9 Tips for Trying to Conceive Naturally
Introduction into trying to conceive naturally
Trying to conceive is an exciting, anxious and unknown time, it can be fun but over time it can impact your relationship and your sex life. Many people who go to the G.P. early in trying to conceive often here things like ‘just relax’, ‘I’m sure it will happen’, ‘ why are you monitoring everything’ and ‘you have to have your blood test on day x of your cycle because cycles are 28 days’.
Conception and Fertility Facts
According to research by the ONS couples are leaving it later to have children. It might look dramatic, but in the years since 1973 to 2017 it has increased form an average age of 26.4 to 30.5 for all mothers and for first time mothers from 23.9 to 28.8. Which is indicative that fertility issues on average aren’t discovered till later in life, which is why age now has a greater impact than it used to. Trying to conceive can be stressful and if it takes a while to conceive it can have a negative impact on your relationship, give our article how to maintain a healthy relationship whilst trying to get pregnant a read to understand the possible impacts this exciting time can have on you and your partner.
Age has a significant impact upon fertility, and this often reflected through eligibility criteria associated with IVF and fertility treatments. As you can see from the graph opposite fertility starts declining from your mid 20’s and is statistically important from 35 and at 40 has a marked decline.
This is why if you are in your more advanced years it’s important to get a referral to a fertility clinic to begin testing after 12 months (6 months if over 35) to rule out any specific issues.
Within IVF it’s age that has the greatest impact upon the pregnancy rates which remain fairly stable (30-35%) for each embryo transferred up to the age of 30, but then fall to 20% by 40 and are only 5% by 45.
There are many other factors which impact upon fertility and natural conception including: –
Ovarian Reserve – This is the number of follicles which are still functioning within the ovaries.
Egg Quality – Not all eggs are created equal and egg quality both on one off and over all of your ovarian reserve can change your level of fertility. We have written a very thorough guide on improving your egg quality to improve your chances of conception
Menstrual Cycle – Many fertility tests are set by a 28 day cycle, not every woman has this, some have long, short, changing, long luteal, short luteal and all of these things can have an impact upon your fertility, so it’s important to understand your own cycle.
Vaginal Secretions – These can vary in consistency and pH which can impact fertility through being hostile to sperm
Endometrial lining – The thickness of this naturally changes through your cycle, however irregularities in this can mean that it is harder for the fertilised embryo to latch.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases – Some of these can have long term impacts on fertility
Lifestyle – It is known that alcohol, drugs, smoking obesity, nutrition and a raft of other lifestyle factors can have an impact on fertility
Chronic Illness – There are many conditions which can impact fertility and if you are living with one speak to your doctor about how it can impact you.
Sex – Regularity of intercourse.
For a detailed look at the chances of getting pregnant check out our article which now includes a free chance of pregnancy calculator how long does it take to get pregnant.
With these in mind let’s get to our top 9 Tips to help you have the best chance of conceiving naturally.
Top 9 Tips for trying to conceive Naturally
Tip #1 Focus on your lifestyle –
- Smoking -This is a big one both partners; so approach cessation clinics and get supported through this. This can impact your eligibility for NHS IVF treatment.
- Fluid Intake – Reduce your alcohol and caffeine consumption and increase your water consumption to 8-10 glasses a day, this will help with your cervical fluids.
- Nutrition and Supplements – Eat a balanced and healthy diet supported with 400ug of folic acid. B12 and vitamin D have also shown to help with conception. You can read about 7 foods which are great for fertility and what much more detail on what fertility supplements you should be taking.
- Stress – This can have an impact upon your fertility so cut out unnecessary stresses on your life. We all need to work and have a life so they can’t all be avoided but take time to reflect and relax.
Tip #2 Sex –
- We all know that having sex is all part and parcel of trying to conceive naturally for most couples. For the best chance have sex every 2-3 days. This allows fresh sperm to be produced and sperm can live for up to 3 days within a woman’s womb.
- Find ways to keep thinks romantic and a little spontaneous. Following the advice above can mean that sex can become a little transactional for some. So be sure to talk to your partner and work through this together.
- Ensure that both partners have been screened for STDs as undiagnosed conditions are a common reason for difficulties in natural conception.
Tip#3 Using lubricants – Many lubricants can negatively affect sperm, especially there motility. If you do need some lubricant to keep things fun then be sure to choose a sperm safe option which is specifically designed for couples trying to conceive.
Tip#4 Monitor and diarise your cycle – There is a lot of misinformed practices within the health sector and the fertility community that monitoring your cycle and recording it adds unnecessary stress to the couple trying, however some individuals find it empowering so do what’s right for you. But purely from a medical standpoint record your cycle lengths and days as these may be required by your medical team.
Tip #5 Seek Support and advice when you need it – This can be through friends and family, through online and in person support groups or through your GP and nurses. Don’t be scared to ask anything.
TIP #6 Patience – This seems like a silly one, but with many statistics quoting 20-30% chance per cycle your heart tells you that it will happen quickly which can add additional stress when it takes longer than you’d expect. Plus if you do end up having to go down the IVF/Fertility treatment route, nothing happens quickly so best start now. In fact we have done a detailed article on how long does it take to get pregnant – Which looks at the latest research and computational modeling to give you an example of how long it should take YOU to get pregnant
TIp #7 Medications and Long-term conditions – speak to your GP to check that your situation shouldn’t make conceiving harder if it could, are there alternative medications you can take to increase chances of conception and keep baby safe in event of getting pregnant.
Tip #8 Men keep cool – Your sperm count is naturally higher when your genitals are kept cooler, so reduce hot baths, showers and wearing tight underwear. You can find out all you need to know in our evidence based tips to improve male fertility
Tip #9 Acupuncture – some ladies find acupuncture helpful in their fertility journey and it is one of the only alternative therapies with scientific evidence behind it. If you are considering this then do your research and ensure you find a women’s health acupuncturist who specialises in fertility. You should also look for an acupuncturist who is a registered practitioner so the British Acupuncture Council is a good place to start. If you’re interested in the evidence on acupuncture you can read about this in our interview with the experts.
Any other tips and tricks let us know in the comments section below.
I hope you found a tip or two that will help you through your journey to get pregnant. We think these articles would likely be of interest to you:
How to improve YOUR egg quality in 90 days to improve your chances of conceiveing- A detailed eveidence-based guide to improving your egg quality
How long should it take YOU to get pregnant – This explores the latest evidence and computational modelling to give you a good idea on your chances of getting pregnant. It DOES’T use the standard 25% per cycle statistic you see banded around.
How can trying to conceive impact your relationship – We look at how TTC can impact your sex life and your relationship in the expected and unexpected ways and what you can do to help.
Evidence based tips to improve male fertility – A look at the evidence for improving male fertility and what steps you can do to improve your or your partner’s swimmers.
Home sperm testing – We explore whether it’s worth doing some home sperm testing and if it can improve your chances of conceiving.
Can AMH predict your current and future fertility? – We look at the predictive power of AMH which is often billed as the gold standard of checking your fertility – but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
An open letter to our past selves – A powerful piece about what men would want to have told themselves and their partners before they started their infertility journey. There is some really good stuff in here.
If you have any questions just leave us a comment and we’ll get back to you.
If you want to save these tips for future reference the pin an image below: