Follow our easy tips for baby-making success.
If you're like most of us, chances are that as soon as you decide that you're ready to have a baby, you want to get pregnant immediately. And while getting a baby on board sometimes takes a few months, there are steps you can take to get pregnant faster. Follow our easy tips for quicker conception.
1. Get Healthy
In addition to curbing caffeine, alcohol, and smoking, if you're planning to get pregnant, you should look at the broader health picture. "It's important to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, and to avoid skipping meals," says Emma Cannon, a natural health expert and acupuncturist, and the author of The Baby-Making Bible. Pop that prenatal vitamin (look for one with DHA, which supports Baby's brain, eyes, and central nervous system), incorporate daily exercise into your routine, and get a handle on your menstrual cycle, starting with how long it typically lasts and when in your cycle you ovulate. It's also a good idea for both you and your partner to have a checkup with your health care provider to rule out any low-grade bacterial infections, which Cannon says could affect your ability to get pregnant. While you're there, make sure that any medications or supplements you're taking won't hinder your fertility.
2. Quit The Pill
Cannon recommends going off of any hormonal birth control three cycles before you're ready to get pregnant to help achieve optimal fertility. This will also give you and your partner ample time to talk through the process of becoming parents. But keep in mind that you can get pregnant during your first cycle off hormonal contraception, so use other forms of birth control until you and your partner are really ready to make a baby.
3. Map It Out
To figure out your most fertile days, chart your basal body temperature (it should go up slightly when you ovulate) and watch for cervical mucus (it may appear like the consistency of a raw egg right before you ovulate). You may want to pick up an over-the-counter Ovulation Predictor Kit (OPK), which is designed to detect the surge in hormones that occurs before you ovulate. But remember: "OPKs can only tell you about ovulation, rather than giving you an insight into your entire cycle like charting does," Cannon explains. Be sure not to put all of your eggs (pun intended!) into the OPK basket. According to Cannon, relying too much on the OPK can reduce the amount of regular sex that a couple regularly has, which can ultimately make getting pregnant take longer.
4. Get Busy
You don't have to let sex dominate your calendar (though it certainly doesn't hurt!) but you'll want to increase time in the bedroom once you're ready to become pregnant. Aim to have sex a few times a week throughout the month, and every other day, if not every day, from days 9 to 15 of your cycle. (This is assuming a 28-day cycle -- keep it up if you have a longer cycle, as ovulation tends to occur at your cycle's midpoint.) Missionary is sometimes said to be the most effective position for getting pregnant, but sperm is drawn to the egg quite naturally in any position. That said, try not to be too single-minded about it -- remember, sex is (or should be) fun!
And Here's What'll Backfire
1. Freaking Out
Obsessively worrying about when you'll become pregnant can be counterproductive, Cannon says. And, in general, any type of stress can potentially reduce your sex drive, disrupt your menstrual cycle (possibly even preventing ovulation), and affect your mood and your relationship. So stay calm, carry on, and enjoy all of the fun quality time in and out of the bedroom with your partner as you try to get pregnant.
2. Pre-Baby Partying
Everyone knows that good prenatal health and nutrition are key to growing a healthy baby, and many people "prepare" for this healthy lifestyle change by overindulging in the very things they'll soon be cutting out of their lives, such as alcohol, cigarettes, and junk food. The truth is, even though being bad right now can feel so good, it's definitely not good for your fertility. Cannon explains that "poor or inadequate nutrition, excessive alcohol, smoking, lack of enough sleep, and stress can all influence fertility for both men and women." Additionally, being underweight or overweight can affect menstruation. Consider picking up better lifestyle habits as soon as you start trying so you'll have a better chance of successful baby-making.
Copyright © 2013 Meredith Corporation.
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