After trying unsuccessfully to conceive, many couples find that it is harder to become pregnant than they believed it would be. Unfortunately, there can be many contributing factors to infertility, sometimes making it difficult to determine what is causing a fertility problem.
There are a variety of simple, effective ways to help improve a couple’s chances of conceiving. These natural techniques can be beneficial for all couples trying to conceive, regardless of the severity of the infertility they are experiencing, and should be considered by any couple attempting to get pregnant. Read on to learn how to increase fertility.
Increase Fertility by Changing Your Lifestyle
Eat a balanced diet. Be sure to include plenty of proteins and vitamins in your diet. Taking a daily multi-vitamin will help you to obtain all of the vitamins that you need to keep your body healthy and your hormones properly balanced. Including lots of good proteins, vegetables and fruits will help you stay healthy and strengthen the immune system. Staying well hydrated is equally important when trying to conceive. Drinking plenty of water every day will help to flush toxins out of the body, improving your overall health and thereby increasing your chances of successfully conceiving.
Try some alternative proteins. Instead of only acquiring your proteins from meats, try getting your proteins from alternative sources such as plants. Most people don’t think of plants as good proteins, but if you substitute some meats for beans and peas, your fertility may improve. This is because the proteins from meats are harder to digest. If the body uses too much energy to break down those proteins, it can send hormone levels out of balance.
- Soy can also be another good alternative protein. Eating soy products in small amounts can help to increase your fertility. Soy is a bit controversial, however, and can have some negative effects on fertility if too much is ingested, because it does contain high levels of plant-based estrogen. Most doctors recommend only small amounts of soy be added to your diet when trying to conceive. The amount will vary depending on your weight and height, so check with your doctor for the recommended amount that is right for you.
- You do not have to adopt a completely vegan diet, but if you keep your meat eating to a minimum, it is likely to have a positive effect on your fertility.
Do not give up all carbohydrates. Instead, just try switching to whole grain carbohydrates. By choosing whole grain foods instead of white breads or white rice, it will have a positive effect on your blood sugar and the insulin levels in your body. If your insulin is functioning properly, your hormone levels are more likely to stay well balanced. This can only help to improve your fertility.
Drink whole milk.
- Even though this may go against everything you believe about whole fat dairy products, whole milk and full fat dairy products may help increase your fertility. Many scientists are now citing studies that demonstrate an increase in fertility rates in women who ingest full fat dairy products, particularly milk and yogurt, on a daily basis.
- You do not want to overdo it, and should not use this as an opportunity to indulge in full fat ice cream sundaes. So stick with one glass of whole milk per day. In addition, the calcium found in the milk is very helpful.
Be careful about what kinds of fish you are consuming. If fish is a food that you enjoy, you do not have to eliminate it entirely when you are trying to conceive, just choose the fish you eat wisely.
- Fish are a good source of protein and vitamins that can affect your fertility in a positive way. However, not all fish are beneficial when trying to conceive. Some fish can be very dangerous when consumed by women who are pregnant or who are trying to conceive.
- Mercury can negatively affect pregnant women and women who are trying to get pregnant. It can stay in your system for up to a year, so steer clear of mercury filled fish if you are trying to conceive.
Add good fats to your meals. Adding avocados and almonds to your meals can really help you in the long run. The fats found in these foods are actually good fats. These fats are not trans fats or saturated fats, but are monounsaturated fats, and they help the insulin in your body to function correctly, thus balancing hormones and increasing your chances of conception.
Start an exercise program to help reach and/or maintain a healthy weight. When you are trying to conceive, added weight can be a problem.
- For women who are carrying extra weight, menstrual cycles may become less regular and may result in decreased ovulation. When ovulation rates decline, it reduces your chances of becoming pregnant. On the flip side, you don’t want to be too thin either. Women who do not have enough body fat may not produce the hormones that are needed to ovulate every single month. In addition, women who are too thin can be suffering from malnutrition, and may not be healthy enough to carry the baby to full term if they do become pregnant.
- Research shows that in general, men who exercise regularly have a slightly higher sperm count and better sperm quality than their sedentary peers. Although the effects are mild, when facing infertility, couples need all the help they can get. If exercising increases the chances of successfully conceiving even slightly due to improved sperm quality, it is one of the simplest steps a man can take to improve his fertility.
Stop smoking as soon as possible. Everyone knows that smoking is a bad habit with an abundance of detrimental health effects. Smoking can be especially bad for a woman who is trying to become pregnant. Smoking will cause the ovaries to age more rapidly than they would naturally, and cigarettes are loaded with harmful toxins that are extremely damaging to a woman’s eggs. The sooner you stop smoking, the sooner you will begin to repair some of the damage that has been done to your reproductive system, making you more likely to successfully conceive.
Limit your caffeine intake. Drinking more than one caffeinated beverage a day can have a negative impact on women who are trying to increase their fertility.
- Stick to one cup of coffee or tea in the morning and then drink water for the rest of the day. This can also help you prepare for your pregnancy, since it is not recommended for pregnant women to drink any caffeine while they are pregnant. Cutting out all caffeine at once can cause withdrawal, so slowly cutting back before eliminating it all together during your pregnancy can get you off to a good start.
- Even though caffeine can have a negative effect on women, it can be positive for men. Caffeine can help men’s sperm mobility while trying to conceive. So, giving him a cup of coffee before sex may not be a bad thing.
Watch your alcohol consumption. Forget about the saying that one glass of red wine a day is good for you. When it comes to trying to get pregnant, any amount of alcohol can affect your chances in a negative way.
- Even one drink can reduce your chances of conceiving by half. So, even though you are tempted to have that one drink after work, if you’re trying to increase your fertility, even that one drink is a bad idea.
Become Familiar With Your Menstrual Cycle and Birth Control
Getting to know your body is an important step in the right direction to help increase your fertility chances.
Take notice of your menstrual timeline. Pay attention to how many days you have between your periods and become familiar with the times that you are most fertile. By paying close attention to your fertile window every month, you can time intercourse accordingly and will be more likely to conceive.
- A good way to help you become familiar with the times you are most fertile is to use an ovulation kit which can be bought over the counter at your local pharmacy. Ovulation kits work by detecting the hormones in your urine that are released prior to ovulation. When that hormone is detected, you will receive a positive ovulation result, alerting you to the best time to have intercourse every month.
- Another effective way to track ovulation is to start a fertility chart. Fertility charts pay close attention to physical changes that take place in the woman’s body throughout the month, such as basal body temperature, cervical mucous and the position of the cervix. As ovulation approaches, there are subtle changes in these factors that, when charted properly, will alert a woman to her most fertile window.
Regulate your menstrual cycle with hormonal birth control. Women who suffer from irregular periods often have a hormonal imbalance that can hinder fertility. Hormonal birth control can help regulate menstrual cycles and balance out hormones that are out of whack. A lot of women have the misconception that birth control is a bad thing when trying to conceive, but it can actually improve your fertility by regulating your cycle. Hormonal birth control can also stop the aging of your ovaries and slow down some dangerous fertility problems such as endometriosis.
Limit Your Level of Stress
Stress affects everyone in different ways. Some people are better at managing stress than others. For most people however, high stress levels can be very harmful to physical health, therefore affecting their chances of conception in a negative way.
Use some de-stressing. Many times, couples who are facing infertility experience added stress as a result of not being able to conceive. This compounds the fertility issue even further.
- If you are experiencing a lot of stress or are feeling depressed, it can have a tremendous impact on your ability to conceive. Try performing some relaxation exercises such as yoga to try to relieve some of that stress.
- If the stress you are experiencing is overwhelming and is a bigger issue than yoga alone can solve, it may be a good idea to seek a counseling session with an infertility support group or a licensed counselor or doctor to help get rid of some of the stress that you are experiencing.
Get intimate with your partner. This may seem like a no brainer, but sometimes all the stresses of constantly thinking about getting pregnant can cause you to neglect your bedroom time. Regular sex can be a great stress reliever and it can also help your ovulation cycles to stay regulated.
How to Determine Fertility
Understand the mechanism of your body. Most women are only fertile for a few days out of every menstrual cycle.
- If you track your menstrual cycle with the sympto-thermal or basal body temperature methods, you will notice your morning body temperature dips slightly during ovulation and spikes directly afterward. In addition, your cervix will be high, soft, moist, and open. You may notice breast tenderness and other physical signs, such as slight spotting, cramping, or abdominal bloating.
- During ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg, your body has a short window during which the egg can be fertilized. For this period of time, you are considered fertile, and conception is possible.
