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How to get pregnant: 13 expert-backed tips to help you conceive

17/10/2020

Beyond the obvious, know that there are ways you can up your conception chances. There’s a lot of advice out there – and it can be hard to separate the scientific fact from the nonsense. Dr. Geeta Nargund, medical director at Create Fertility, shares her expert guidance on being the most fertile you can be.

1/ Have sex every two-to-three days

“If you’re trying for a baby, having sex every two-to-three days throughout the month will give you the best chance of conceiving,” says Dr Nargund. It is not necessary to have sex more often than this – although you can if you want to, of course.

2/ Don’t save it for a certain time of the month

You are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex within a day or so of when you ovulate, according to the NHS, but try not to fixate on this too much, as doing so could actually hurt your chances of getting pregnant.

“If you’re having sex every two-to-three days, you shouldn’t worry about waiting for a certain time of the month to have sex,” says Dr Nargund. “Becoming too clinical about having sex by planning around the ‘optimum’ time can actually cause stress on both partners, and so could have a negative effect when attempting to conceive.”

3/ Eat balanced meals and cut down on junk food

“It is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet, rather than rely on supplements,” says Dr Nargund. This is because your nutrition not only impacts your own health and fertility, but could also affect your baby, if you get pregnant.

4/ Eat plenty of leafy green vegetables, brown rice and granary bread

These foods are all high in folate (the natural form of folic acid), which, according to the BNF, is important. Why? It reduces the risk of your future baby having problems with their spine known as neural tube defects.

However, it is almost impossible to get enough folic acid from your diet alone, so women who are trying to get pregnant are advised to take a daily supplement of 400 micrograms.

Dr Nargund adds that taking a Vitamin D supplement may also be necessary for some women, so you should speak to your GP to find out if this applies to you. It is important to carefully check the labels of any supplements to see if they are suitable for women trying to conceive. You should not take any that contain vitamin A, as having large amounts of vitamin A could harm your unborn baby.

5/ Work out your BMI

“It is important women achieve a healthy BMI of around 20-25, as being overweight or underweight can affect ovulation and fertility,” says Dr Nargund.

The NHS website has a handy calculator that makes it easy to work out your BMI. If you need to lose or gain weight to get into the optimum range, speak to your GP about how to achieve this. This is not the time to go on a crash diet, as unhealthy diet plans can also affect your ovulation and consequently your fertility.

6/ Be conscious of your alcohol intake

“It is not necessary to give up alcohol entirely, but it is important to reduce your intake when trying to conceive,” says Dr Nargund. “Drinking alcohol excessively can affect the quality of sperm, so women and their partners should consult their GP or visit the NHS website for guidelines on alcohol consumption.”

7/ Stop smoking

“It is also very important to give up smoking when trying to conceive,” says Dr Nargund. “There is a link between smoking and poor quality sperm in men, and a link between smoking and egg quality and quantity.”

You can seek advice and support to quit through your GP or on the NHS website.

8/ Be honest about your history of STIs

“When you approach your GP for fertility advice, depending on your previous history and previous exposure to STIs, a test may be recommended – but is not necessary for everybody,” says Dr Nargund. “STIs, including Chlamydia, can affect fertility, so it is important to consult your fertility doctor if you have a history of infections.”

9/ Take time to unwind

“Stress can have an indirect effect on your fertility,” says Dr Nargund. “For example, stress can affect your relationship with your partner and therefore cause a loss of libido. In severe cases, stress may also affect ovulation and sperm production. Additionally, when people get stressed they are more likely to drink or smoke more, which can negatively affect your fertility health.”

10/ Get between six-to-nine hours of sleep every night

Ensuring you get plenty of sleep and rest can help to regulate the hormones in your body – including those that affect your fertility – either through ovulation or sperm production, says Dr Nargund.

11/ Know your family history

“It is highly important to be aware of your family’s medical history when trying to conceive,” says Dr Nargund. “For example, the age that a woman’s mother went through the menopause can have an effect on her own. So, finding out whether they have a history of early menopause is really important. Additionally, it is important to be aware if there is a history of under-active thyroid problems in your family’s medical history.”

12/ Stop before you pop that pill

“You should consult your GP to ensure any medication you may be taking is safe while trying to conceive,” advises Dr Nargund.

13/ Know when to seek help

“If you have been trying to conceive regularly for over a year, and haven’t had any success, you should seek medical advice,” says Dr Nargund. “Women aged 36 and over, and anyone who is already aware that they have fertility problems, should see their GP sooner, usually after about six months.”

 

From: Women’s Health UK

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