7 Things you can do at home to improve your fertility
If you are thinking the best response is ‘have sex’, you would be right. But it’s a little bit more complicated than that. Trying to conceive can be a difficult pastime.
What starts out as a lot of fun can dissolve after a few months into a confused muddle of scheduling, planning and frustration. You may have lost the enjoyable part where you are just making babies with your partner, and are now entirely focused on doing it right. And it’s not until you are trying to conceive that you even contemplate the idea that you were doing it wrong to start with!
There are so many things you need to know. The tips and advice might come at you from everywhere telling you exactly how you should be optimising your reproductive opportunities (say that 3 times fast!) When is the best time of day? What is the best position? What should you be eating? What temperature should your partner’s testicles be? And do you really have to out your feet up over your head after sex?
When you are trying to get pregnant, there are a number of things you can do to help things along. Some of these things are supported by scientific evidence, some not so much, but could be fun to try anyway. Some may be old wives’ tales, but often old wives are pretty smart. So, have a read on, and see if any of these tips increase your chances.
7 steps you can take at home to improve your chances of getting pregnant
#1 Track your cycle
Finding out when you are ovulating is kind of taking the spontaneity out of doing the deed, but if you want to make sure you are doing it at the right time, you can do one of two things;
a)do it all the time (lots of dads like this option), or
b)find out what the right time is.
There are a number of easy ways to do this, including using a kit from a pharmacy, using a calendar and tracking the days after your period, or taking your basal body temperature to find out when you are ovulating.
#2 Change your diet
Maintaining a healthy weight improves your reproductive cycle, which gets thrown out of whack (very scientific term) if you are very over- or underweight. You may need to diet to increase your chances.
There are also some food behaviours which may boost your fertility levels. These include:
· Changing your protein sources from beef and pork, to plant-based ones such as beans, legumes and nuts
· Increase your full-fat dairy intake, with healthy options like full cream milk, and full fat cheese and good quality yoghurt. It doesn’t mean adding litres of ice-cream unfortunately.
· Reducing your trans-fat intake (this comes from fried food and baked goods) and replacing it with healthy fats such as Omega-3. Increase oily fish, nuts, olive oil and avocado.
· One healthy fat that is rumoured to help is dark chocolate! So get munching on this stuff whenever you are feeling like you need a sugar hit, because a lot of the unhealthy sources of sugar should be reduced while trying to get pregnant. Sugary drinks in particular should be reduced.
· Increase your choline intake, the best sources of which are egg yolks and cauliflower
· Eat organic fruit and vegetables only, as some pesticides have been shown to reduce fertility in both men and women. While you are at it, reduce the pesticide use in your house and on your lawn and garden.
· Increase the amount of water you are drinking; apparently this helps the swimmers to swim!
Read more on Best Foods to eat to improve your fertility here.
#3 Add vitamins and supplements
If you are trying to get pregnant its an excellent time to get started taking your pregnancy multivitamin, to get the jump on putting your body in its best state for growing a baby. Iron supplements are recommended, as is folic acid, but you can easily get everything you need with a good quality multivitamin designed for pregnant women.
Another supplement which women have been turning to for centuries includes cod liver oil. It may not be the most wonderful tasting item in your pantry, but if you are trying to get pregnant it could be the most helpful.
Some other herbal additions you can make to your life include the following:
· Red raspberry leaf, which can be taken in capsule form or drunk in a lovely tea
· Nettle leaf which is high in minerals and good at flushing out your system ready for the baby
· Dandelion, which is high in Vitamins A and C, good for the liver and works as a great detoxifier
· Maca, a powdered root which is wonderful for energy and mood, but also works really well for sexual vitality
Men are often seen to benefit from taking a multivitamin designed to help fertility also.
#4 Reduce some of your vices
This goes for both you and your partner. Sperm counts increase whenever you greatly reduce your intake of alcohol and recreational drugs, and if you quit smoking. But on the flipside, you get have more sex, so that should soften the blow a little.
You should also greatly cut back on your caffeine intake as this can interfere with conception. You will want to have a lower intake throughout pregnancy, so you may as well get used to this now. You have all of your child’s early sleepless years to make up the caffeine intake you lose now, trust me.
While you are reducing things, try to have a go at your stress level. High stress does not make for making babies. Look into things like mindfulness and yoga to help you calm down and chill out a little bit. Mild exercise is good as well.
#5 Look at your lube
If you use a lubricant, make sure it is a sperm-friendly one, or switch it for a natural alternative. Apparently, canola oil works just as well. Although having the bottle on your bedside table might look a little weird.
#6 Keep your body temperature regular
This is another tip which goes for both partners. Men who give their ‘boys’ the ability to breathe can increase sperm count, and women who maintain a lower body temperature, especially straight after intercourse, increase the chances of conception. Avoid saunas, hot spas or any particularly vigorous exercise (apart from the sex itself). It is also advisable that men don’t work with their laptop right in their lap, and put it on a table or some kind of holder, just to keep temperature right.
#7 Have more sex, and have fun
I told you this would be in here! Yes, having sex more often increase your chances of conceiving, so get on that whenever you can, especially around your ovulation times. Adding different positions can help too. There is no one position that is guaranteed to conceive over any others, as long as you are putting it in the right place, but fun and variety can only help, right?
This is easiest if you don’t already have children, but even couples who already have kids can figure out some creative ways to up the loving time. Streaming episodes of Paw Patrol repeatedly for your toddler is one really good idea.
I hope some of these tips are helpful, or give you a little inspiration to get conceiving! Good luck, chill out, relax and as best you can, have fun. Chances are, you are really not doing it wrong!