What You Should Be Doing If You’re Trying to Get Pregnant
When my husband and I started trying to get pregnant, everyone around us was just filled with helpful advice on what NOT to do while trying to get pregnant.
We were thinking positively about having fun trying to create a little one, what it would be like to be pregnant, and even the joys of having a new baby in the house.
We certainly didn’t need anyone spoiling our joy issuing warnings and admonitions about what would happen if we didn’t follow their advice.
Positive advice, however, would have been welcome. I’ve loved hearing friends suggest that having my husband eat sunflower seeds will increase the odds of conception, that eating avocados would give my system a boost for getting pregnant, and giving sweet words telling me that they knew we would make good parents.
Especially newlyweds thrilled at the idea of finally being intimate with the intention of getting pregnant, along with the idea of experiencing pregnancy and having a baby in the home, should be greeted with positive words of advice and excitement, not negativity.
In this article, I hope to share some ideas to motivate you forward rather than scare you. I want you to be as successful in your efforts as we would like to be ourselves.
Obviously, these tips are only my suggestions from my personal experience with this wonderful journey. I want you to feel more confident and in control during this exciting time so it can be that much more exciting!
I would never lead you astray. Good luck!
Have your already had the "baby" talk?
See Your Doctor
The first step any couple should take when considering getting pregnant is to schedule an exam with your gynecologist for a pre-conception (or pre-pregnancy) office visit.
The main goal of this visit is to inform your doctor of your plans so that she can advise you on important things to keep in mind and how to take care of yourself for your impending pregnancy.
To this visit, you should be sure to take any information with you that can help your doctor to advise you in the best way possible. Some of these items might include yours and your husband’s family medical history, your reproductive history and past menstruation information, any medications you might be on, etc.
Your doctor will likely do a physical exam to make sure that your body is ready for a pregnancy, update you on any necessary vaccinations, and discuss many of the other items that we will be covering in this article to give you the best shot for a healthy conception and pregnancy.
This visit is also a great time to ask your doctor any questions that you might have about the whole process or about pregnancy itself. In fact, he might be able to dispel any doubts or concerns that you may have about conceiving.
Consider Charting Your Cycles
So many couples are just sent off to wing it on this new journey to starting a family.
Of course, this works for many couples, but the chances are already slim for women to get pregnant, even when everything lines up correctly.
If you want the absolute best chance for conceiving, then it’s essential to get to know your cycle, your patterns, your fertile signs, and start writing them down.
There is so much your body is trying to tell you through regular pains, daily temperatures, normal cervical fluid, and so many other things that you would never have considered before.
But you’ll never have access to the wealth of information at your disposal without recording it on paper and taking the opportunity to take advantage of your patterns.
And it’s SO easy! But it’s not enough just to write everything down if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
I’ve been charting for at least the last year or so, but even this wasn’t enough because I didn’t understand what I was doing.
Sure I was recording temperatures every day. That was the easy part. But I gave up the rest of it because I didn’t really know enough to chart correctly. And therefore all of my guessing and assuming made the charts useless.
It wasn’t until I found a book called Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, that explained how to read and understand the information that I was putting into the chart, and how to obtain accurate information, did it become meaningful to me.
Now I know exactly when I’m ovulating, exactly when to be intimate with my husband, and my chart will even tell me immediately if I’ve gotten pregnant.
What’s even more helpful, is that immediately I can start seeing if there’s a problem, and I know exactly what to do in order to fix it without ever having to visit a doctor’s office. BINGO!
Get Off the Pill
It may take a few months at first to start seeing patterns and to truly understand your cycles. In the meantime, there are many things you could be doing to prepare your body for a BABY!
First things first, and this should be obvious, is to come off of your birth control pill and stop using contraceptives.
It sounds fairly simple, and it is if your contraceptives consist of condoms and diaphragms, etc.
However, if you have been taking birth control pills for a while, this change may not be so easy. Check out my article on Common Birth Control Misconceptions for those of you taking birth control.
Once you come off of birth control pills it may still take months or even years for it to get out of your system.
This doesn’t mean that some of you cannot get pregnant immediately after stopping the pill, as even girls still on birth control pills get pregnant every day.
However, your body has some big changes to make to get rid of the chemicals in your body before your cycles will return to normal and you’ll really be able to start timing intercourse to your ovulation.
So it’s important that if you are considering trying to conceive (TTC) anytime soon, that you consider getting off of those birth control pills pronto.
Drop the Medications
Another thing you’ll want to consider is cutting out all other medications as well. The only medication that has been proven to be safe to take for pain for women considering pregnancy or that are already pregnant is Tylenol.
If you are on other medications for one reason or another, this should be discussed in your initial doctor’s appointment.
Prescriptions and over the counter medications are not safe for a developing baby, they can cause birth defects, cause a miscarriage, harm your chances of getting pregnant, and can even prevent you from conceiving altogether.
It’s more important than you think to stop any unnecessary medications, as advised by your gynecologist.
I have personally had migraines most of my life and also have fibromyalgia. I was taking medications for both to regulate and even stop the pain that I was feeling to give me a semi-normal life.
However, when we first deciding to start trying for a baby, I had to figure out how to live without them. I think it took me at least six months to start weaning myself off of my current medications.
One thing that helped was a supplement called SAM-e. SAM-e (S-adenosylmethionine) is a naturally occurring molecule in our bodies. It works to promote overall healthy brain functions, helping to balance our emotions by acting as a mood stabilizer. (NatureMade)
I spent a great deal of time trying to figure out a safe alternative that could still help me with the pains I was experiencing. It turns out that SAM-e is actually a supplement that doctors prescribe to women that are pregnant specifically for this reason and many others.
