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30 Things to Consider for Women Trying to Conceive

June 7, 2018
Katie Visco

So you want to start a family. That’s great! If you just started trying to conceive, it can be harder to get pregnant than you may think. But don’t worry we’re here to help! Hopefully these tips can help you to improve your fertility and make sense of it all. Pregnancy is complicated and you aren’t the only one having trouble, many struggle with conception but there is strength in numbers! Here are some tips that could help the process along.

  1. Stop using birth control. If you never took the pill in the first place, you can skip this step. If you took the pill even for a couple months, your body still may need time to adjust. If you used the pill for less than a year, try three months and if you’ve used it for longer, try six months.
  2. Figure out when your ovulation cycle is to maximize efficiency. Between 33 and 66 percent of women under 35 who track their fertility windows are able to conceive within their first month of trying. Some ways to find your fertility window include fertility monitors, ovulation predictor kits, charting or by using all three. Calendar apps might be something you want to try too.
  3. So you’re off the pill and having ovulation-aware sex for three months… What if it’s your partner? Ask if he could get a sperm analysis. Male factors are responsible for almost half of all fertility issues.
  4. Try to eat fertility-boosting foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, soy foods and olive oil. Try to avoid processed foods in general. It’s best to avoid trans fats and partially hydrogenated oil--the FDA just banned them for a reason!
  5. Prenatal vitamins are specially made vitamins to increase your fertility. They contain folic acid, vitamin B6 and DHA, and other essential vitamins that optimize your body for fertilization and mother-ready health. Consult your healthcare provider if possible to determine if these vitamins are right for you.
  6. No, having sex every day doesn’t lower sperm count. You do you. Also, maybe try Pre-Seed. It’s specially made for couples trying to conceive. pH is balanced and isotonic so that it mimics a woman’s fertile fluids and the pH of sperm, so it’s like they’re in their natural habitat.
  7. No caffeine. Non-smoking women who drink 2 to 5 cups of coffee a day lower their fertility by 12 percent. IFor guys, 5 drinks a day will cut his fertility in half. Consider getting a full eight hours of sleep. Sleep charges you with energy and enhances your mood and health.
  8. Soak up the sun for 15 to 30 minutes in the afternoon without sunscreen. Sunlight causes your skin to generate vitamin D, which boosts fertility. It’ll also help you sleep (sorry, caffeine).
  9. Get an effective first response kit so that when you finally think you’ve done it, you’ll know as soon as possible. The sooner you know you’re pregnant, the sooner you canmake healthy choices for you and your baby.

Dealing with Anxiety and Stress

frustrated girl
  1. Anxiety and stress also play a role in fertility. While not proven to affect pregnancy it wouldn’t hurt to destress both for you and your baby. Stress and anxiety could alter the hormones and make it much harder for the body to operate effectively.
  2. Stress can cause missed periods. As a result, women attempting to become pregnant through sexual intercourse may have their chances of conception negatively affected by stress.
  3. Taking care of your mental health is important when trying to conceive, researchers in 2011 examined whether emotional distress in women attempting to conceive is associated with their failure or success to become pregnant. Luckily, the study found that high levels of anxiety experienced by women before undergoing IVF treatment did not affect their results negatively.
  4. Common side effects of stress such as fatigue or a change in one’s sex drive can affect how long it takes a woman to conceive.
  5. Take care of yourself! Doing so will benefit both you and your future child in the long run.

Tips for Staying Sane During Fertility Treatments

woman meditating

(image courtesy of morganmclintic.com)

If the tips above haven’t helped there are still other options.  IVF is a medical miracle in many ways, it’s also mentally, physically and financially exhausting. It may seem impossible to stay sane while going through these treatments but I’ve provided some tips on how you can try.

  1. According to Coleen Murphy, a professor at Princeton University, “One of the most important characteristics of aging is the loss of reproductive ability in mid-adulthood. As early as the mid-30’s, women start to experience declines in fertility, increased rates of miscarriage and maternal age-related birth defects.
  2. Research your options. Before you rush into anything, take the time to research so you can be aware of the anticipated cost of any medical procedures that may be necessary and locate the best doctor and treatment center. It’s also important to understand any treatment pros and cons, side effects and possible complications you may have. Ask as many questions as you can to your medical providers to help you prepare for the journey ahead.
  3. Have a support system. Find a friend, family member, or a woman who shares this experience to talk to and confide in. Having someone to help you get through the ups and downs will make the experience much more manageable.
  4. Remember that fertility treatments are also hard on your partner. You’re not in this alone, but relying on your partner for support simply won’t be enough. Don’t let the stress of the procedure take over your lives and strain your relationship. Remind yourself that this is tough on them too and find time to take your minds off of it and just unwind.
  5. Go easy on yourself. Don’t forget about self-care, it will help you get yourself through this process. You can’t spend this time beating yourself up and flooding your mind with negative thoughts. Find something relaxing that makes you feel good, such as yoga, daily meditation, or even consider writing down your daily thoughts in a journal. Put yourself first and do things that make you happy.
  6. Prepare for changes in your body. The list of side effects from IVF are endless but some of the most common include mood swings, weight gain, bloating and pounding headaches. Remind yourself that your body is preparing for a baby and these changes are normal for the procedures.
  7. Accept and welcome help. Small gestures from friends and family such as a meal can make a huge difference. Since a healthy nutrition is more important now than ever, now’s not the time to skip a meal or break out the ramen noodles for a quick fix. Let your friends or family help out with housework as well, you can’t do it all on your own.
  8. Tackle the two-week wait. Waiting for those two weeks to find out whether you’re pregnant or not can be the longest and most daunting two weeks of your life. Keep yourself busy and focused during that time so you aren’t driving yourself totally crazy.

