While the how-to of baby making is pretty straightforward, countless factors influence whether sperm will meet egg and result in a baby bundle nine months later. Experts recommend that most women try for six months to a year (depending on their age) before seeking medical help for fertility assistance. Women who have issues that may affect fertility, including irregular periods, past miscarriage or endometriosis, should make an appointment with their doctor right away. But even otherwise healthy couples may have trouble conceiving. Our expert Medical City Healthcare OB/GYNs recommend the following top 3 tips to help increase your chances of getting pregnant.
To help increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby:
- Maintain good health.
- If you smoke, quit
- If you drink large amounts of caffeine (more than 5 cups of coffee a day — and don’t forget sodas), cut back to about 200 milligrams a day (roughly the equivalent of a 12-ounce caffeinated beverage)
- Ask your doctor about starting prenatal supplements,
including folate (folic acid), which can greatly reduce the risk for spina bifida
- Get to a healthy weight. Being too heavy can affect your ability to conceive, but so can being too thin. Ask your doctor to help you create a plan to achieve a weight that’s healthy for you. Make sure it includes fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, lean meats and healthy fats. Steer clear of foods containing high levels of mercury, such as shark, tuna and other deep-sea fish, as these may be associated with infertility.
- Make an appointment for preconception counseling. The best time to plan for a baby is before you get pregnant. Use this opportunity to ask your doctor about any issues that might prevent you from becoming pregnant or put your baby at risk, including family history, current medical conditions, medications you’re taking or vaccinations you might need.
Best time to get pregnant.
In addition to the tips above, you can maximize your chances of getting pregnant by having sex on your most fertile days — on the day you ovulate and as many as five days prior. If your periods are regular, you can track your menstrual cycle and figure out when those days are for you. It’s a good idea to seek medical advice if you’re still not getting the plus sign and you’ve been trying for at least:
- One year if you’re under 35
- 6 months if you’re 35 or older
There’s really no sure way to know when you’re ovulating without a test. Many women don’t have regular periods or ovulate in the middle of their cycles. Additional methods to confirm ovulation include:
- An over-the-counter ovulation test, available at local pharmacies
- A series of sonograms to track your ovarian cycle
- A test to measure the amount of progesterone in your blood after ovulation
Make an appointment with your OB/GYN to discuss the last two testing options and/or if you have any conditions which may affect your fertility.
At Medical City Healthcare, moms and babies are cherished and protected. We hope that soon, you will need to know how to spot common pregnancy symptoms and early signs of pregnancy. Just remember that whatever happens on your journey from conception to labor and delivery and beyond, we are here for you every step of the way.