- Sperm can survive in a woman’s reproductive tract for up to five days, meaning you could potentially become pregnant from intercourse that took place prior to ovulation if the mucus conditions in your body are receptive.
- Your body will secrete a clear, stretchy, slippery mucus when you are most fertile and you will notice greater natural lubrication during intercourse. Many women also experience a greater desire for sexual intercourse during ovulation.
Discuss your wish to determine your fertility with a health professional.
- If you are trying to conceive and have used a fertility awareness method for over 6 months without luck, discuss your situation with a fertility specialist or your primary care provider. There may be simple changes you can make – such as having intercourse once per day on each of your fertile days – that may help you achieve pregnancy.
- In some cases, occupational, dietary, or physical conditions may make determination of fertility difficult, even if you are using a fertility awareness method or ovulation kit correctly and regularly. Your physician may have advice for limiting your exposure to some medications, certain chemicals, physically demanding exercises, or unique dietary items to aid in determining your fertility. In some cases, simple changes in nutrition, physical activity, sleep or medication habits, or sexual activity can make it easier to determine fertility.
- If you are correctly tracking your fertility and you are unable to conceive, your physician may discuss the possibility of changing some of your partner’s habits. In some cases, constrictive clothing or regular heat exposure in the groin area may make men temporarily less fertile. Simple changes may be all that is necessary to help you both reach your fertility potential.
Track your fertility. Natural family planning, basal body temperature tracking, the sympto-thermal method, the Billings Method, and other fertility awareness processes involve regular tracking of your monthly cycle and can help you determine your most fertile days every month.
- Fertility awareness methods are hormone-free ways of managing fertility. Although many methods require several months of regular charting and coaching before you become confident or familiar with tracking your symptoms, they can be highly effective at pinpointing ovulation to help you achieve or avoid pregnancy. When used consistently and correctly, they can predict fertility with as much as 99% accuracy.
- Natural fertility awareness methods are often taught at hospitals, health clinics, churches, fertility centers, and gynecologist offices. They are significantly more precise and detailed than the “rhythm method,” and are typically free or low-cost methods for determining fertility. In addition, they are accepted by many religions that otherwise reject contraception. The methods typically require multiple training sessions, a thermometer, and a paper calendar or chart for tracking your symptoms.
- Fertility awareness tracking has no associated risks, but it cannot protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Similarly, if you are trying to avoid pregnancy you must abstain during your most fertile period or use an alternate method of birth control to prevent conception when you perceive symptoms of fertility.
- If you do not wish to chart your physical symptoms to determine ovulation, you can use commercial ovulation calculators or test kits to attempt to determine your fertility. These over-the-counter tests can predict ovulation very accurately when used correctly, but can become expensive if used on a regular basis for determining fertility.
Consider more rigorous fertility testing methods. Be aware that not all medical fertility tests are conclusive, and many can be invasive. The tests may last several months and do not always help determine fertility or specific causes of infertility.
- Fertility testing can be expensive and stressful. Discuss the pros and cons of fertility testing with your health care provider and make sure you are ready for extensive tests. In some cases, your doctor may recommend additional time tracking your fertility and targeting intercourse, as well as making dietary and lifestyle changes, before suggesting formal fertility testing.
- Ask your insurance provider if fertility testing is covered under your plan. Many insurance agencies do not pay for fertility testing or fertility enhancement, so be sure you are emotionally and financially prepared for large potential out-of-pocket expenses and that your partner is equally eager to determine fertility for the purpose of conceiving.
- Consult an experienced fertility specialist and request a fertility counseling session before beginning tests. This will help you and your partner know what to expect from the tests and what will be required of you both.
- Adhere to the specialist’s instructions precisely when attempting to determine fertility through additional tests. Also, be prepared to discuss your sexual, dietary, and physical activity habits with your fertility specialist on a regular basis. Tests range from simple blood draws and sperm samples to ultrasounds and invasive extraction of eggs.
- Try to incorporate some vitamins into your diet as well. You can always use a prenatal vitamin if you want to, but they can have some negative side effects. Try taking a good multi-vitamin every day and this will be a good substitute for some of the foods that can help to increase your fertility.
- It is always important to discuss any plans of conceiving with your doctor. If you are planning on trying to get pregnant, your doctor is the best source for good tips to help increase your chances of conceiving. Your doctor can assist you in coming up with a good meal plan that suits your specific needs.