Ways To Boost Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant

We asked a number of couples what they wish they had known before starting trying for a baby and this is what they said.

Nutrition Is Important

A woman prepares a fresh organic salad. Large butter lettuce in focus puts less emphasis on human figure. Great for adding your own type

If I had realised how important nutrition is, I’d have started eating healthily much earlier on.

A healthy diet is crucial to a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby. We recommend that couples enjoy a balanced diet and take regular exercise. The healthiest Body Mass Index for fertility is the same as what is considered “normal weight” – a BMI between 19 and 25. Rotunda IVF recommends that females have a BMI of 30 or less before commencing treatment. How to calculate your BMI – Log in here and enter your details – www.bmicalculator.cc

Smoking

Smoking reduces fertility

I smoked for years never realising that I was doing damage to my ovaries as well as my lungs.

The link between reduced fertility and smoking has been well established and documented. In women, smoking can damage the ovaries and it can lead to miscarriages. Smoking also increases the risk of cervical cancer. Leading research indicates that women who smoke reduce their probability of conception by 40% month after month. It also showed that smoking also causes impotency in men. Simply put, both partners should stop smoking to maximise their chances of successful treatment.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol reduces your chances of conceiving – we never knew.

There is one simple rule with alcohol; the more you drink, the less likely you are to conceive. We recommend reducing alcohol intake for three months prior to treatment for both men and women. For men, aside from lessened libido and possible impotence, excess alcohol consumption can lower testosterone and cause a decrease in sperm quality. If possible, alcohol should be completely removed in this period, but certainly not more than 1-2 units, weekly.

Avoid Illegal Drug Use

Avoid illegal drugs to reduce infertility

Illegal drugs are considered to be unsafe in pregnancy and most will pass through the placenta to your baby in the womb. Some may affect the healthy development of your baby. If drugs are an issue for you, get help. Being informed about the risks to a pregnancy will help you to make better choices.

Have Sex

Have sex to boost chances at pregnancy

Regular intercourse 2-3 times per week ensures that you don’t miss the fertile window. Some couples confine their sexual activity specifically to the time when the woman is ovulating. Try instead, to ensure that you have sex regularly through the month. Keeping sex spontaneous, relaxing and fun is the ideal.

Exercise Regularly

Exercise to boost fertility

Regular moderate exercise is good for your body, your weight and your stress levels. That means that exercise may help you to get pregnant. Avoid hard-core exercise that may, if overdone, impact your menstrual cycle.

Take Folic Acid

Take folic acid when trying to conceive

Take a daily dose of 500mcg or micrograms of folic acid three months before you plan to conceive, right up to and including the first trimester of your pregnancy. Folic acid is crucial because it helps to reduce the risk of neural tube defects.

Get Blood Tests

Ask your GP to check for rubella and chicken pox status, blood group Rh factor, Hep B and Hep C.

Prescription Medications

Prescription medications can affect fertility

If you are on any medications, review their implications for pregnancy and indeed fertility with your GP.

Manage Your BMI

High BMI affects fertility

You can work out your appropriate weight, for your height using the Body Mass Index (BMI). Evidence suggests that fertility improves dramatically if people with a high BMI can achieve a 5% reduction in weight.

Track Your Menstrual Cycle

Track your menstrual cycle

Make sure that you understand your menstrual cycle – the most fertile time is between days 8 and 14 of a regular monthly cycle. However, many women have irregular periods and it is important to track and monitor those cycles so that you can work with your fertility doctor to know when ovulation is likely.

Check Your Ovarian Reserve

Check your ovarian reserve for fertility

The blood test used to measure a woman’s level of Anti-Müllerian Hormone (AMH) – a hormone secreted by cells in developing egg sacs – is a good indicator of her ovarian reserve. You can get this blood test done at Rotunda IVF.

Fertility Can Be Age Related

Depressed middle aged woman sitting isolated , lost in thought

We deferred having a baby for so long. If I’d known how age impacts fertility, we could have started sooner.

Fertility gradually declines with age, in both men and women. In women, this begins from around the age of 30. By the age of 44, the average woman has no eggs left. From a purely biological perspective, we recommend that couples try to start a family before the age of 35 as from then onwards fertility issues become more commonplace. Once women approach 45, the chances of conceiving are extremely low, and associated risks are higher. There is also a higher chance of miscarriage – over 50% for those over the age of 43. While the media will occasionally report instances of older women having children, the vast majority of these babies will be as a result of a donated egg from a younger woman.

For men, the story is somewhat similar in that fertility also declines with age. Many men remain fertile into their 50’s and beyond. However, there is a concern that children conceived by older men may have health issues. If you are concerned about age related fertility, you should discuss the matter with your clinician. Perhaps we can blame the number of ageing rock stars producing offspring – many couples don’t realise that the age of the man can also have an impact on your chance of conceiving as a couple.

Less Stress, More Action

Take action about infertility

We lived with infertility, day after day, and we found it hard to take action. If we had realised how easy it is to just tackle the problem, we’d have taken action sooner and saved ourselves a lot of grief.

Be reassured that studies carried out in 2011 showed that emotional distress caused by fertility challenges or other life events during treatment will not compromise your chances of becoming pregnant. With that said, we would recommend that couples investigate ways to relieve stress, independently and together. We can recommend some simple steps that can be very effective.

You Need To Understand Your Body

Understand your body's fertility

When you’re on the pill for a long time, your body has a very predictable cycle. Come off it, and things may be far from what you expect.

It can be very difficult to be told at the age of 39 that having been on the pill for a number of years, that your hormones are out of sync. It sometimes takes a number of months for the hormones and menstrual cycle to regulate.

It also takes time to monitor and track your cycles so that you become attuned to your ovulation dates.

It’s Not Always So Easy The Second Time Around

Infertility can cause problems the second time around

We had one child and anticipated that the second would arrive just as easily for us.

Secondary infertility occurs when a couple who having had a first child, have difficulty conceiving a second. Secondary infertility is more common than you may think.

Couples may be lulled into a false sense of security and assume that ‘it’s only a matter of time, because our first child was conceived and carried to term so easily’. The key is to not postpone treatment, but to treat secondary infertility as you would primary infertility. If you are trying for more than one year, then go to see a specialist. Wasting those precious years could lead to you compromising your ability to have a second or third baby.

One woman confessed, “I wish we hadn’t wasted a few good years postponing treatment for the second time around”. Although previous fertility can be reassuring, things can change after a previously successful pregnancy.

It Can Be A Long Road To Conception

Long road to conception

For some couples, the decision to start a family is quick – but the outcome is anything but.

Most couples really don’t ever think they will ever have difficulties in conceiving and so when the time is right, they begin trying.

We recommend that you and your partner get a fertility check-up to make sure that there are no inhibiting factors, before you try for a baby. It simply means that if there are fertility challenges, you allow enough time to deal with those, so that you can conceive the family that you dream of.

Unfortunately for many, the discovery of either a male or female problem may lead to a longer time delay in starting a family.

Sometimes You Need To Take A Break

Stress leads to infertility, take a break

Fertility challenges can understandably lead to emotional stress.

Some people find that taking a break from something that’s causing stress, whether that’s work or fertility treatment, can help. While stress does not cause infertility, studies show higher levels of stress are associated with taking longer to conceive. When you’re already on the emotionally challenging fertility rollercoaster it can be hard to imagine getting into a relaxed headspace, but it can make all the difference.

Everyone’s Journey Is Different

Every journey is different

Every single person has a unique set of circumstances, and their path to parenthood will take many different forms. It helps to talk about it with others – you may find it comforting to know you’re not alone, or you may get some insights that help you through to conception. Patients often say that once they embark on the journey that they begin to feel better and more optimistic. It is important to do something about it and not to listen to the negative comment. There are many paths to having a child and once you become a parent, it doesn’t matter about the path that you took to get there.