Getting pregnant can be a frustrating and anxiety-filled experience for many women. We know the feeling and that’s why we turned to the woman who literally wrote the book. Dr. Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D., is the author of The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant which provides dozens of tips for TTC women to feel more in control of their fertility.
We asked Dr. Twenge to share a few ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant and here’s what she had to say:
Toss your birth control. Obviously, it’s time to throw away your once beloved birth control! A good rule of thumb is to get off of the pill three months before trying to conceive if you have been on it for less than a year, and six months prior if you have been on it for over a year.
Get to know your cycle. Make friends with your ovulation cycle. Between a third and two-thirds of women under age 35 who are aware of their fertile time are able to conceive in their first month of trying.
Use a monitor. Find your fertile time by using a fertility monitor, ovulation predictor kits (OPKs), charting, or (Dr. Twenge’s personal favorite) all three. Sometimes this can be trickier than it sounds— for example, traditional “line” OPKs can be difficult to interpret. Consider a digital test with a clear “yes” or “no” like the First Response Digital Ovulation Test. Then you’ll know exactly when to get busy.
Analyze the swimmers. If you’ve been having ovulation-focused sex for over three months and still haven’t conceived— don’t freak out! Keep calm and consider convincing your partner to get a quick and easy sperm analysis. This “male factor” or sperm issue comprises nearly half of all fertility issues.
Adjust your diet. Make changes in your diet for optimal fertility. Incorporate fertility-boosting foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, soy foods, and olive oil. Avoid trans-fats and partially hydrogenated oil, found in frosting and some baked goods. These are so bad that the FDA just outlawed them! Food companies have three years to comply, so for now, you have to police it yourself.
Take your vitamins. Many studies show that taking prenatal vitamins, such as folate and vitamin B6, increases your chances of getting pregnant quickly. Omega 3 fatty acids (fish oil) have been linked to better embryos in IVF and smarter babies overall. There is also strong evidence that prenatal vitamins lower the chance of birth defects, so begin taking them immediately. Try to look for a prenatal that includes:
- 400 mcg of Folic Acid
- One serving is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C, D & E
- 100 mg of Calcium
- 50 mg of Omega-3 DHA
- Excellent source of Iodine per serving
- No iron added, so they’re gentle on the stomach
Start your engines. Contrary to popular belief, having sex every day doesn’t lower sperm count, So feel free to have as much sex as you please, and enjoy it. But, if you are dry, use Pre-Seed, a sperm safe lubricant developed specifically for couples who are trying to conceive. Pre-Seed is properly pH balanced and isotonic to mimic a woman’s fertile fluids and optimize the journey for sperm. Mimicking natural fertile fluids, Pre-Seed allows swimming sperm to move freely and its pH balanced to match fertile cervical mucus and the pH of sperm.
Cut the caffeine. Non-smoking women who consume about 2-5 cups of coffee per day cut their fertility by 12 percent. Consuming caffeine has an even worse effect on male fertility, where having 5 cups of coffee a day will cut his fertility in half. An alternative to getting more energy? Try getting a full eight hours of sleep— it will enhance your mood and your health.
Soak up the sun. Sunlight causes your skin to generate Vitamin D, which has been linked to fertility. Sit outside for 15-30 minutes without sunscreen a few times a week in the afternoon. This will also help you sleep.
Test, test, test. When you think you may be pregnant— the earlier you know, the better. Several scientific studies and a Consumer Reports study showed that the First Response™ Early Result Pregnancy Test detects the smallest amount of the pregnancy hormone, so it can tell you sooner than any other test. The sooner you know you’re pregnant, the sooner you can begin making healthy pregnancy choices for yourself and your baby that include diet, nutrition and limiting your exposure to hazards.
If you are feeling anxious or overwhelmed about getting pregnant, pick up The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant, and besides incorporating these tips into your daily life, here are two things that you can do right now: take a supplement of 1,000 mg of fish oil a day and learn the relaxation technique of deep breathing— soon you will begin to feel better. You’re about to start your trying to conceive (TTC) journey. Enjoy the ride.
Opening Image: Vanessa Tierney for Mini Magazine