I share a lot about myself, my children, and my family here, and I’ve been very open about our struggles with infertility, including some crazy things we did while trying to get pregnant. I recently talked to a friend who is struggling to get pregnant and the frustrations that come along with it. She asked what she should or shouldn’t be doing. I’m not a doctor, but during after six years of “trying” and then being diagnosed with unexplained infertility, I learned a thing or two about fertility health. I know that there might be other women out there struggling to conceive, so I wanted to share some fertility health tips with you.
Fertility Health Tips
Know Your Body – In order to get pregnant, you have to know how your body works! The first thing you will want to do is to learn about what needs to happen in order to have a baby: understand your body’s cycle, fertility rhythms, and timing. There are a lot of menstrual cycle tracking apps out there that make it easy to track your cycle. This article makes it easy to understand your menstrual cycle and what’s going on througout it.
What To Expect Before You’re Expecting is a fantastic book that will thoroughly explain this in great (but easy to understand) detail. And WhatToExpect.com is a one-stop shop for all things related to getting pregnant, being pregnant, and becoming a parent…make sure to check out this site! I was evenn lucky enough to guest post there about infertility shame.
Your Health – Your health is also extremely important to your fertility. All of these fertility health tips will help improve your chances of conception, but there are also many factors that make it difficult to conceive. For example, excess body fat can lead to an overproduction of certain hormones which can lead to irregular cycles, decreased ovulation, and may also decrease your chance of being able to conceive.
Exercise is extremely important, and also helps get rid of the stress you might be feeling. As always, talk to your doctor before beginning any type of new exercise program, but at least get moving!
Your Diet – Of course, eating properly is extremely important all of the time, but it’s even more important when you are trying to conceive. Taking more vitamins (prenatal vitamins) is important. Did you know that protein, iron, and zinc all contribute to healthy menstrual cycles?
The What To Expect site offers lots of ideas and suggestions on this topic, and has an entire page dedicated to your pre-pregnancy diet.
Also, cut back on alcohol. According to the What To Expect site: “Heavy drinking can mess with your menstrual cycle, possibly putting a crimp in your conception plans.”
A month before I started fertility treatments, I really started watching what I was eating and cut out alcohol completely. I lost ten pounds without even trying!
Your Mental Health – “Just relax and quit thinking about it and you’ll get pregnant.” I can’t tell you how many times I heard this statement while trying to get pregnant. It did NOT help! When getting pregnant doesn’t come easy, stress is sure to follow. It causes stress on your marriage, on yourself, and becomes almost an obsession.
De-stress your life! Stress can affect your ability to conceive, so chill like a cucumber, girl! My friend Heather from It’s A Lovely Life blog has 25 easy ways to help you de-stress today. I use most of them!
And again, get some exercise! Exercise (and sex!) is an easy way to help alleviate stress. I love this yoga for stress release DVD…it’s my favorite. It automatically makes me feel better as soon as I sit down to do it.
All in all, make sure you are focusing on your overall health, not just your physical health.
Sex – When trying to conceive, sex becomes a process, one more step to your goal. Don’t forget to have sex just to have sex and enjoy your partner! Sex is an important part of every relationship and sometimes during trying to conceive, it becomes a chore. Don’t forget to nurture that part of your relationship, too!
That being said, when you are having sex to conceive, make sure you are having sex at the right time, during your most fertile time of the month. Knowing when you’re ovulating can get tricky. There are some signs, like the mucus in your vagina may get from slippery or you may feel some cramping. But many women have no idea when they’re ovulating. If that’s the case, you’ll need to consider using (and I highly recommend it) an ovulation kit to help you determine your most fertile days.
And after sex, don’t just hop up and jump in the shower or head to the bathroom…all your hard work may be wasted, literally! Web MD advises: “It’s good advice to lay in bed for 10 to 15 minutes after intercourse, but you don’t need your feet in the air…your pelvis does not move when you put your legs in the air…don’t go the bathroom during this time either, by waiting 10 to 15 minutes, the sperm that is going to get into the cervix will be in the cervix.”
Some studies show that regular sex can help maintain the regularity of the menstrual cycle, which is important to conception. Intercourse every 36 to 48 hours during your ovulation period can also increase your chances of conceiving. I remember after one procedure where my doctor put dye in my fallopian tubes to make sure they were open and not blocked anywhere, he then gave us the advice to go home and “have sex like rabbits” since my tubes were very clear and I was ovulating.
So those are some of my fertility health tips that I learned were important for conception. I think it goes without saying that you definitely want to consult with your doctor (because I am NOT a doctor!) if you are having problems conceiving or fertility issues. I just thought it was a discussion worth having since I know how hard it can be if you are dealing with it.
If you have or are experiencing fertility problems or trying to conceive, what fertility health tips would you add to the list?