Once you are ready to start a family, waiting is the last thing you want to do. Although Mother Nature has a hand in the timing, there are some things you can do -- or not do -- to help increase your chances of getting pregnant ASAP. Read on for seven expert-approved tips for getting pregnant. Do get a preconception checkup. Before you officially start trying, get a checkup.
Ask your doctor about prenatal vitamins that have folic acid , which helps protect against some birth defects , such as spina bifida. Folic acid works during the early stages of pregnancy , so that's why it's important to make sure you're getting enough folic acid even before you get pregnant.
Do get to know your cycle. How much do you know about your menstrual cycle? Really understanding helps you know when you're most fertile, says Hillard. Ovulation is the best time to get pregnant. It helps to become aware of the signs of ovulation , such as a change in your cervical mucus. It usually becomes thin and slippery when you are most fertile. Some women may also feel a one-sided twinge of pain. Ovulation prediction kits can also help you predict the best time to get pregnant, says James Goldfarb, MD, director of the infertility service at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland.
Not only can they help assure you that you are ovulating, "if you are having infrequent intercourse, this tells you when to have it to increase your chances of getting pregnant ," he says. Here's how it works: The first day of your menstrual period is considered day one.
Women with a day cycle tend to ovulate on day But many women have longer or shorter cycles, so casting a wide net can help you be sure. What if you've been using birth control? Do you need to wait a while before trying to get pregnant? Not really, says Goldfarb. You can start trying to conceive right after you stop birth control ," Goldfarb says. The only thing to keep in mind is that you could get pregnant before you get your period, so tracking ovulation may be difficult, and it might be harder to figure out your due date.
For this reason, "some people may feel better waiting until they get one period on their own," he says. Don't worry about the best positions for getting pregnant. Myths abound about the best positions for getting pregnant, but they are just that -- myths.
There is really no scientific evidence saying that the missionary position is better than the woman being on top when it comes to maximizing your chances of making a baby. Certain gravity-defying positions, such as sitting or standing during intercourse, however, may discourage sperm from traveling upstream.
Do lay low right after intercourse. You have probably heard this one -- lie in bed with your feet in the air after having sex to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Having sex every day even during ovulation will not necessarily increase your chances of getting pregnant. Sperm can live up to 72 hours after intercourse. The best suggestion is to have sex regularly -- when you're ovulating, and when you're not. Speaking of sperm, "wearing tight-fitting clothing can negatively affect sperm count ," Piscitelli says.
So too can spending time in hot tub or Jacuzzi. Your man's cell phone habits may also also need some work. A study in the journal Fertility and Sterility showed that men who used a hands-free device with a cell phone and kept their phone close to their testicles had poorer sperm quality. He might want to pass on the edamame and other soy foods for a while, too.
Men who eat a lot of soy foods may have a lower sperm concentration than men who don't eat soy foods, according to a study published online in Human Reproduction. Do de-stress any way you can.
Try not to get stressed out about starting a family. You may roll your eyes if someone says, "Just relax and it will happen," but stress can actually interfere with ovulation. So the more relaxed you are, the better! Whatever helps you de-stress is fine, as long as it's healthy. And although drinking too much alcohol when trying to get pregnant isn't smart, a glass of wine won't hurt. Do live a healthy life. Exercising is a healthy habit -- especially if it helps keep you at your ideal weight.
Just like anything else, though, you can get too much of a good thing. It may be different for different women. If you are a hard-core exerciser and are still getting your period regularly, your exercise regimen is most likely not a problem, he says.
But, Goldfarb adds, your menstrual period is not the first thing to go if you are exercising too heavily. You should have a period 14 days after you ovulate, but too much exercise can shorten this phase. He suggests tracking how long it takes you to get a period after you ovulate as the best way to know for sure. Goldfarb says the best way to increase your chances of getting pregnant while getting the health benefits of regular exercise is to do moderate exercise -- think brisk walking -- two and a half hours each week or at least 30 minutes, 5 days a week.
Stop smoking to increase your chances of getting pregnant," Hillard says. Aside from all the other negative health effects of smoking , this nasty habit also decreases fertility. Fertility and Sterility, published online Sept. Human Reproduction, published online July 24,