Trying for a baby
If you have decided the time is right to start a family and want to get pregnant fast, give mother nature a helping hand by introducing the following lifestyle changes.
As a mother your focus will be on the well being, heath and safety of your child. Start caring for ‘you’ in this way now and enjoy the pampering, detoxing and ‘me-time’ required for optimal preconception health.
Of course, you have to have sex too, so we are going to start with the best time to conceive.
Your most fertile time of the month
Most women are fertile for 5 to 6 days in their cycle so knowing when you are ovulating is helpful. To work out your most fertile time you can;
- Count the days from your last period (the earliest day you can get pregnant after your period is day 10) or use an online ovulation calculator.
- Check your cervical mucus, you are considered most fertile when the mucus becomes clear, slippery, and stretchy – a bit like raw egg whites.
- Register your basal body temperature to help you determine your most fertile period.
During your ovulation period have sex at least every other day. That means there will always be sperm in the fallopian tubes on the days that an egg may be in there, giving you the best chance of conception.
You don’t need to have an orgasm to get pregnant, but it helps, and makes things more fun. Fertility is increased when you have orgasm during or after the man. Once your partner has had an orgasm and ejaculated the semen sits in a pool at the back of the woman’s vagina. When you orgasm, your cervix pushes forward – dipping itself into this pool several times. When you orgasm the potential of sperm entering the uterus through the cervix is increased and so is your chances of conceiving. Good ways of bringing some ‘va va voom’ into the bedroom or living room for that matter include; sexy lingerie, steamy movie or some risky reading before bed. Alternatively get romantic; moon lit walks, candle lit suppers or even a mini break in an exciting city.
Take folic acid
Buy 400 micrograms (mcg) folic acid supplements from your local pharmacist and put it by your bed, your toothbrush – somewhere you will see it every day. If you were taking a daily contraception pill put your folic acid supplements in the same place so you remember to take them instead. The Department of Health recommends that every woman who is planning to get pregnant or already in their first 12 weeks of pregnany should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid and eat a folate rich diet to reduce her baby’s risk of getting some types of birth defects. See natural sources of folate for pregnancy for more information.
Get your 5-A-Day
- At breakfast: throw some dried apricots onto your cereal or grab a banana on your way out the door. If you have a cooked breakfast add some tomatoes.
- For your morning break; have an apple, pear or orange in your bag to snack on.
- At lunchtime; ask for extra cucumber, tomato, lettuce or sweetcorn on your sandwich or baked potato and grab a fresh orange juice for liquid
- For dinner in a restaurant or take-away; ask for a salad starter. If its pizza add an extra portion of vegetables such as; mushrooms, courgettes, artichokes or sun dried tomatoes. Same goes for a curry or chinese dish ask for an extra side dish of vegetables.
- At home; buy some frozen peas, broccoli, carrots or mixed vegetables and steam some to add a side portion to your meals.
- Snacks; fast snacks such as raw chopped carrot or celery sticks are great with hummus.
The amount you drink can reduce your fertility and ability to conceive. The safest approach is not to drink at all, or at least significantly reduce your alcohol consumption. If you’re trying to become pregnant, drink no more than one or two units of alcohol once or twice a week. Here are some strategies for avoiding alcohol at your next work or girl’s night out.
- I’ll have a cranberry juice please, I’m detoxing this month (or if you are brave, a urinary infection!)
- Fresh orange and soda please, I’m on a health kick and have an early morning jog planned for tomorrow.
- Soda water and lime for me, I’m watching my weight this month as I have a new dress that’s just a wee bit too skin tight.
- I’m going to check out the ‘virgin cocktails’ this time – I’m driving!
Smoking decreases fertility and smokers are 3 times as likely to take more than a year to conceive, so stop now. Make sure you get some support from friends, family and a support group such as Quit or your local stop smoking group to help you give up the cigarettes. Write a list of all the reasons why you want to stop, keep it in your purse and refer to it each time you feel the need for a cigarette. If you are trying for a baby you will want to include;
- I will have a better and faster chance of conceiving if I give up smoking.
- I will be less likely to miscarriage or stillbirth if I stop smoking.
- I will not expose by baby to the toxins in tobacco smoke.
- I will provide my baby with more oxygen, so his or her heart does not have to work so hard.
- I will be more likely to have a baby with a normal birth weight if I stop smoking.
- I will be giving my baby a better chance at life because baby’s of smokers are twice as likely to die from cot death.
- I will have a baby that is ill less often than a smokers baby.
Tell people that you don’t smoke. You will smell better and in a few weeks you should feel better, taste your food more, and cough less. You will have more money for you and your baby. Check out the NHS choices dedicated portal; NHS smoking and pregnancy.
Being over-weight or under-weight can reduce the chances of conceiving, so add or cut calories to reach a healthy weight. Studies show that women whose body mass index (BMI) is below 20 or above 30 have a harder time getting pregnant, so it’s a good idea to try to get yourself into the 20 to 30 range before you start trying.
A preconeption exercise programme is a good way to take off excess weight and can strengthen and tone your muscles for carrying and delivering a baby. Exercising regularly means you should include a minimum of 30 minutes moderate-intensity activity, five days a week. The 30 minutes doesn’t have to be all in one go, your half-hour could be made up of three ten-minute bursts of activity spread through the day, if you prefer. The activity can be a ‘lifestyle activity’ (in other words, walking to the shops or taking the dog out) or structured exercise or sport, or a combination of these. But it does need to be of at least moderate intensity.
Excessive exercise and prolonged increases in body temperature can interfere with ovulation so don’t over do it and keep your cool by avoiding hot tubs and saunas.
You may also like: Ovulation Calculator
Get pregnant by finding out your most fertile period using our ovulation calculator.
Further information to help you get pregnant
- When will my periods start after I stop taking the pill?
- How long does it usually take to get pregnant?
- Ovulation Calculator Tool
Department of Health, Pre-conception care, 2007 BBC Pre-conception Diet Tips Ignored, 2009 Food Standards Agency, Eat Well Be Well, Trying for a Baby (Accessed 2010) Department of Health,The Pregnancy Book 2007