Conception Tips: What to Know When You’re Trying to Have a Baby
The decision to start a family is one of the most exciting times in a woman’s life—one that we at OB/GYN Associates of Alabama love to be a part of. It’s a time of great possibilities, new horizons, and a fair share of butterflies. But we often notice that patients can feel a little surprised that getting pregnant involves more than having sex alone. In fact, we have quite a few conception tips that we frequently share with hopeful moms-to-be!
Trying for a baby involves planning, timing, and some health-focused living. Here are our top tips for conceiving a child!
How Long Does it Take to Conceive?
There’s no one magic answer to this question because every woman is unique, but we do have some ballpark figures. About 30% of women get pregnant within the first month of trying. For the other 70%, it can take six months to a year or more of regular, unprotected sex. We normally recommend seeking fertility help if you’ve been trying for a full year with no success.
Top Tips for Getting Pregnant
Start Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are similar to regular multivitamins, except they are specifically formulated to help give your body the nutrients it needs to support a healthy pregnancy. They contain one very important ingredient in particular: folic acid. Folic acid is important for preventing certain birth defects that develop very early on in a pregnancy, often before you even know you’re pregnant. Studies show that they can also increase your chances of getting pregnant and are associated with a lower risk of miscarriage.
We recommend starting a daily prenatal vitamin with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid at least 1 month before you start trying and during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Focus on a Healthy Lifestyle—Both You & Your Partner
We always advise our patients to really focus on their health in the months before and during pregnancy. Broadly, this means:
- Cutting out unhealthy substances like alcohol, tobacco, any illegal substances like marijuana, and prescriptions that you don’t take for medical reasons
- Eating a healthier diet
- Getting regular exercise (but not overdoing it)
- Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
Of course, this goes for your partner, too! A man’s lifestyle choices can affect his sperm’s motility (their ability to move). Encourage your partner to join you in quitting alcohol and tobacco use and adopting a healthy lifestyle. This includes e-cigarettes—recent studies show that even nicotine-free vape liquids contain endocrine disruptors that can affect our hormones & reproductive organs.
Understand Your Cycle
Timing is everything when it comes to getting pregnant, so getting to know your own body and menstrual cycle is a great way to get the timing right. Your chances of getting pregnant are highest when you are ovulating—when your ovary releases an egg. We recommend tracking your cycle so that you can get to know your “fertile window.” You can do this with a simple pen and paper journal or with a variety of fertility tracking apps.
How do you know when you’re ovulating? It generally happens 13–14 days before the first day of your menstrual cycle (the day you get your period). Here are some signs you can track:
- Breast tenderness
- A rise in your normal body temperature by ½ to 1 degree
- Thinning of your cervical mucus
- Light cramping in your side
Find the Right Balance with Sex
When we say have “regular sex,” we mean having sex about every other day during your fertile window. This frequency tends to produce the best results—slightly better even than having sex every day. Of course, turning sex into a mechanical chore can quickly make the prospect seem less than exciting. The important thing is to be open and communicative and find what will realistically work for you as a couple.
It’s best to focus on having sex around the time of ovulation. But try not to stress out about it! And don’t worry about the right position for conception—the idea that one is better than another is a myth. Do try to remain lying down for about 15 minutes after sex. Otherwise, a healthy, stress-free, and mutually understanding sexual relationship is all you should need!
Manage Your Stress Levels
We know—this one is easier said than done. But stress can actually harm your chances of conceiving a child. Your body releases various hormones like cortisol when you’re stressed, which can throw our cycles out of balance. While a little regular day-to-day worry probably won’t affect you too much, if you know you have issues with anxiety or stress, now is the time to take steps to manage it.
Practicing yoga is a great way to improve both your physical and mental well-being. Of course, there are plenty of other methods, too, including talk therapy, guided meditation, deep breathing exercises, and support groups. Find something that works for you, and make de-stressing a priority!
Top Tip: Consult With Your OB/GYN!
Your OB/GYN can provide what’s called a preconception checkup: an appointment before you get pregnant where you can check your health and get top tips and advice from a trusted source. At OB/GYN Associates of Alabama, we’re always here to help you in your journey toward parenthood, with resources, advice, and treatment options for a range of fertility concerns.
If you’re about to start trying for a baby and need a compassionate expert by your side, call OB/GYN Associates of Alabama today!
Family Planning, Fertility, & Obstetrics in Birmingham, AL
OB/GYN Associates of Alabama has been serving women in the Birmingham metro area for over 50 years. In that time, we’ve helped countless patients start their journey to parenthood safely and successfully. For comprehensive and advanced care before, during, and after your pregnancy, schedule your appointment with us in Gardendale, Hoover, or downtown today! Call (205) 774-6994 or contact us online.