Light the candles, dip some strawberries in chocolate and turn on that classic Barry White tune, because it’s BABY-MAKING time.
Bow chicka wow wow.
Okay, so maybe you don’t need candles, chocolate or Barry to make a baby, but you do need to be fertility fit and ready! With National Fertility Awareness Week (19 to 25 August 2019) in full swing, we figure now’s the perfect time for family planning!
Indeed, some couples conceive naturally and unexpectedly – but this isn’t always the case. Often it takes a bit of time, patience and planning to get there. If you’re currently trying for a baby or thinking about adding to the family, then take a look at our conception and fertility tips to help maximise your chance of success.
The Basics of Conception and Fertility
Before trying for a baby, check that both your physical and mental health are in order. After all, pregnancy is no walk in the park!
- Book in with your GP to discuss your current medications. Book in for a general blood test, confirm your immunisations are up to date and check that all systems are ok.
- Get your teeth cleaned and any X-rays done (you won’t be able to get x-rays when pregnant).
- Get your weight in check. If you are underweight or overweight, it’s a good idea to talk to a doctor about getting in that healthy BMI range.
- Do a once-over of your home, removing heavy metals, toxins, and chemicals.
- Completely eliminate alcohol, cigarettes, oral contraceptives, and drugs.
- Start taking a multi-vitamin for pregnancy and conception (ideally for three months prior to falling pregnant). Folate is the most important vitamin for conception. Choose a multivitamin that contains folate as well as other essentials such as Vitamin D and Iodine.
- Incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. You don’t have to go crazy hard (actually, it’s probably not a good idea to take up ANY extreme sporting), but it’s a great idea to add a walk or light jog into your daily routine.
Foods to Eat (and Avoid)
Ensure you’re giving your body ALL the good stuff to help boost your chances of conception and give your baby a daily dose of healthy foods. Look for foods that are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and iron.
Here are some things to stock up on:
- Sunflower seeds, lentils and beans (especially black beans)
- Fresh grapefruit, pineapple, pomegranate, and orange juice
- Mature cheeses, like mature cheddar, parmesan, and manchego
- High-fat dairy products
- Cow liver (yuck) and salmon
- Cooked tomatoes and asparagus
- Egg yolk
- Walnuts – These are especially good for your hubby! Multiple studies confirm it’s a superfood for sperm.
There are a few different foods to avoid as well. These include:
- Fried foods – Think hot chips and anything deep-fried as well as those cooked at high heat.
- Sugary or processed foods – Bad news for the chocoholics amongst us!
- Foods and drinks that are high in caffeine, saturated fats, and refined carbs.
- Ibuprofen is also proven to affect hubby’s sperm so you may want to choose a different painkiller.
- Studies also suggest that unfermented soy products can impact fertility.
Let’s Make a Baby
There are actually a few different ways to give your sexy-time the best chance of leading to successful conception. Other than ditching the birth control, here are a few things to do in the bedroom:
Ditch the lube – Store-bought lubricants can have pH levels which can damage, kill or slow sperm down meaning none of those good little swimmers make it to the egg!
Foreplay is crucial – orgasm is important! Orgasm is actually believed to further increase your chance of conception as muscular contraction can pull sperm towards the uterus. Tell your guy there’s a baby at stake; he needs to get you across the line!
Choose an optimal position – Missionary position is the simplest way to achieve ejaculation close to the cervix and rear entry (doggy style) allows for deeper penetration. You choose!
Avoid oral sex – Saliva is believed to inhibit sperm mobility so oral sex is off the table.
Track your ovulation – The easiest way to know when to have sex is to track it through an app. We’ve got a few of our faves below.
Get Appy with Fertility Apps
Glow – Track dates and record data to pinpoint exactly when you’re ovulating (and therefore when the best time to get jiggy with it actually is). The app also provides access to a thriving community of fellow TTC (trying to conceive) pals.
WomanLog – Basic but brilliant, it allows women to track their ovulation and period dates, basal body temperature and sexual activities and then imports the data into an easy to read graph for future reference.
Ovia – The Ovia fertility app is all about data. Ovia claims that it helps get users pregnant up to three times faster than the national average thanks to its algorithm, which is based on data collected from millions of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.
Kindara and WINK- Kindara works in conjunction with the ‘Wink’ thermometer, which is the first basal body temperature thermometer to sync with an app. Using the two together can help you track far more accurately. You can also use Kindara post-pregnancy to augment natural family planning.
Conceivable –The Rolls Royce of fertility apps, Conceivable is a complete ‘modern fertility wellness’ program that ‘combines a proprietary methodology for identifying the underlying causes of infertility, with intelligent, personalised wellness recommendations that give women the power to improve natural fertility.’
Dot – Dot actually stands for ‘Dynamic Optimal Timing’, a patent-pending method that calculates your individual conception risks for each day of your cycle.
Trying, But Not Conceiving?
It happens. And it happens a lot more often than most people would think. According to IVF Australia, one in six couples of reproductive age experience issues with fertility.
Doctors recommend that you see a doctor about your fertility if you’re 35 years or older and have been trying for at least six months or if you’re younger than 35 and have been trying for at least one year.
Below are a few reasons you may not be conceiving:
You’re not ovulating – Known as aovulation, this is a common cause of female infertility and is often due to a condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid dysfunction. See your GP to check.
Your eggs are aging – Age isn’t just a number when it comes to conception. Age impacts both the quality and quantity of your eggs.
Blocked fallopian tubes – If your tubes are blocked for any reason, then this will prevent the sperm and egg from meeting. The only way to determine if this is the case is through fertility testing.
Endometriosis – This occurs when endometrium-like tissue (which is the tissue that lines the uterus) grows in places outside of the uterus. It requires diagnostic laparoscopic surgery, which is why so many women go untreated for so many years.
Other medical problems – There are a few other medical conditions that can impact fertility including undiagnosed diabetes, thyroid imbalance, lupus, undiagnosed STIs or undiagnosed celiac disease. Stress can also play an important role in conception so look into ways to keep those stress levels down.
Male infertility – It could be your hubby’s swimmers that are the issue, which will require a semen analysis.
Unexplained infertility – Sometimes there are simply no answers, which can be extremely frustrating – to say the least. Have a look at our articles on IVF treatment for more tips.
Even More Conception Tips
Looking for more fertility and conception tips? Have a look at our previous articles: