Trying for a baby? How to boost your chances inside and outside the bedroom
Deciding you’re ready to start a family is an important– and exciting– step in your life! Nivi is here to support you along that journey by sharing ways to boost your chances of pregnancy, such as healthy lifestyle choices, tips for the bedroom, and fertility myths. Keep reading to learn more!
Lifestyle Tips to Boost Fertility
Preparing for a healthy pregnancy begins with having a healthy lifestyle. Here’s what you can do to stay healthy, whether or not you’re trying to get pregnant:
Keep a healthy weight
Your body will go through big changes during pregnancy. So taking care of yourself before trying to have a baby is very important! Aiming for a healthy weight can help you get pregnant faster while lowering your chance of pregnancy problems. Healthy eating and regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight. For example, eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and taking short daily walks can keep you healthy. Be careful to not overdo the exercise– doing high intensity exercise more than 5 hours per week may decrease fertility.
Don’t smoke, drink lots of alcohol, or use drugs
Smoking, alcohol, and drugs can lower your fertility and lead to serious problems for your baby, like miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Smokers usually have lower levels of estrogen, which can affect your menstrual cycle and lower your chance of getting pregnant. The same goes for your partner; smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and drug use can lower sperm count and sperm quality in males. Remember, if you become pregnant, that no amount of alcohol is safe to drink.
Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
Some infections can cause infertility for women, such as chlamydia and gonorrhea. So it’s important to use barrier methods like condoms when you’re not trying to get pregnant.
Add Folic Acid to your diet
Taking folic acid (vitamin B) can improve your chance of getting pregnant by increasing ovulation and promoting fertilization. It also keeps your baby healthy once you become pregnant. Folic acid is found in prenatal vitamins, which you can get from your local health clinic. The good news is that some foods are naturally high in folate, so add them to your diet!
Here are some foods that are high in folate:
Dark green leafy vegetables (turnip greens, spinach, romaine lettuce, asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli)
Beans, peanuts, and sunflower seeds
Fresh fruits and fruit juices
Lower your stress
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, it can feel frustrating. But remember, caring for your mental health is just as important as caring for your body. Even taking just a few minutes to focus on your breath can be calming. Activities like yoga and meditation can also help reduce your stress.
Bedroom tips to boost fertility
If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s time to stop using contraceptives! How soon you become fertile depends on what birth control you use. For example, if you stop using hormonal birth control (like the pill), it may take a month for your natural menstrual cycle to return to normal. If you’re using a barrier method (like condoms), you can get pregnant the next time you don’t use it.
You’re more likely to get pregnant if you’re having sex regularly, but when you have sex also matters. There are a few days a month when you’re more likely to get pregnant, depending on your cycle. For example, having sex every 2 to 3 days after your period ends can increase your chance of pregnancy. You can also use the Calendar Method to keep track of your fertile (and infertile) days. If Day 1 is the first day of your period, the Calendar Method says you will be most fertile between days 8-19. Your chance of getting pregnant will be higher if you have sex on these days!
Infertility is the woman's fault
Not true! Pregnancy requires two people...so that means both the female AND male partner must be fertile. However infertility can affect both women and men; more on that below!
Women over 35 can't get pregnant
That depends. Fertility does decline with age, but it's still possible for women older than 35 to get pregnant.
Women who reach menopause cannot get pregnant. Menopause is when your period stops, which can happen in your 40s or 50s.
Well how about men? Men are able to produce sperm throughout their life, but the quality of their sperm lowers with age. Most women and men reach peak fertility at age 30. That means that after 30, fertility naturally lowers with age.
Birth control causes infertility
Not true! Hormonal birth control (like the pill) does not affect your ability to have children in the future. However, STIs can. That's why it's a good idea to use both birth control and barrier methods (like condoms) to prevent STIs and pregnancy.
When you're trying for a child, stop using contraceptives. The hormones in birth control pills only stay in your body for a short amount of time (that's why you take it daily). So once you stop taking it, you will return to your normal cycle and be able to get pregnant within a few months.
Certain sex positions increase conception
You may have heard that some positions are better for conception. But that’s not true! The most important thing is to find a position that feels comfortable for you and your partner! Conception is when a male sperm meets a female egg. As long as sperm from the penis enters the vagina during sex, you can get pregnant. So leave the condoms in the drawer!
How about laying down after sex?
Laying down after sex won’t increase your chance of conceiving BUT cuddling with your partner after sex has lots of benefits like…
Building a stronger relationship
Lower risk of heart disease
AND lower stress
Overall health does not affect fertility
Not true! Your physical and mental health is very important. Making healthy lifestyle choices improve your health AND boost your fertility!
What is infertility? Say you're trying for a child. You have unprotected sex regularly but don't get pregnant after 1 or more years of trying. This is called infertility, and it can affect both men and women. BOTH partners must be fertile to conceive.
Reasons for infertility in women:
☑ Irregular periods or no menstrual periods
☑ A history of more than one miscarriage
☑ A history of pelvic inflammatory disease
☑ Hormonal disorders
☑ Genetic disorders
Reasons for infertility in men:
☑ A history of testicular trauma
☑ A history of infertility with another partner
☑ Sexual dysfunction, such as getting or keeping an erection
☑ Hormonal disorders
☑ Genetic disorders
When should I see a doctor?
☑ You've had unprotected sex for more than 1 year
☑ You are older than 35 years
☑ You have had one or more miscarriages
☑ Your partner has trouble getting or keeping an erection
☑ You have no period, irregular periods, or heavy bleeding
☑ You or your partner have had a sexually transmitted infection (STIs)
☑ You have a long-term medical condition like diabetes or high blood pressure
There are many reasons why you might be having trouble getting pregnant AND there are also many solutions! Going to a healthcare facility, doctor's office, or clinic can help you get the answers you need.
Remember, if you're having trouble getting pregnant, it's never your fault. Even if you’re not experiencing these symptoms, it’s still a good idea to get regular health check-ups: before, during, and after pregnancy. Nivi is here to support you throughout the process.
Have questions about sex, STIs, and contraception? Remember you can chat with Nivi on WhatsApp any time. It’s private, confidential, and free!