Trying to conceive a baby is both a nerve-wracking and exciting time for a couple! If you and your partner are planning to conceive or actively trying, we've got plenty of tips here to help you out. Once you've finished this article, you'll be an expert on conception! Let's get into it.
- It will take time to get pregnant. Most couples take around a year to conceive, but it can take up to two years or more.
- Schedule a pre-conception appointment with your OB-GYN.
- If you smoke, now is the time to quit. Smoking makes it harder to conceive, and it poses a number of risks to an unborn baby.
Tips for Trying to Conceive
Recognize that it will take time. For many couples, conceiving a baby can take as long as a year. Generally, though, it won't take longer than two years. 90% of couples have conceived within two years. If you're expecting to get pregnant within just a couple of months, you need to adjust your expectations. It's possible, but for many couples it takes a lot longer than that. This is especially true for older couples.
Get a pre-conception screening. A pre-conception screening might not be something you've heard of, but it can help you get pregnant faster. Your OB-GYN will talk to you about changes you can make to help improve your odds of getting pregnant as quickly as possible. In addition, they can help you prepare for the experience of actually being pregnant. If you have any infertility issues, your OB-GYN will point you towards treatment options to help you get pregnant.
Avoid alcohol. Alcohol can reduce sperm count and quality, making it harder to conceive. In addition, alcohol is not safe for a pregnant woman to consume. Since you won't know exactly when you become pregnant until two to three weeks after fertilization occurs, you'll want to avoid alcohol the entire time you're trying to conceive.
Stop smoking. If you or your partner smoke, now is a great time to quit. Smoking lowers estrogen levels; not only will this make it harder to conceive, but it will raise the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Smoking can also reduce sperm count and quality. Plus, smoking while pregnant is very dangerous to the fetus. Smoking continues to be dangerous for a child post-delivery; exposing them to high levels of second-hand smoke raises their risk for a multitude of health problems. Talk to your doctor about quitting before trying to conceive.
Avoid heat. You might think this one is an old wives' tale, but excessive heat can affect sperm count. This heat can be from a hot shower or bath, wearing tightly-fitting clothes on a hot day, or even having a laptop on your lap for too long. If you want to give yourself the best possible odds of conceiving quickly, avoid excessive heat in the groin region. Wear loose clothes, take cooler showers, and consider keeping the laptop on a table or desk when possible.
Tracking Your Ovulation
While trying to conceive, it's important to track your ovulation so that you know when the best times to try are. There are many ways to track your ovulation, but using an ovulation calculator is a great way to start. If you're tracking your period, we recommend tracking it on paper rather than through an app, due to privacy concerns in the wake of the Supreme Court's 2022 decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.
It's also important to recognize the signs of ovulation. Signs that your body is ovulating include:
- Clear, stretchy discharge
- Light spotting
- Increased libido
- Breast sensitivity and tenderness
Your fertility will be highest during the five days leading up to ovulation and the first 24 hours after. If you want to give yourself the best possible chance at getting pregnant, have sex during this time. Keep in mind that, contrary to popular belief, you can get pregnant while on your period. It just isn't as likely as during other times in your cycle.
Do not take the content of this article as professional medical advice. It's important to exercise due diligence when obtaining relevant information in matters pertaining to your health. Always consult with your healthcare provider before making any medical decisions.