Conception checklist

Preparing to Try To Conceive (TTC)? Getting pregnant tips and what to expect when trying for a baby

The science to making a baby

Trying for a baby is different for every couple. Some many find getting pregnant quick easy, or even accidental! While others may try for months or years and may consider IVF.

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There are no hard and fast rules about what makes the ideal pregnancy and the perfect baby, but there are some things worth considering when trying to get pregnant, which can help increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthier pregnancy. These will also help your baby in the long run.

Before you start trying to get pregnant

If you’re already off contraception and trying on a regular basis, or have already become pregnant, don’t worry! It’s worth having a look at these key points as they may help you too.

Are you and your partner ready for a baby?

If you have already said, ‘Let’s have a baby!’ out loud, then you have probably already thought about the impact a baby will have on your life and your relationship. But if not, check out our guide to working if you’re ready for a baby.

Is your body ready?

Lots of women with bad backs and too much ‘padding’ on their bums, hips and everywhere else have perfectly good pregnancies and healthy babies. (I know, I was one of them!) However, you can help make the pregnancy, birth and your post-natal recovery much easier if you are in good shape to start off with. This doesn’t mean rigourous dieting (indeed, cutting out ‘diet’ foods and eating well is important during conception and pregnancy), but instead, getting a little fitter, whatever your size and age. 

It is also worth thinking about your sexual health before you get pregnant, as common sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia can affect your ability to conceive or have a healthy pregnancy, and are easily treated once you are aware of them.

Taking supplements

Research shows that taking a supplement of folic acid every day for at least three months before you get pregnant can help fetal development. 

Know your cycle

For dating purposes when you do get pregnant, it is useful to know how regular your periods are, so make a note of period start dates in your diary if you can, and also try to be aware of how long your periods usually last. It is possible to get pregnant any time in your cycle, but it is most likely in the middle of your cycle. Regular sex, once you start trying, is better than saving up for one big important night each cycle (!), however some women find it helpful to get a better idea of when they are likely to be most fertile. If their partners are away on business a lot, for example.

When you start trying for a baby

If you want to make sure that you are not going to get pregnant too soon, think about when you want to stop using contraception. For most women, it’s a question of coming off the pill. The amount of time you have been on the pill can affect how quickly you get pregnant, but this is not true for everyone. You might want to come off the pill and use condoms for a while before trying, if you feel that completely clearing your system is right for you.

Have sex!

OK that sounds pretty obvious, but it’s important that you and your partner enjoy sex during conception rather than feeling it is a duty, or that the pressure is on.

Eat well and keep calm

There is a lot of information about eating well during pregnancy (cutting out booze, unpasteurised food etc) but eating well when you are trying for a baby can make a difference too, not only for women but for men as well.

Once you have taken the decision to try for a baby, it is hard not to get excited about the thought of getting pregnant straight away. It will take most couples at least six months to get pregnant, so try to chill out about it as much as you can.

Indeed, stress can add to the reasons it takes longer to conceive, so look at our tips on how to relax when trying for a baby and maybe try out a de-stressing regime like reflexology, which can help get you in a better spiritual and physical shape.

How long does it take?

It takes on average six months for a couple having regular sex to get pregnant, even when there are no medical concerns. However, ‘How long does it take?’ is a question most couples will ask.

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If you have been trying for 12 months or more it still does not necessarily mean you have fertility issues to worry about, but you can start exploring possible reasons why there might be a barrier to successful conception.

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