When you decide you are ready to get pregnant, most women will assume it will just happen (with a willing partner!) Usually it does. Many times it takes a while. For some reason or other, it will not happen, and this leads to a lot of frustrations and stress, to say the least.
Usually there is an answer, and the solution is to be found without too much trouble. In other instances, it is a medical problem with either partner and further intervention is necessary.
To ease the stress and pressure, the best bet is to stack the odds in your favor from the beginning (or even earlier). You want to have your whole body in optimal condition to be prepared and receptive to conception and pregnancy. Here are 10 ways to get moving in the right direction:
1. Get a physical.
Before you start anything, it’s best to eliminate any obvious health issues. Go to you OB/GYN, get a pap smear and a physical exam.
2. Get in shape.
You want to be as close as you can to an optimal weight. Too thin with no fat or muscle will inhibit ovulation and make your cycle irregular. Overweight people have real issues with blood sugar, blood pressure and carrying a child to term. Often there can be irregular cycles and damaged eggs released or not released at all.
The amount of exercise will depend on your overall health – if you do exercise a lot and you haven’t yet become pregnant, you should try cutting back and seeing if that was the problem. Otherwise, a moderate 30 minute workout of cycling, walking or swimming 4-5 days a week will help. Do some strength or resistance training to build bone and muscle.
3. Eat right.
Try to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables of varying colors to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need. Stick to high quality, high fiber carbohydrates and lean protein. Be sure to include nuts, beans and seeds for protein and natural antioxidants.
Include a prenatal vitamin to make sure you are getting the most of everything you need to conception and pregnancy. Focus on folate and iron to start.
4. Avoid excess hormones.
Soy and mass produced meat and dairy contain hormones that interfere with your natural balance and can result in an excess of estrogen. Any hormonal imbalance will inhibit conception, and can lead to fertility disorders such as PCOS.
Eliminate soy, try to eat as much local, organic meat and cut back on dairy. A mostly plant based diet is your best bet to accomplish both #3 and #4.
5. Lifestyle choices.
Stop smoking, do not use any illegal drugs, keep prescription drugs to a minimum. Cut alcohol out or down to one drink a day at most and eliminate caffeine.
6. Manage stress.
Find natural ways to lower and maintain your stress levels. Try meditation, yoga, walking, taking up a craft or writing in a journal (pen or online) to help you deal with daily stress and the stress of getting pregnant.
7. Get to know your cycle.
By starting with the first day of your period as day one of your cycle, you should be able to find out when you are ovulating or supposed to be. Then you can take your temperature around that time and notice when it rises. That is when you are most fertile and ovulation is about to begin.
8. Get an ovulation kit.
Even once you are familiar with your cycle, things can change month to month. An over the counter test will be more precise. You still need to monitor your cycle for other health reasons, but an ovulation kit will help you be more precise about your exact ovulation date.
9. Keep having sex.
Do it regularly and keep it exciting. Make sure both of you are still enjoying sex and it doesn’t become a job or something that is scheduled. It should be part of your daily relationship.
And when the days arrive that is optimal for conception, practice positions that are known to be the best for conceiving: missionary with the man on top (you are working with gravity) or “doggy style” (deeper penetration). One trick that has seen a slightly better success rate among women with an IUI – after sex, place a thin pillow under your hips and lay in bed for fifteen or twenty minutes. Though the research isn’t scientific (the statical rate of successful pregnancy is just slightly higher), it doesn’t hurt, and will help you relax.
10. Be patient.
Keep your eagerness in check by charting everything you do. Keep logs of every detail, even small things you don’t think are important, so that when you talk to your doctor, you are giving her a whole picture. It will also help channel your energy and demonstrate how much you are actually doing so that your excitement doesn’t turn into anxiety.
Once you have gotten all of these factors in order and have been trying for at least 3 – 6 months, you will have a much better view of what is going on. All of the preparation and tracking you have done will also help the doctor come up with a faster diagnosis and plan of treatment.
The plan is to keep hope alive while doing everything you can to stack the odds in your favor.