Thinking about getting pregnant? Ready to start a family? It may not be as easy as it sounds. Below are some helpful conception tips to ease your mind about conceiving.

The peak time for fertility for women is in the early twenties, but in today’s fast-paced, career- driven society more women are waiting till later to start a family. The average age today is 30-34 with many women waiting to conceive until their forties. While it is true that having a baby before the age of 35 increases chances of a healthy, full-term pregnancy, women can in fact can have a child in well into their forties if they maintain good health and take proper measures to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

It is critical that you never compare yourselves to other couples as some will conceive rather easily while others may have more difficulty. Even if you are both fertile and healthy, it may take six months to a year to conceive.  The average couple in their twenties may take up to five months and it may take even longer if you are in your thirties or older.

Once you are ready to start trying to conceive you should schedule a prenatal checkup. It is best to see your OBGYN about one cycle before you are ready to start trying, just in case they find any underlying medical issues that need to be addressed before you can safely conceive. You also need to take into account your family history and ethnic background. If there are any issues, your doctor may suggest a genetic screening in order to see if there is any history of inherited illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis, etc. A comprehensive prenatal examination may be the best thing you ever do for your unborn child. Genetic screening is covered by most health plans and is as simple as a blood test or saliva sample.

Conception Tips for Her…

  • Be sure to avoid vaginal sprays, scented tampons, artificial lubricants, glycine, douches, and saliva as they are known to kill off sperm. Your vaginal environment needs to be as “sperm-friendly” as possible. The above may also cause infections or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Eliminate alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes. Smoking can affect the sperm quality and speed up the loss of eggs while caffeine increases the risk of endometriosis, which can cause infertility. And even drinking a few alcoholic beverages a week prior to conception may cause infertility.
  • Cut back on the workout routine. While physical activity does help you prepare for labor and pregnancy, too much exercise can tamper with ovulation. Also, women who workout strenuously have been known to have menstrual issues which could interfere with conception.
  • Start taking prenatal vitamins before trying to conceive. This will help you chose which one works best with your system. You might also want to start taking a daily multivitamin that contains at least 400 mcg of folic acid, which helps prevent birth defects.
  • Maintain a healthy diet. Make sure you are getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, such as red peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens like kale and spinach and berries such as blueberries and raspberries which are high in antioxidants. You will want to avoid artificial flavors and sweeteners such as Aspartame, Saccharine and Sucralose as they can cause infertility. You will also want to stay away from any fish that contains mercury as well as non-organic, processed meats and unpasteurized dairy products.

Conception Tips for Him

Healthy sperm obviously have the best shot at fertilization. Here are some tips to increase potency.

  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption as it reduces both testosterone levels and sperm count.
  • Cut out tobacco and recreational drug activity.
  • Make sure to eat plenty of key nutrients such as calcium, zinc, folic acid, and vitamins C and D to create powerful sperm.
  • Avoid use of saunas and hot tubs as heat kills sperm.
  • Avoid ejaculation for 2-3 days before your partner’s fertile period to increase your sperm count.

Time to Conceive

An egg can survive for up to 24 hours after it’s released from the ovary, while sperm can survive up to six days in the uterus before ovulation. If you have sex one to three days prior to ovulation it will increase your chances of fertilization.

If you are trying to predict your fertile period by taking your basal body temperature it is suggested that you opt for a digital thermometer as it will give a more accurate reading. Some suggest that it is not necessary to track your BBT if you are having intercourse 2-3 times a week as it is overkill. If you are going to monitor your BBT, make sure not to drink or eat before taking your temperature as this will interfere with getting an accurate reading.

There are some common misconceptions regarding how often you should have sex when trying to conceive. Realistically it is better to have sex every other day around the time of ovulation so as to give the male’s sperm time to “recharge.”  Also, there is no scientific data to determine if certain sexual positions will in fact increase fertility.

To increase chances of fertilization you should lay flat for about 30 minutes after intercourse and you should never douche after sex while you are trying to conceive. If you follow these conception tips, it should help increase your chances of getting pregnant.

When to Seek Help

However, if you have followed all of the prenatal advice and are unable to conceive, it may be time to seek the aid of a professional. A lot of women are turning to holistic methods such as acupuncture and herbal remedies, but it can’t hurt to make an appointment with a fertility doctor. If you are under 35, you should seek medical help if you still haven’t conceived after a year. If there is family history of infertility or past sexually transmitted diseases, you should only wait six months to ensure that there are no underlying health issues. If you are over 35 or have a complex medical history, you should definitely see a fertility specialist if you are not yet pregnant after six months of trying.