to increase the time to conception and is thought to be dose dependent. i.e. the higher the dose, the worse the effect.
It is important to either reduce or completely stop taking coffee while trying to conceive. In most circles, the general consensus is NOT to take more than 300gms of caffeine a day. That is approximately two cups of coffee a day (size of cup approx. 8 ounce or 250mls)
- Don’t give up
Make sure that your partner is involved in this process. Communicating with your partner and supporting each other is very essential.
If not, look for a group of close friends and family that you can talk to about your situation. Do not feel ashamed to talk to people who matter, it will relieve your stress and help in coping better. Note that infertility is a temporary crisis, most of the couples who experience infertility end up conceiving a healthy baby.
Seek support if necessary. Visit your doctor, talk to a counsellor or look for a general psychologists. Depending on the status of your social services, there is a lot of help out there to assist with the necessary support.
- Don’t blame yourself
Most times, it takes a while before you fall pregnant. The frustration can lead into a vicious circle of blame, isolation and self-blame. It is important to note that this will lead to stress and possible anovulatory cycles. i.e. cycles without ovulation.
If this happens, then it becomes the chicken and egg story… do you stop stressing to fall pregnant, or do you fall pregnant to stop stressing? The answer is obvious, the more you stress, the less the chances of falling pregnant.