Find a partner. For some, this is the hardest part.
Some women are blessed with fertility and get pregnant quickly and easily the old-fashioned way. For others, conceiving is not so simple. These step-by-step baby-making basics will help any woman understand when she is most fertile, how often and when to have sex and when to seek help for infertility.
If you are currently on the pill as a form of birth control, discontinue taking it. Most doctors recommend that women wait three cycles while their bodies adjust to being off the pill before trying to conceive.
Start taking a prenatal vitamin before getting pregnant. Medical professionals recommend that women get a daily dose of 400 micrograms of folic acid starting at least a month before trying to get pregnant and at least 600 micrograms a day once pregnant. Research has indicated that doing so can reduce the risk of neural tube defects in babies by up to 70 percent.
Balance your hormones with good nutrition and herbal supplements. Zinc, calcium, magnesium and B6 are great for sustaining hormonal balance. Various herbs associated with balanced hormones include chamomile, raspberry leaf, ginkgo biloba, saw palmetto, ginseng, licorice root and black cohosh. Consult your doctor if you are unsure of the effects of any herbal supplements.
The best time to develop a healthy lifestyle is before pregnancy. Maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, eat healthy foods, reduce stress and don't smoke, consume alcohol or do any other recreational drugs. These good habits may help you get pregnant more easily and will certainly serve you and your baby well during pregnancy.
Determine when you ordinarily ovulate. For most women, this is in the middle of their menstrual cycle, around day 14, although the exact timing varies among women. There are a number of ways to determine when you are ovulating, from tracking your basal body temperature and watching for changes in cervical mucus to simply purchasing an ovulation calculator at the drug store.
Have regular, unprotected sex around the time you ovulate. Since sperm cells can survive in the reproductive tract for two to three days, it's best to have sex every day for at least a few days leading up to ovulation. So for example, if the average woman ovulates on day 14, it's best to have sex on days 12, 13 and 14 of her menstrual cycle.
On the first day of a missed period, take an early pregnancy test and find out if all of your hard work has paid off.
Repeat these steps each month until you are pregnant.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are concerned about any existing health issues or unhealthy habits that you or your partner may have, consider preconception planning. Your doctor can assess your overall health and help you identify lifestyle changes that may improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy.
- A healthy couple without any known fertility problems only has a 25 percent chance of conceiving during any given cycle. So if it's taking a while to get pregnant, be patient. Medical professionals define infertility as the inability to get pregnant after 12 consecutive cycles of trying.
- Infertility affects both men and women but treatment is available. Depending on the source of the problem, your gynecologist, your partner's urologist, a family doctor or a fertility specialist may be able to help. Nowadays, there are many options for infertile couples trying to conceive, including infertility drugs, artificial insemination, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies.
- Avoid taking synthetic horomones, anti-depressants and other drugs leading up to getting pregnant. Chemicals can alter your body's natural hormonal state and make pregnancy more difficult.
- The odds of conceiving each month decrease as you get older.
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