You’ve decided it’s time to have a baby. You’ve gotten rid of your birth control, you’ve started to track your menstrual cycle, and you’re ready and waiting with your pregnancy test.
Unfortunately, conceiving isn’t always that simple.
In fact, couples only have a 15-25% chance of getting pregnant each month, without intervention. The odds are stacked against you from the get-go. And as time passes and that pregnancy test remains negative, you can start to feel frustrated, worried, and as though you have no control over your own body.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Fertility is a complex process with a number of contributing factors. Age, irregular periods, underlying medical conditions, and how often you have sex can all affect your chances of getting pregnant. But simple lifestyle choices can also impact your chances as well.
Below, we’ll look at how you can time intimacy for when you’re most fertile, and offer some simple lifestyle hacks that could give your fertility a much-needed boost.
When Are You Most Fertile?
This may seem like a million-dollar question, but there’s a way you can figure this out each month. You simply need to know the approximate day you’re going to ovulate, since this is when an egg is released from your ovaries.
If your cycles are regular (every 28 days), ovulation tends to occur around 14 days after the last day of your period. If your cycles are longer, the ovulation date needs extending slightly (you may want to use an ovulation calendar to help you figure this out).
The egg stays alive for approximately 12 to 24 hours after it’s released. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean you’ve got less than a day to get pregnant each month! Sperm can live up to 7 days in your body, which extends this window of opportunity to around one week (from day 9 to day 16 of your ovulation). Having sex during this time will give you the best chances of conceiving.
What Foods Help Increase Your Fertility?
The mantra, “you are what you eat” fits well when you’re trying to get pregnant, as there are some foods that may help boost your fertility.
From cooked tomatoes and asparagus to walnuts, beans and lentils, there are a whole host of foods that can help you work toward a healthier and more fertile you. In fact, research shows women who consume full-fat dairy products have a better chance of getting pregnant than those who opt for low-fat varieties.
Essentially, it’s about getting the right balance of nutrients. In turn, this will help ensure you’re within a healthy weight range – which is something else that can help improve your chances of conceiving.
Being under- or overweight can significantly reduce the chances of becoming pregnant each month. The same can be said if you have a partner, so it’s a good idea to embark on a healthy-eating regimen together, if you can.
What Habits Increase or Decrease Your Chances of Getting Pregnant?
Smoking and drinking are widely recommended against when you’re pregnant, but they’re something you want to avoid while you’re trying to get pregnant as well.
Too much alcohol can decrease your fertility and may lower your partner’s sperm count. While you may want to enjoy a glass of wine, try to be mindful of how much you’re drinking and stick to the recommended guidelines. Further, even if you don’t smoke but you live with someone who does, try to avoid second-hand smoke as much as possible. Even inhaling smoke in this way can impair your fertility.
In comparison, exercise is a fantastic habit to get into while you’re trying to conceive. If you’re not a fan of exercising, a few walks and a yoga class each week can do wonders for your health and mindset.
Already an avid exerciser?
Great! Just be sure not to overdo it. Lots of vigorous exercise can impede ovulation while also lowering the levels of progesterone in your body. All that being said, up to 5 hours of vigorous exercise per week is thought to be okay.
Taking Control of Your Health and Fertility
While conceiving can come with its own challenges, that doesn’t mean you can’t regain control over your body. By being mindful of your ovulation patterns and your health, you can take huge steps toward being a happier, healthier, and more fertile you. These simple changes can ultimately help you enjoy a healthier pregnancy as well.
•This is a collaborative post