So, you want to have a baby. Seems pretty straightforward, right? But once you decide to start trying to conceive, you soon find out there’s a lot more to it than they cover in middle school health class! How can you get your body ready for pregnancy? Let’s run through some of the best ways to boost your fertility and get pregnant faster.
How to increase fertility: Get to know your menstrual cycle
Two major factors influence whether or not you conceive after unprotected sex.
Your body needs to release a fertile egg cell from one of the ovaries, which can then be fertilized by a sperm cell.
The fertilized egg needs a thick, developed endometrium to implant itself in, so it can develop into an embryo.
Both these occur as part of a normal menstrual cycle. In other words, if you’re trying to get pregnant, keeping your hormone balances and reproductive organs in good shape is a bit part of the process.
Fertility Tip #1: Stress less
Whether it’s work or life in general, avoiding stress is a lot easier said than done! The release of hormones that allow you to get pregnant is influenced by the fight-or-flight stress. When you’re stressed out, the brain may delay the secretion of reproductive hormones, potentially making it harder to get pregnant.
Try to keep your stress levels in check when you’re trying to conceive by taking time to relaxing with something you enjoy from time to time, like a bubble bath or a movie night.
Fertility Tip #2: Try to follow a balanced diet
There’s no magic superfood that super-charges your ovaries and uterus, but the right balance of nutrients can go a long way towards getting your body ready for pregnancy. Research suggests that a healthy diet for women hoping to become pregnant should include plant-based protein instead of animal protein.
Also, another research suggests that low glycemic index foods (e.g. brown rice and pasta) are a better choice when you’re trying to get pregnant than high glycemic index foods (e.g. white rice and potatoes). Balance is key, and you might want to think about starting a preconception supplement to build up your folic acid level: this is important to protect your baby from neural tube defects.
Fertility Tip #3: Moderate exercise
Exercise is a great way to keep your stress levels and your waistline under control. Research has correlated moderate exercise with an increase pregnancy rates for women who started off obese. However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. Intense exercise can leave you with a calorie deficit and disrupt the hormones in charge of the menstrual cycle, making it harder to get pregnant.
Fertility Tip #4: Maintain a healthy BMI
Obesity has a link to trouble conceiving, with negative effects ranging from ovulation to response to fertility treatment. Fortunately, weight loss tends to improve fertility for women who started off obese. However, excessive weight loss or being underweight (such as from eating disorders) can also make it impossible for your reproductive system to function well. If you have trouble getting to or maintaining a healthy BMI, see your healthcare provider for advice on how to get to a healthy weight range.
Fertility Tip #5: Quit smoking
You’re probably already aware of the danger cigarettes pose to developing babies, which is why you should never smoke during pregnancy. However, tobacco can also make it more difficult to conceive in the first place. Women who smoke are more likely to be infertile than non-smokers. To give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant fast, see your doctor about quitting before you start trying to conceive.
Increase fertility by increasing your health
Boosting your fertility has a lot to do with taking care of your general health. But if you’re just starting out trying to conceive, don’t be discouraged! Even if you haven’t thought too much about diet and exercise until now, preconception can be a great opportunity to make some lifestyle changes for the better. For some women, the idea of a faster, easier journey to pregnancy is all the extra motivation they need!