Everyone’s fertility journey is different. The only guarantee is that one woman’s experience will be totally different than another’s. It’s nearly impossible to predict how long it will take for conception to occur. It is going to be hard, but you should always do your best to keep a positive mindset.
So, what are some ways you can improve your fertility naturally? It can range from managing stress and finding meaningful support to monitoring your ovulation cycle or even lifestyle changes.
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Read More: When to See a Fertility Specialist
Should you monitor your ovulation cycle while trying to get pregnant?
Yes! When trying to conceive, tracking your ovulation cycle helps ensure you’re targeting the most fertile window in your cycle. Your fertile window is the five days leading up to your ovulation, the day of ovulation, and the day after ovulation. Usually, about seven days total, but each woman could be different depending on regularity.
If you know when you ovulate, plan for sex the two days before and the day of your expected ovulation.
Read More: What Women Should Know About Their Ovaries
Some symptoms present during ovulation are light spotting, cramping, bloating, and breast tenderness.
Monitoring your ovulation is important if you’re attempting to conceive, have been trying without success, or just suffered a miscarriage.
If you experience irregular periods and your menstrual cycle varies each month – calculating your monthly fertility window might not be possible.
You can try one of these many methods to track your ovulation:
The Calendar Method: If you’re regular and your menstrual cycle tends to be the same number of days each month – the calendar method is your best bet. Get an old-fashioned calendar and chart that you’ll probably ovulate around two weeks (14 days) before your period begins. Yours may vary, but again, if you’re regular – you should have balance when you expect it.
Basal Body Temperature: The basal body temperature charting is when you take your temperature first thing in the morning (when at rest) and look for a sustained temperature during the day. You would monitor this throughout your cycle and look to detect temperature rises. By charting it each day – you’ll be able to predict your ovulation.
Cervical Mucus Changes: Your cervical mucus is secreted by glands in and around your cervix. Around the time of ovulation, you can look/touch the vaginal discharge to determine its consistency and color. You're likely to ovulate if it looks like raw egg whites. This stage in your mucus evolution is called fertile cervical mucus. It’s the best time to get busy.
Ovulation Predictor Kits: Like a pregnancy test, ovulation predictor kits are urine tests. They’re used to measure your luteinizing hormone (LH). Luteinizing hormone (LH) is made by your pituitary gland. LH helps to control your menstrual cycle and triggers the release of an egg from the ovary.
When your LH surges, you’ll typically ovulate within 12 to 36 hours. For better results (predictions), you should use the test over consecutive days to detect your surge.
- At five days, you have an 80% chance of predicting your ovulation.
- At ten days, you have a 95% chance of predicting your ovulation.
Saliva Ferning Tests: The saliva test works by highlighting crystal formations that develop in your saliva during ovulation. During the fertile period of your menstrual cycle – there will be chemical changes in your saliva you can see when it’s dried.
The test kit will include a lens where you can place your saliva. Viewing the sample under a scope allows you to see if crystals have formed. Your ovulation will typically occur within 24 to 72 hours of the formation.
Stop the use of tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol.
This one is easy. Eliminate tobacco, marijuana, and alcohol from your lifestyle during your fertility journey.
Tobacco smoke alone affects your ovulation and causes irregularities and failure to release an egg mid-cycle. While research on how marijuana affects fertility is unknown, some studies suggest it may negatively impact both men and women.
While some studies show moderate drinking does not affect fertility, heavy drinking does. Those who were shown to be heavy drinkers had an 18 percent decrease in fecundity.
Removing anything that can cause irregularities is conducive to your journey. When in doubt – just leave it out of your lifestyle.
You should be hydrated while trying to conceive.
It feels like the solution to everything is just drinking water.
You’ll want to ensure you get enough water and avoid overly sugary drinks. Dehydration can lead to poor egg health and make it less likely that one will become fertilized or develop into an embryo.
Research has shown a link between your hydration rate of cervical mucus and the ability of sperm to penetrate it. If your cervical mucus is thick and has low water content – sperm will have difficulty traveling through it.
This also applies to your partner, as dehydration can lead to low sperm count. Hydration plays a crucial role in hormonal regulation and production of cervical fluid.
The general rule of thumb is to consume eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily.
How do you manage stress during infertility?
You’re probably tired of hearing, “Stop stressing,” all the time. Everyone makes it sound so easy. Stress may not cause infertility directly, but a fertility journey will cause stress.
So, why should you stop stressing if it doesn’t cause infertility? Well, for one, it can cause chronic stress, leading to a lowered desire to have sex and delayed ovulation.
Finding ways to manage your stress can help calm the overwhelming feeling of infertility and focus on your well-being. Mind-body programs are a great way to connect your body to your mind. There’s even research behind that – 55% of women involved in a mind-body program were able to get pregnant compared to 20% who were not in the program.
Does your diet affect your fertility?
You are what you eat! Finding ways to get the right vitamins and nutrients can help improve your chances of getting pregnant. Getting unsaturated fats, vegetables, whole grains, and fish can improve your well-being and fertility.
Research from Harvard found that women trying to get pregnant naturally should have the following vitamins and nutrients that were linked to positive effects on fertility:
Not all foods were found to help your fertility in the review. Foods with antioxidants, vitamin D, dairy products, soy, caffeine, and alcohol appeared to have little or no effect. Foods with trans fat, meats, potatoes, sweets, and sweetened beverages negatively affected fertility.
Should you take prenatal vitamins while trying to conceive?
Prenatal vitamins are designed to support everything a fetus needs to thrive. Research has found that taking prenatal multivitamins also tends to help women get pregnant faster. So if you’re TTC, taking a once-a-day prenatal can’t hurt.
While they can help you get pregnant faster, they won’t make you more likely to get pregnant. Still, prenatals are vitally crucial for reducing your risk of miscarriage and the likelihood of neural tube defects in your fetus.We Recommend: Premium Prenatal
Everyone’s fertility journey is different. While you’re TTC, don’t compare your experiences to others. If you’ve exhausted all methods (and patience), there are medical interventions that can help. Take heart – we’re here to support you no matter what questions you have or needs that come up. Just contact our Customer Obsession Team.