October on TalkMum is conception month. So what can actually help to boost fertility when you want to try for a baby?
Yesterday Fran wrote about deciding when the time was right to try for her first (and second and third) babies. Timing is obviously a very personal thing, but it’s important you prepare your body and adjust your lifestyle to maximise your chances of conception when you decide the time is right.
So what can help to boost fertility and help you get pregnant - naturally? How can you try to boost your fertility? Do you really have to give up the wine? Lets take a pregnant pause, and look at some top tips that can actually make a difference to help you conceive:
Drink lots of water – it sounds simple, but when you’re trying to conceive it is very important to drink lots of water (about 8-10 cups a day). This helps ‘clean out’ your system and also increases fertile-quality cervical fluid
Avoid alcohol and caffeine – we don’t mean to spoil your party, but it is a good idea to avoid or strictly limit alcohol intake as this reduces fertility. Department of Health advice is to avoid alcohol completely if trying to conceive or during pregnancy (it acts like a poison, preventing the body from taking in essential minerals and vitamins that are needed for conception). So hold off the wine for now. With any luck, you’ll be off it for the next nine months soon anyway. Caffeine is also thought to restrict the growth of a developing baby by constricting blood vessels and reducing blood flow to the uterus. Current advice is to limit caffeine intake to below 300mg per day, equivalent to 4 cups of instant coffee, 3 cups of fresh coffee or 6 cups of tea
Don’t smoke! – women have a 40% lower chance of getting pregnant if they smoke, according to a report published by the British Medical Association (BMA). Smoking decreases sperm count and increases sperm abnormalities in men. Ask your GP or Practice Nurse for help in quitting, or take advantage of Stoptober
Get some exercise - women who exercise regularly are less likely to experience the uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy (back pain, piles, swollen ankles etc). A fit healthy body is also more likely to cope better with child birth, and women who exercise regularly are almost 40% more likely to carry a healthy child to term. Make sure you find a healthy balance though, as excessive amounts of exercise can also lead to fertility problems such as irregular periods and anovulatory cycles (cycles where ovulation does not occur)
Don’t stress about it – many people stress about becoming pregnant, and what can happen is once they release that stress, their body reacts to the new peace by finally conceiving. Relaxing is easier said than done though, when getting pregnant is the one thing you want more than anything. Do try not to worry though (and enjoy the fun of trying)
Take a supplement – taking a supplement such as our Pregnacare Conception will provide you with folic acid and other nutrients such as natural vitamin E, inositol, l-arginine, n-acetyl cysteine and vitamin B12 which help support the nutritional requirements of women trying to conceive. Current research highlights that women who take folic acid supplements for at least a year before they become pregnant can cut their risk of having a premature baby by 70 percent (according to a study by the University of Texas, based on 38,033 women)
Sex – it seems obvious, but have sex often, at least 3 times a week, to increase your chances of pregnancy. And try to lie ydown for at least a few minutes after sex increases the odds that the sperm will be able to make a date with the awaiting egg
STDs – make sure that you have been properly screened for STDs. Pelvic inflammatory disease is common amongst women with the number-one cause being an untreated sexually transmitted disease
Medication –if you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter drugs be sure to ask your doctor if it’s safe to continue taking them once you start trying to conceive. And contrary to popular belief, taking the contraceptive pill, antibiotics or analgesics should not affect the accuracy of your pregnancy test
Pill – if you have been on the pill for a long time you may be low on certain vitamins and minerals especially vitamin B complexes, something to take into account if you're trying to boost fertility naturally
Keep a diary – you don't need to write down your innermost thoughts and feelings, but keep a note of the date when your period starts, the number of days it lasts and anything else your doctor or midwife might want to know. You can also download ovulation trackers, and buy tester kits from the chemist - similar to pregnancy tests, these will tell you the optimum fertile time to try each month
Eat well– a balanced diet is very important. The body needs vitamins and minerals that are found in a range of foods to provide it with the chemicals it needs to produce the lining in the womb. But don’t go on a crash diet. They affect your ovulation and consequently your fertility.
Remember that trying to conceive is a numbers game. Even if you do everything ‘right’ and try everything to boost fertility you still only have a 25-30 percent chance of conceiving in any given cycle. Good luck!
Did anything unusual work for you to boost fertility when you were TTC? Leave a comment and let us know.
Image via h4ck on Flickr.