For a couple, any couple, deciding to start a family is a huge decision. Once you’ve decided, you might think having a lot of sex and hoping for the best is all you need to do to get pregnant. Yes, having sex is definitely a key part of conception, but that’s not all there’s to it.
It’s not all about sex
Conceiving a baby is actually a numbers game. According to the UK’s National Health Service, out of every 100 couples trying to get pregnant, 80 to 90 are likely to be successful within a year. Understanding ovulation is a key part of this success rate. A woman usually ovulates around 14 days after the first day of her last period, and having sex during ovulation has the highest chances of resulting in a pregnancy.
Don’t fret if math is not your forte, because now there are applications available to help you track when you’re ovulating and which days of the month are best for sex to get the best results. Remember that having sex is just a part of conception, and there are a number of changes you have to make in your lifestyle to be able to conceive, maintain a pregnancy and then care for your baby for the crucial first year.
The following are some tips that can increase your chances of conception and assure you a healthy pregnancy too. No, they’re not just for women to follow, because while she’s the one who’ll carry the baby to term after conception (and she’ll need proper prenatal care), the would-be father’s health has to be maintained as well.
1. Balanced diet: A healthy diet which includes foods with high fibre, folate, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants is not just good for your overall health but also your reproductive health. Include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins like eggs and fish, etc in your daily diet.
2. Quit smoking: According to the British Medical Association, women who smoke have a 40% lesser chance of getting pregnant. Smoking also decreases a man’s sperm count and can affect its quality as well, which can lead to infertility.
3. Stop alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption is known to reduce fertility odds, so cut it down or, better yet, quit completely when you’re trying to conceive.
4. Limit caffeine: Sure you need your morning dose of coffee, but it’s best to reduce your caffeine consumption while you’re trying to get pregnant and when you’re pregnant because it can constrict the blood supply to the uterus.
5. Get exercise: Exercise is known to be beneficial for your overall fitness and plays a huge role in your fertility as well as how you’ll cope with pregnancy and its many symptoms. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, and it doesn’t even have to be strenuous.
6. Talk to a doc: Sure, reproduction is basic biology and all life forms know how to do it, but having a guiding hand is important. A good obstetrician can help you deal with conception, the entirety of your pregnancy and the delivery of your baby, so go get the best one you can.
7. Supplement up: Ask any obstetrician and you’ll know that women (and men) need more of certain nutrients to get pregnant and maintain that pregnancy. Consult a doctor about taking folic acid and iron supplements, and ask if you also need vitamins, calcium or any pending vaccinations before conception.
8. Stress less: Stress and anxiety can affect your reproductive health and can contribute to infertility. So, learn how to deal with stress and take up activities that improve your mental health.
9. Get checked: Most importantly, you should get a thorough check-up done before you start planning a baby and this should include getting your full medical history. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or a prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, miscarriages, premature births, etc matter a lot when you’re trying to conceive.
10. Know when to get help: While it’s likely that you won’t have any issues with conceiving, if you do, make sure that you get help. Dealing with infertility cannot be successfully done without the help of experts.
For more information, read our article on How to get pregnant.
Health articles on News18 are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.