Planning for a baby? Healthy couples have around a 20% chance of falling pregnant, although this can vary depending on circumstances. As you can only conceive around the time of ovulation, this is a small window between 12 and 24 hours.
Here are some fertility tips that you may not have thought of, to help you on your way.
Visit your dentist
You may be surprised to hear that your fertility is linked to your oral health. Research presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, found that the effect of gum disease on conception has the same level of magnitude as obesity. According to the research, women with gum disease take, on average, two months longer to fall pregnant than those without. Not only does oral hygiene affect your general health, but miscarriage has been linked to maternal periodontal disease.
Take your temperature
Your Basal Body Temperature (BBT) is the temperature of your body before you get out of bed. Charting this temperature over your menstrual cycle is a low-tech and inexpensive way to determine if you are ovulating. Your BBT changes as your hormone levels change. Your BBT will reach its lowest point at ovulation and rise immediately by half a degree as soon as ovulation occurs.
Know when you are ovulating
Keep a menstrual cycle diary for the first few months, so that you can have an idea of what’s normal for you. You may even get a message from your body that you are ovulating, such as a twinge of pain or cramps (usually localised to one side, the side you are ovulating from).
Check your cervix
At the beginning of your cycle, your cervix (the neck-like passage between your vagina and uterus), is low, firm and closed. As ovulation approaches, this pulls back, softens and opens a bit. Check your cervix daily, using one or two fingers, and chart the changes.
Cut back on caffeine
Research shows that caffeine affects female levels and impacts how long it takes to fall pregnant. Experts share that you should limit your caffeine intake to one or two cups (tea and coffee) a day.
Many pesticides and herbicides that are used through traditional farming methods affect female fertility by impacting ovarian function and disrupting the menstrual cycle. The same goes for men. A study published in Human Reproduction found that those who ate the most pesticide-treated foods, had both a lower sperm count and lower-quality sperm.
Share a bath, a massage or a yoga class. Stress impacts your body’s hormone production and menstrual cycle. Find ways to lower both your stress levels, and help you to relax.
Watch that laptop
A study by Fertility and Sterility has found that heat created from your laptop can affect sperm mobility and result in DNA damage. So, make sure your partner doesn’t sit with his laptop on his lap when working.
Buy him boxers
Some fertility problems can stem from a condition where the temperature in the testes is overly warm, which in turn affects his swimmers. Lying loose is boxers rather than constricting briefs are believed to be helpful.
Remember your multivitamin
Vitamins E and C, and the mineral selenium, will all benefit healthy sperm. Remember it takes almost three months for a man to make new sperm, so plan ahead of time.
Lie on your back after sex
As your vagina naturally slopes downwards, resting on your back after sex allows the sperm to pool, which gives them the advantage of swimming towards your egg.
Have sex before bed
Some researchers believe that sperm counts are highest in the morning, however in reality, there is no best time of day. However, if this is the last thing before bed, not only are you in a relaxed state, you are lying on your back – both of which are beneficial to baby-making.