It’s hard enough to get pregnant with healthy couples having, at best, a one in five chance of conceiving each cycle. But there are some keys things you can do TODAY which can help boost your chances of conceiving this month.
1. Have sex and lots of it
For Sydney naturopath and fertility specialist Leah Hechtman, this is one of the most important tips on how to improve your chances of getting pregnant. “Have sex every second day of your cycle,” she says. “Don’t spend lots of time trying to work out when you’re ovulating, just have sex regularly. “If you’re not having sex, you’re not going to get pregnant.”
2. Weigh it up
Dutch researchers have found that even women with normal cycles will have more difficulties getting pregnant if they are overweight or obese. Work out your body mass index (BMI) by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in metres squared. A normal BMI is considered to be between 18.5 and 24.9. Anything over 25 is considered to be overweight, and a BMI over 30 is defined as obese. For every BMI unit over 29, the Dutch researchers found that the chance of pregnancy fell by 4%.
3. But not too thin
As Leah says, being underweight can also compromise a woman’s chances of conceiving. “If she’s considerably underweight, she may not be ovulating successfully,” says Leah. She also adds that if a woman’s body is nutrient-deficient, particularly in some key areas like the vitamin B group, iron and zinc, it will be harder to fall pregnant.
4. Watch his weight
Other studies have also found that a man’s weight can affect his sperm quality with overweight and obese men having poorer sperm than those in a healthy weight range. The University of Aberdeen researchers found that heaviest men had a higher proportion of abnormal sperm, and also suggested that too much fat around their testicles causes them to heat up.
5. Reduce the cuppas
While the jury is out on how much of an impact caffeine has on fertility (his and hers), it doesn’t hurt to cut back to one or two cups of coffee or tea a day, to be on the safe side. High caffeine consumption has been linked with lowering the success rates of IVF. As the recommended caffeine intake once pregnant is less than 300mg a day (or about three shots of espresso), why not start practicing now. Leah, however, is convinced that it does impact on fertility and cites one study which claims it can reduce a couple’s monthly chances of conceiving by more than 45% if more than 250mg are consumed a day.
6. Try yoga
Not only will this ancient exercise and meditative practice help you de-stress (a known dampener of fertility) it is also said to contain some exercises which improve blood circulation around the reproductive organs, so it’s a great fertility booster for him and her.
7. Quit today
There are a multitude of health reasons to stop smoking, and improving your chances of conceiving is one of them. For him, smoking is linked to poor sperm quality and erectile dysfunction, and for her, nicotine is said to prematurely age the ovaries – and older eggs are harder to fertilise healthily.
8. Keep them cool…
… with “them” being his “balls”. Heat causes sperm damage, and testicles should be one or two degrees cooler than the rest of the body – that’s why they hang on the outside of his body. So if your man sits at a desk all day, encourage him to get up regularly and walk around, don’t let him work with his laptop on his lap and make sure he’s he wearing loose boxers.
9. Go on a “conceptionmoon”
You hear stories all the time about how couples struggling to get pregnant go away on a holiday and, voila, they’re having a baby. It’s that old stress thing again – and going away is a way to relax and have a change of environment. And to help things along, it’s good to go on holidays around ovulation time and make sure you’re all healthy and loved up.
10. Eat a good diet
There are all sorts of foods, spices and herbs said to boost a man and woman’s fertility. But, says Leah, you can’t beat being on a healthy, balanced diet rich on fresh fruit and vegetables – and lacking in highly processed and refined ones. “A healthy body is a fertile body,” she says, adding that to really enhance fertility couples should “go organic”.