We live in a fast paced society where we can get most anything that we want, fairly quickly. However, when it comes to getting pregnant, it can seem like time is moving incredibly slow, especially if you’ve been trying for some time. Below are some suggestions for increasing the likelihood of getting pregnant sooner rather than later. However, if you have had intercourse without contraception for 6 months without conceiving, please reach out to us at Diana Health for support and evaluation. We are here to help!
- See your Healthcare Practitioner: We recommend that you have a pre-pregnancy check-up with your CNM or OB at Diana Health. Optimizing your health prior to conception is probably the most important thing that you can do to increase your chances of having a healthy baby. Visit your local pharmacy and start a prenatal vitamin with folic acid, and then make that call to schedule this important visit. Even if you are in optimal health, this is a visit that you shouldn’t miss as it gives you and your healthcare practitioner a chance to review your medical history to see if there is anything that should be done to optimize your health prior to conceiving. Being healthy when you get pregnant increases your chances of a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby. Also, they will likely review your family history to see if there are any screening tests that you may want, based upon your family history. Medications that you are taking are typically reviewed too as there are some medications that should ideally be adjusted prior to conception. Connecting with your healthcare practitioner prior to trying to get pregnant is one of the most important things you can do for your future baby’s health. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has detailed information about Preconception Counseling if you want to learn more.
- Communicate: Communicating with your partner about your desire for pregnancy, your hopes, concerns, as well as timing for your pregnancy is a great place to start. Pregnancy can change your relationship and it’s important to do all that you can to strengthen your relationship through communication from the get go. Also, openly communicating about what your sexual needs and desires are, can lead to being both of you being “in the mood” for sex when the time is right.
- Manage Stress: Excessive stress can disrupt your menstrual cycles making ovulation less frequent. It is important not to blame yourself if you are having irregular menstruation or are not ovulating regularly as there are many other potential causes that your CNM/OB can address. However, practicing stress management techniques and working on stress resiliency while trying to conceive will be beneficial now and for years to come. We know it’s easier said than done but try to take the focus off of needing to have an orgasm, as that can be one additional stress impactor.
- Know Your Cycles: Most fertile women can conceive for about 6 days during every menstrual cycle if they are ovulating regularly. While there are emotional benefits to intercourse that is desired by both partners throughout the menstrual cycle, intercourse during the several days (about 5) leading up to the day you will likely ovulate, as well as about 24 hours after, can increase your chances of success. Monitoring your basal body temperature and/or your cervical mucus can help you to know when you are most fertile too. Information on Charting Your Fertility from WebMD has more information if you would like to learn more about this subject. Also, there are several different fertility or ovulation tracking apps that you can use. For information about various apps, consider reading The 7 Best Fertility Apps.
- Position: There is no conclusive evidence showing that a certain position for intercourse increases your chances of success. However, positions such as missionary (male on top) or rear entry (male from behind with female on her abdomen or hands & knees) may allow for deeper penile penetration, positioning the sperm closer to the cervix. Whether or not these are better for actually conceiving than other positions has not been determined. Experiment, discuss, and decide what works best for you and your partner.
- After Intercourse: Despite all the stories and old wives tales you’ve heard about lying on your back with your hips raised on a pillow, and your legs in the air, there is no scientific evidence to back it up. That being said, taking some time to relax after intercourse, talk and/or just snuggling with your partner while laying with your hips slightly raised can’t do any harm (unless your healthcare practitioner has advised you to empty your bladder immediately after sex) and maybe it, just maybe, it could help. Also, a study in the British Medical Journal of women undergoing infertility treatments with intrauterine insemination (IUI) had an increased probability of conception if they laid on their back for 15 minutes after insemination so it might be worth a try even though the study can’t be generalized to non-IUI conception.
- Lubricant: Some vaginal lubricants may negatively impact sperm survival. Spend time engaging in foreplay prior to intercourse to allow your natural vaginal secretions to provide lubrication when trying to conceive. If you want to use a vaginal lubricant while trying to conceive, the Mayo Clinic’s website on lubricant that is helpful for sperm has more information that you may find useful.
- Frequency: Sperm live about 5 days once they are inside a woman’s body. Having intercourse regularly, such as daily or every other day, around the time of ovulation increases the chances of conception. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has a committee opinion available on Optimizing Natural Fertility that suggests that daily intercourse may have a slight advantage for conceiving compared to intercourse that occurs every other day during the fertile window; however, it also suggests the possibility of stress when trying to follow a particular schedule.
- Don’t douche: Don’t douche after intercourse when trying to conceive (or ever), unless directed by your healthcare practitioner. It can harm the bacterial environment of your vagina and increases your chance of infection.
- Have fun: Last but not least, try to have fun with it! We know this can be an incredibly stressful time, but it also doesn’t have to be. This can also be a time to get intune with your body, recenter your breath and find meaningful connection with your partner.
Hopefully the tips above can help your chances of conceiving when you’re ready. Whether you are planning to start trying to conceive, you are trying to conceive now, or whether you are struggling to conceive, feel free reach out to our team at Diana Health – we have Certified Nurse Midwives and physicians who care about you and your reproductive health journey, and are eager to help.