If you’re trying to conceive, you’re probably spending your time and money on body temperature charts, ovulation prediction kits and the like. The truth is, there are many simple steps that you can try to increase fertility naturally.
Here are 10 tips for getting pregnant:
1. Make love at the right time
To become pregnant, you’ll need to make love around the time of ovulation. Ovulation usually takes place about 14 days before the menstrual cycle is due. For example, with a menstrual cycle of 28 days, ovulation occurs on day 14. For cycles of differing lengths, ovulation will still normally take place 14 days before the next menstrual cycle begins.
The sperm can survive for up to five or six days after intercourse. However, after ovulation, the egg rarely lives longer than one day. So, the best time to make love if you want to conceive is the five or six days up to ovulation and the day
of ovulation itself.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Your fertility will be improved by good health – and this requires a well-balanced diet. So, eat plenty of fresh food, especially fruit and vegetables. Furthermore, vitamins A, B, C and E and the trace metal zinc are the most beneficial for both male and female fertility.
Women: Vitamin A helps to produce more fertile cervical fluid at the time of ovulation.
Men: There is some evidence that the amino acids L-arginine and L-carnitine improve sperm production and their condition. These are the building blocks of protein, and are used extensively in sperm manufacture. Essential: If necessary, change your diet – or at least take multivitamin preparations that include zinc.
3. Keep fit
Hand in hand with a good diet is the need to keep fit.
Women: three 30-minute sessions of moderate exercise each week lead to optimum fertility. Swimming is ideal. However, don’t overdo it. Too much exercise can delay ovulation or even cause the loss of ovulation in a cycle.
Men: Again, moderate and regular exercise is best to maintain fitness. And watch your weight – this is particularly important for women. Too much body fat can lead to irregular monthly ovulatory cycles due to the excess oestrogens associated with being overweight.
Acceptable body fat levels as a percentage of body mass are 22-27% for women, 20-23% for men. But: Avoid crash dieting though – this can disrupt the hormonal balances required for optimum fertility.
4. Cut down on alcohol, caffeine and tobacco
In men, these all reduce sperm count and damage the remaining sperm, and it is believed that they affect female fertility too. Have no more than four alcoholic drinks a week, and no more than two on any given day. You
can drink up to two cups of caffeinated drinks per day. Give up on tobacco altogether. There is evidence that women who smoke have less mature, viable eggs. Smoking inhibits normal egg maturation.
5. Wear boxer shorts and baggy trousers
The best way for a man to improve his fertility is to keep his testicles as cool as possible. This is because testicles need to be kept cooler than body temperature for successful sperm manufacture and storage. Briefs and tight trousers keep the testicles pressed closer to the body, thus raising their temperature. On the other hand, boxer shorts allow testicles to hang free and maintain coolness. Furthermore, avoid hot baths and showers too – sperm production falls markedly in temperatures above 33.8ºC.
6. Make love more often
If you have sex more frequently with your partner, the chances of conceiving are that much greater. Many couples
seem to overlook this! So, make love every day in the lead up to the day of ovulation to maximise the opportunities for conception.
7. Do it in the morning
The best time to make love if you’re trying to conceive is in the mornings. Male hormone levels are highest at that time, as are sperm counts. Outcome: You’ll increase the chances of conception.
8. Make love in the missionary position
This is the best position for getting sperm close to the cervix, and for keeping it there rather than exiting from the vagina. The position allows gravity to work in your favour – the sperm are pushed downwards towards the female
reproductive tract, thus boosting the possibility of meeting the egg and fertilising it.
9. The woman should orgasm after the man
Research has shown that conception is more likely if the woman has an orgasm during or soon after her partner’s climax. This is because on orgasm, the cervix dips into the semen pool and helps to propel it into the uterus, therefore retaining more sperm. This can best be described as a ‘sucking effect’. Furthermore, female secretions increase with orgasm – and these help to carry semen.
10. Lie down after making love
After sex, women should lie down with their legs and hips up for 20 to 30 minutes. Lying horizontally reduces the leakage of sperm, aids its movement towards the uterus(with the help of gravity), and maximises the flow of semen around the cervix. So, put a pillow under your hips or place your feet on an elevated surface such as the bed’s headboard. This speeds sperm to the egg by letting them swim downwards with gravity. Standing on your
head has a similar effect!
As you go through the process of trying to conceive, try not to set yourself deadlines and targets – just be together and have fun. Enjoy making love and you’ll definitely get pregnant.