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How to maximise your chances of conceiving

If you’ve decided to try for a baby you might feel ready emotionally, but is your body prepared for the task ahead? To boost your chances of a healthy pregnancy you need to understand your body and fulfil its needs with some preconception planning.

For a lot of women your fertile time may be between day 10 and 18 of your cycle. This can vary from cycle to cycle for each individual, but there are fertile signs you can look out for.

During a woman’s fertile time, regular intercourse is essential for conception. It is more important than ever to work out when your individual fertile time is.

The body has amazing ways to help sperm on its journey to the egg. You can do a great deal to improve your chances of conception by paying attention to your health and lifestyle. These changes in your lifestyle will be useful when you are pregnant as well.

Take good care of your health

  • Eat a varied diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, protein-rich food such as fish, poultry or pulses, and whole grains
  • Avoid smoking, or cut down if you find it impossible to give up
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Take regular exercise; aim for three 20 minute sessions each week. Try walking, swimming or cycling
  • Get adequate rest and relaxation.
  • Avoid high stress levels

Sperm develop best at a temperature around 2°C lower than the rest of the body, which is why the testes are outside the body. Wearing tight underpants or jeans can raise the temperature of the testes and lower sperm production, so wearing boxer shorts is worth a thought.

Timing is important

The peak fertile days are the day before and the day of ovulation itself. The average length of a woman’s menstrual cycle is 28 days, with Day 1 counted as the first day of a period.  Many women find that their menstrual cycle length varies a great deal between cycles, which makes calculating the fertile time difficult.

Fortunately, there are other natural changes in a woman’s body which may help you to work out when your ‘fertile’ pre-ovulation days might be, and increase your chances of conceiving.

Checking your cervical mucus

The cells lining the cervix produce mucus continuously, but its appearance changes as your hormone levels change throughout your cycle.

In the early part of the cycle, the mucus is thick and sticky; it blocks the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to get through. Most women are not even aware of any mucus at this time.

As ovulation approaches, the mucus thins and becomes clear. This allows the easy passage of sperm through the cervix. After ovulation, the mucus again becomes thicker.

Observe your cervical mucus for few cycles and you will begin to notice the difference, and be able to time intercourse for the time the mucus is thin.

Checking your temperature

After ovulation, a woman’s basal body temperature rises slightly, by around 0.2°C, and keeps at this higher level until menstruation begins.

‘Basal’ means ‘the temperature of the body at rest’. You therefore need to monitor your temperature immediately upon waking as going to the bathroom, having a cup of tea, or any other activity, can cause your temperature to climb.

Ideally you should have intercourse on the days just before your temperature begins to rise.

Have frequent intercourse

It may seem obvious, but the more frequently you have intercourse during your fertile time, the greater your chance of conception. According to an a ferility experts, one of the most common causes of fertility issues is infrequent intercourse at the best time of the cycle. Your partner will not ‘run out’ of sperm. Each ejaculation contains millions of sperm and intercourse every 1-2 days will not affect his ability to produce sufficient sperm.


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