Trying to Conceive 101
Have you and your partner decided you want to start trying for a baby? Fantastic! We have some excellent information to help you conceive naturally and successfully.
Generally, a healthy pregnancy begins with a healthy pre-conception. Of course there are exceptions, but if you want to get pregnant, the best place to start is with a healthy mind and body. Stress can affect your fertility, so find ways to decompress often.
Get on prenatal vitamins as soon as you begin trying to conceive, try to get as much folate in your diet as you can, and eat nutrient-rich food. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can help prevent gestational diabetes even before becoming pregnant.
If you are on any medication, even over-the-counter medicines, ask your doctor or midwife if they are safe to use during pregnancy and explain you are trying to conceive.
If you smoke or drink, it’s best to quit before getting pregnant. Smoking and drinking can both have a negative impact on your fertility and overall health.
Track Your Cycle
The best time to get pregnant is when you’re ovulating, although you can still get pregnant up to five days before and one day after ovulation during your fertile window. That sounds easy enough, but timing your ovulation exactly can be tricky, especially considering the length of your cycle can change. Fortunately, by looking at your previous cycles and watching for signs of ovulation, you have a good chance of predicting when your next ovulation will be.
Most women ovulate between 12-16 days before their period. Knowing this, you can count back the days from your last period and try to pinpoint when you ovulated. Then for future reference, if your cycle is 28 days and you usually ovulate around day 14, you know to check for signs of fertility starting day 9. Ovulation test strips can also help you determine when you will ovulate. Usually, ovulation will occur 36 hours after a positive result.
Sperm can survive up to five days in the vaginal canal so it’s okay if you don’t know the exact day of ovulation, you still have a fertile window leading up to it. You don’t have to have sex every day of your fertile window, every other day is fine.
Another way to predict ovulation is by monitoring your cervical positioning, firmness, and mucus. You can check your cervix throughout your cycle using your finger, just remember to wash your hands before and after. During your period, your cervix will be soft and at its lowest point. As you approach ovulation, your cervix lifts higher and becomes more firm. You may also notice a slight dilation when ovulating.
Before and just after your period, your cervical mucus will be thick and creamy. Usually, this type of mucus does not promote fertility, but it could also mean you may need some more hydration. During ovulation, your cervical mucus will be watery and more slippery or have an egg-white texture.
Taking your temperature every morning before you get out of bed can also help you determine when ovulation has occurred. This is called your Basal Body Temperature or BBT. Read more about measuring your BBT in our Natural Family Planning blog post.
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself or your partner while trying to get pregnant. Pressure is a killer for sex drive. Instead, do something that makes you feel frisky, like dancing with your partner or having a date night. This way sex doesn’t feel like it’s something you have to do, but rather something you want to do.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is important for cervical mucus production, but if you need a little extra help you can ask your midwives about taking fish oil or red clover supplement.
Consider the type of lube used during sex as some can kill sperm. Make sure you are using a water-based lube and lay down for 10-15 minutes to allow the sperm a chance to swim up your cervix before you clean up.
Your partner should also be eating healthy, exercising regularly, and staying away from smoking and drinking to give the best quality sperm. If you have been trying for a while with no success, we have found some couples benefit from eliminating sugar and gluten from their diet.
For more information on trying to conceive, call our midwives today!