Tips for Troubles with Infertility

Infertility treatments can be testing, but in order to stay sane, you’ll need to prepare yourself for what’s to come and put yourself first when the going gets tough. It’ll all be worth it when you welcome a beautiful baby into the world.

baby

Fertility: Normally we don’t care about it until we decide we want to have children and find ourselves suddenly needing it. But what actually goes into conceiving a baby?

It’s more complicated than simply having an egg, it’s important for your eggs are healthy, so they’ll be able to properly react to the sperm when you want them to.

If you’ve been generally taking care of yourself, great your eggs are probably in fabulous shape.

If you haven’t been taking care of yourself, don’t worry. Suzanne Fenske, M. D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine, will help answer a few of the most common questions people about fertility. Read this list to find what you need to know.

  1. Can I develop more eggs? No. According to Fenske, women are already born with all of their eggs - around 2 million - and you can’t develop more throughout your life. You gradually lose them naturally over time and menstrual cycles, but still, 2 million? That’s plenty.
  2. Does going on the pill impact fertility? It doesn’t. You don’t ovulate when you’re on birth control, nothing bad is happening to your eggs. They’re merely not being released. Just remember, your eggs naturally weaken and die off with time, so not ovulating doesn’t mean you’re developing a stockpile for the future.
  3. Do IUDs impact fertility? Nope. IUDs are another form of birth control and don’t negatively affect fertility. You still ovulate but, your uterus is unable to support a fertilized egg. Once the fertilized egg is gone, you’re back to normal.
  4. Can you still get pregnant if you don’t orgasm? Of course. The absence of one won’t decrease your chance of pregnancy. Fenske says you’re golden “as long as an egg is released at the same time as semen arrives.”

Fertility can seem complicated at times, but don’t stress about it too much. Just take care of yourself and your body should take care of the rest!

Pesticides

veggies
‍(image courtesy of panna.org )

If you have been struggling to get pregnant through fertility treatments and you’re not sure why a recent study could have the answers.

  1. Can certain foods induce labor? No. Eating specific foods to trigger labor is a complete myth.
  2. So far, no type of food has been proven to induce labor. The study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women who ate produce with high levels of pesticides were less likely to conceive through assisted reproductive technology than women who ate significantly less contaminated fruits and vegetables.Researchers examined 325 women who were undergoing fertility treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The women answered a survey that questioned them about their diet.
  3. The researchers then used the U.S. Department of Agriculture data to calculate how much average pesticide residue each woman was exposed to. The results were shocking. Researchers found that women who had more than two servings of high-pesticide produce a day were 18% less likely to get pregnant than women who had the lowest exposure. The group with the highest-pesticide exposure had a 26% reduced chance of giving birth to a live baby.
  4. Now, before you go avoiding the produce department altogether, remember that this was a relatively small study and relied on the women accurately recalling and reporting what they ate. Just because the study found a connection between pesticide residue and reduced chances of getting pregnant doesn’t mean that pesticide is the cause of infertility. But just in case, let’s see which fruits and veggies have the highest levels of pesticide residue.
  • Non-organic strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Grapes
  • Celery
  • Apples
  • Cucumbers
  • Hot peppers

Which produce have the lowest levels of pesticide residue?

  • Avocados
  • Pineapples
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet corn
  • Onions
  • Mangos
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwi
  • Eggplant
  • Grapefruit
  • Cauliflower
  • Organic Produce

Fruits and vegetables are important components of a healthy diet, whether you are pregnant or not. We don’t know for sure if pesticides are the cause of reduced chances of getting pregnant. But it wouldn’t hurt to hedge your bets by eating fruits and veggies with lower levels of pesticide residue, if nothing else you’ll be a healthier person!

Fertility isn’t uncommon, many women face the same problems as you and we are here for you and those people. Try not to stress yourself out, find comfort within your friends and family, and stay positive. Many have struggled to get pregnant, you are not alone. With these 27 tips we hope that we can easy your mind and make conceiving a bit less complicated and stressful.

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