It’s easy to think of getting pregnant as something that happens automatically (provided you put the right things in the right places, of course).
The truth is, pregnancy is a highly complex biological process that requires many factors to line up just right — some of which aren’t exactly within our control. It’s not for nothing that pregnancy is also known as the miracle of life!
But that doesn’t mean we can’t help things along. Here are 4 gentle, non-surgically invasive and medication-free recommendations for improving your odds when trying to conceive.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is not intended as medical advice.
1. Add micronutrients to your diet
There is growing evidence that certain vitamins and supplements can help a couple to conceive. They can support sperm production and quality in men, and promote healthy ovarian function in women.
Admittedly, the science is still not well understood, owing to the complexities of fertility, so your mileage may vary. However, making sure you have optimal levels of micronutrients can increase your chances of winning the baby jackpot.
Consider adding the following supplements to aid in your efforts. But before you start, do consult a doctor for the ideal dosage you and your partner should take.
Co-Enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is an antioxidant that is naturally produced by our body and found in almost every cell. It plays a vital role in producing energy as well as protecting against oxidative stress.
One study showed that pre-supplementation with CoQ10 improved ovarian response in women with poor ovarian reserve who were undergoing in-vitro fertility (IVF) treatments .
For men, research showed that CoQ10 may improve sperm concentration and motility, giving a boost to your little swimmers in their quest to reach the egg .
Selenium is another antioxidant that is beneficial to health, and having too low levels of this micronutrient can hinder your efforts at getting pregnant.
It has been observed that men who are deficient in selenium have been linked to low sperm production .
For women, not having enough selenium can cause gestational issues , or otherwise impede your ability to conceive. It is also important in supporting healthy uterine follicles, which is where ova are developed.
The good news is, supplementing with selenium in the case of deficiencies may reverse these issues and help you achieve a healthy, successful pregnancy.
Folic acid (Vitamin B9)
The role of folic acid in healthy baby development is well documented, but it turns out that this micronutrient can also be beneficial even when trying to get pregnant.
Women who supplement with folic acid were found to experience increased fertility rates. The good news is that this phenomenon seems to be “stronger among women with irregular cycles and among women with either short or long cycle length .”
Thus, making sure you’re getting adequate amounts of folic acid is a good idea for your fertility.
2. Track your fertile window
In case you haven’t heard, your fertile window is the short window of time in your menstrual cycle when you’re more likely to get pregnant. It typically lasts for 5-6 days, inclusive of ovulation, which is the one-day event when the egg is released from the ovary.
An ovulation test kit measures Luteinising Hormone (LH) levels in your urine to predict your ovulation status. A positive result indicates it’s the optimal time for procreative sex.
Another indicator is a change in cervical mucus, which is promoted by a rise in oestrogen levels in the lead-up to ovulation.
You may notice cervical mucus becoming clear and slippery, and there’s also more of it. This indicates that your ovulation is close and it is an optimal time to start having sex.
3. Get your hormones checked
When trying for pregnancy, you’ll want to make sure everything is working as intended. Getting a snapshot of the state of your fertility can help you identify and head off problems, saving you from unnecessary anxiety and worry.
One easy way to do this is with the twoplus Hormone Test, a comprehensive 3-step bundle that conveniently fits into your schedule.
For maximum privacy and minimal hassle, we’ve made it such that all you have to do is, order the Hormone Test Kit online, collect your blood sample, and receive your personalised report soon after.
As part of your pregnancy journey, share your test results with your primary care physician or gynaecologist. This way, it’ll be easier for them to make an in-depth analysis and identify any fertility obstacles in your follow-up consultations.
4. Improve your health
It is no secret that getting into better shape provides for a range of physical and emotional benefits. This can include the ability to focus at work better, not feeling lethargic so often, less anxiety attacks and many more.
But that’s not all, improving your health can have a positive impact on your efforts to conceive and here are some ways you can go about doing that.
Get more exercise
No, we aren’t saying that you need to be marathon-fit. Instead, simply aim to be more active and less sedentary. This means to spend less time sitting down, and more time up, out and about.
Add a daily walk or jog to your routine, or join a fitness class. It’s advisable to spread your exercise throughout the week to allow your body to gradually adapt to the new pace.
On that note, from personal experience do avoid the temptation to cram it all into the weekend as you’re more likely to overdo it and end up with unwanted injuries.
Increase the quality of your diet
You may have heard plenty of ‘advice’ from well-meaning friends and loved ones about what to eat in order to promote pregnancy. There’s some truth in what they’re saying, but probably not in the way you think.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet when trying to conceive is important, as proper nutrition helps you make up for any shortfall in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients — some of which have shown promise in promoting pregnancy (see above).
Besides, improving your diet will also optimise your health, which also bumps up your odds of getting a baby bump.
Cut out nicotine, alcohol and caffeine
It goes without saying that if you do any of the above, do consider cutting down or quitting entirely if you are planning to conceive — not just for women, but men as well.
Smoking has demonstrated to negatively impact conceiving and pregnancy , harming sperm health and quality in men, and hastening the depletion of ovarian follicles in women. There was also a clear correlation observed between tobacco use (by one or both parties) and reduced conception rates, compared to non-smokers.
Anything in excess can never be good, but in the case of alcohol even moderate consumption isn't recommended. Even having as few as 3 to 6 drinks a week has been shown to reduce the chances of women getting pregnant .
As for caffeine, there is concern that taking too much during pregnancy can lead to a baby's low birth weight and other issues. The prevailing recommendation is to limit daily intake to 200mg or less when pregnant . That means one cup of coffee, or two espresso shots a day at the very most.
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