For the majority of women, 70% to be exact, pregnancy does not happen the first cycle. While we can’t control which cycle we fall pregnant as much as we would like to, there are steps to take to make it more likely to happen. Read below on scientifically proven ways to help you get pregnant faster.
Checklist for Being Fit for Pregnancy
- Be a healthy weight
- Exercise at least 3 times a week
- Healthy diet full of fruits & vegetables and low on sugar & starch
- Body clear of smoking, medications (unless necessary for your health) and alcohol
- Active daily stress reduction activities
- *You may wish to set up a preconception check-up, especially if on any type of medications
Checklist for Getting Pregnant Faster:
- Download and use a period tracking app
- Find out precisely when you ovulate
- Make love every day or every other day 2-3 days before ovulation date
- Use the appropriate type of lubricant for trying to conceive
Scientifically Proven Ways to Increase the Chances of Getting Pregnant
There is a lot of information out there on what to do to increase your chances, such as sex positions, foods to eat and how often to have sex. Some of them are old wives tales and others are backed by clinical data. We know it can get confusing so here are the top scientifically proven ways that have been clinically found to affect fertility.
Fit for Pregnancy
Body weight can have a major impact on your ability to conceive. If body fat percentage is too low, estrogen levels may be too low; and if you are overweight, estrogen levels may be too high. Both may affect your ovulation cycle. One way to estimate if you are in the healthy range is to calculate your BMI. Here is an online BMI calculator.
- Underweight = <18.5
- Normal weight = 18.5–24.9
- Overweight = 25–29.9
- Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
It’s not typically an easy task to change your weight. Talk to your doctor about a safe and healthy diet plan. This will not only help you to get pregnant, but also have long term health benefits for your child. Also, weight is not only an issue for women trying to conceive, it’s also an issue for your partner. Men, both underweight and overweight, can have reduced sperm quality.
Here are the national and international evidence-based physical activity guidelines relevant to men and women trying to conceive: A minimum of 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity 6-7 days a week and 75 minutes/week of vigorous intensity or if over weight it is recommended to do moderate intensity physical activity for 225-300 minutes/week.
Sample exercise plan:
If you are healthy and deemed fit for exercise, here is a sample of a safe TTC regime:
- Run/Swim/Bike/Walk: 2-4 times a week
- Weight Training: 2 times a week
- Stretching or Yoga: 2 days a week minimum
- Rest day: 1-2 times a week
If finding the motivation to overhaul your diet hasn't happened yet, now is the time. The food you eat will not only have an impact on your ability to get pregnant but also the health of your baby. We often neglect the powerful impact that nutrition has over our bodies - malnutrition can cause deformities and too much of a good thing (yes, talking about you sugar) can cause diabetes and even stop you from ovulating. Nourish your body and your future baby with whole foods. Click here for a great article on what to eat.
- Whole Grains
- Healthy Fats
- Lean Protein
- Packaged food
- Highly refined breads and pasta
- Anything with hydrogenated oils
- Too much dairy
Lifestyle Habits (caffeine, alcohol & smoking)
If you are a coffee drinker, don’t stress, you can still have coffee. Just don’t over do it and stick to having no more than 1- 2 cups a day.
What about alcohol? Some studies show that moderate drinking might be alright, but that having two glasses a day can significantly reduce your fertility. Doctors recommend abstaining from alcohol all together while trying to conceive since the effects on your baby are unknown and can potentially be detrimental to the baby.
Smoking, on the other hand, we know has a major impact on fertility. Men that smoke may have reduced sperm count and damaged DNA. Women that smoke reduce how receptive their uterus is to the egg. Not to mention that women who smoke also have increased probability of having a miscarriage.
Stress releases several hormones that may actually suppress ovulation and affect the hypothalamus which helps to control and regulate ovulation. Stress can also affect your partner as well and reduce his sperm quantity.
Find what reduces stress best for you and your schedule such as mediating, taking daily walks and working less hours. One quick way to reduce stress hormones is deep breathing. Try this: Count 7-10 seconds as you inhale and 5 seconds as you exhale three times. You will get your parasympathetic nervous system going and slow down your heart rate.
Being patient for something we want more than anything can be hard on our hearts and minds. Read here on how to use the power of your mind to stay positive.
Getting Pregnant Faster:
Download a Period Tracking Application
Apps that track your period may offer a guess your fertile window. While your fertile window may indeed fall within these dates, keep in mind the app uses an algorithm based on averages, not your own biology. They are a great way, however, to help you track your cycle length. If you do end up having a difficult time conceiving and need to see your doctor, this data will be helpful for them to know.
Some apps also allow for you to keep temperature and cervical mucus logs which can be super helpful in identifying your fertile window and day of ovulation.
Time Your Ovulation
The key to getting pregnant is timing. This is one of the most important steps you can take. Outside of your fertile window, there is nearly a 0% chance of getting pregnant. If you are using apps alone, you may miss your individual ovulation cycle. Many women do not ovulate half way through their cycle. To determine if you ovulate early or later, you need to use biomarkers such as hormones (LH sticks), temperature and cervical fluid to predict your ovulation cycle.
Have Sex Often but Don’t Burn Out
While trying to conceive, have unprotected sex once a day or every other day during your fertile window. Try not to get too obsessed with charts, certain positions and keep it fun and romantic. There is no need to skip out on sex or have sex every other day unless your partner has been diagnosed with low sperm count.
Try having sex everyday 2-3 days before ovulation and on the other days, keep sex spontaneous and when in the mood. Read here about a personal story on keeping intimacy less stressful while trying to conceive.
Watch Out for the Wrong Kind of Lube
If you use lube, make sure it’s not the kind that decreases sperm mobility. Lubricants that have certain oils and glycerine are known to hinder the sperm. There are specific brands of lube made for trying to conceive couples that you can try in place of the other kinds.