Not only does it work great for pain management, as studies have proven that it is just as good as Celebrex without any of the side effects, but it also works as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-depressant, and helping you to get a good night’s sleep (replacing melatonin). (DiscoveryHealth)
I didn’t even have to take it for long. But it sure helped me to wean off of the prescription medications I was taking for my migraines and chronic fibromyalgia pain.
I have now officially been off of my medications altogether for an entire year, just in time to finally start charting productively!
Value Your Sleep
A healthy body is going to be critical for a healthy conception and a healthy pregnancy. You’ve dropped all of the medications, you’re charting, and now it’s time to take care of your body.
A good night’s sleep should be one of your priorities to being healthy.
Everyone is different in their sleep needs. Where I need at least 9 hours of sleep a night to feel refreshed and energetic for the next day, I know some people only need a few hours.
For women trying to get pregnant, it is recommended by doctors that they get at least 8 hours of sleep a night. Sleep is how your body heals itself, repairs muscles and joints, and even renews your mind for the next day.
Sleep helps to maintain a healthy balance of the hormones in your body. Knowing that hormones play a big part in your cycles, your ability to conceive, and even the ability of your body to implant the egg and successfully maintain it, this should be a big one for you.
Your immune system also relies on sleep to stay healthy. This system defends your body against foreign or harmful substances. Ongoing sleep deficiency can change the way in which your immune system responds. For example, if you're sleep deficient, you may have trouble fighting common infections. (NHLBI)
Develop a Healthy Regular Diet
Eating well is also important to your health, and your ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy successfully. Not only do you need carbs and proteins, but you need a regular intake of fresh fruits and veggies.
I’m not saying that you need to completely change your way of life, but only to consider how bad you really want to conceive.
This could simply mean that instead of having macaroni and cheese for lunch, toss in some steamed broccoli. Maybe with your spaghetti, you could throw in some baked chicken slices and have a salad on the side.
Have an apple for a snack, or grab a banana for breakfast. It’s certainly a lifestyle you have to work into slowly.
If you consider the foods, and servings of each food group, that you really should have every day, it shouldn’t be too difficult to toss in some of your favorites to make your meals exciting.
It quickly becomes second nature to mix veggies into your meals, make more casseroles, or have some delicious sides with your main course.
Doing your best to find a balance in your meals with as many fruits and veggies as you can squeeze in, is what you do for a healthier body, and the chance to be a parent.
It might make things easier if you remind your man that the same goes for him!
Maintain a Healthy Weight
You may or may not have heard all the research done on the chances of pregnancy and women that are either underweight or overweight.
If you are not at your ideal weight, the likelihood that you will get pregnant goes way down. I realize that the name of the game today is staying thin, but in order to ovulate regularly, most women need at least 20% body fat.
But just as being underweight can prevent ovulation altogether, being overweight can also alter your cycles by causing excessive production of estrogen, which interferes with a woman’s regular cycles, causing delayed ovulation, anovulation, and irregular cycles.
To eliminate hormonal imbalances due to being underweight or overweight, you should try to attain a normal weight through wholesome foods and exercise. (Taken from Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler)
There’s no reason to overdo it. When we got started, the first thing I did to regulate my weight was to cut WAY down on my sugar intake and start portioning out my meals.
I do this by drinking more water than tea all day long. I’ve never been one for sodas or coffee. We even switched to decaffeinated tea bags for our tea.
I also portion out my dinner by eating off of a salad plate, instead of a dinner plate. Once the food is gone, my dinner is over. Id o the same thing with breakfast, snacks, and lunch. My husband always says that if you are eating less than your body is using, you will lose weight.
Time Your Intercourse Just Right
This should be another obvious one. If you want to get pregnant, than you need to be sending sperm in the direction of your egg within the short 24 hour window you have where you have an egg in your body available to be fertilized.
One great thing to remember though, is that as long as you have wet (fertile) cervical fluid present, sperm can survive in your body for at least 5 days.
This means that you don’t have to wait until the one day when you have an egg to be intimate with your partner. You can get started as soon as your cervical fluid is fertile.
However, there’s no way for you to know when this happens unless you are familiar with your body’s processes. In order for this to happen, it’s critical that you follow my above advice to chart your cycles.
This process is a lot more important than you think. But once you start charting, the signs will be a lot more obvious and you’ll feel much more in control of when you get pregnant.
Forget the Lube
Finally, one thing you may not know is that any addition lubrication, other what is naturally occurring “down there,” is not safe for sperm or productive towards the goal of conception.
Even your saliva is deadly to sperm and may kill (literally) any chances that you have of conception before they even have a chance.
If you are timing your intercourse correctly, your wet cervical fluid should be enough to lubricate the area sufficiently for easy intercourse.
However, in the case that it is not, I would suggest methods for arousal that will ultimately eliminate the need for additional lubrication, or try a lubrication that has been proven safe for conception such as Pre-Seed.
Pre-Seed is a fertility-friendly lubricant that will not harm your chances for getting pregnant. It can easily be found at www.preseed.com or on Amazon for $17.99. Click here to find out where else you can purchase this lubricant.
Educate Yourself About Conception
Unless you are relying on a lucky rabbit’s foot, a lucky horseshoe, a four leaf clover, or other superstition, you will want to get online, get a book and educate yourself about conception.
The more you know, the better you can be prepared and the more you can be in control of your own fertility.
SO many couples are prematurely labeled infertile nowadays because their hit and miss efforts last for at least a year without a successful pregnancy.
Check out my article on Common Infertility Myths to Watch Out For in order to know the truth about “infertility” for yourself.
I would also get on www.tcoyf.com for more information on charting your cycles, what is true and what isn’t and to get a copy of Toni’s book and truly begin understanding your fertility for yourself.
Good luck in your efforts!!
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© 2014 Victoria Van Ness