How to relax when trying to conceive

It sounds like a cliche but it can really help to develop your relaxation and coping methods when you're trying to conceive.

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It is hard to accept someone’s advice to ‘relax’ when you’re trying for a baby. In the first two months, there’s the buzz of doing something different (perhaps the condoms are off for the first time since you met your partner!), and then as the months go by, excitement is replaced with a nagging question, “What if pregnancy’s just not for us?”

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However, you should let the facts sink in first of all. There’s no easy answer about how long it takes to conceive. Only about 20% of couples trying for a baby hit the jackpot in the first month and it will take most couples over six months to get pregnant. Even without any medical issues, it can take a problem-free couple up to two years. So whilst it’s frustrating to have to resist buying the bootees for a while, try to find ways to keep yourself in good spirits rather than feeling stressed, as this could effect your chances of conception.

Relaxation exercises

Many doctors suggest trying out a short, simple routine each day when you give yourself space and time to sit and ‘meditate’ on something or somewhere you find relaxing.

Decide on a time in your day or evening when you can pretty much get into a regular habit of finding a quiet space (don’t give yourself a hard time if there are one or two days a week when it’s just not possible). If you enjoy them, burn a candle and let your body soak in its scent. Sit or lie down, whichever you prefer. Close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing, taking in deep breaths and enjoying feeling the release through your whole body. Then try to visualise something you enjoy. Whether it is the sea, a field, a place from your childhood, a fantasy place you’ve never been to – make sure it’s something you can picture so you can really concentrate on it.

Try to give yourself some decent time doing this as close to daily as possible. Try to give yourself at least 15 minutes or longer if you can.

When you’ve got into the swing of it, you might find it’s easy to use this visualisation and relaxation at other times in your day, too. You will find it quite easy to ‘dip into’ when you’re on the train, in the bath, evening waiting at the post office.

Of course the ultimate relaxation is to take a holiday while you’re trying to get pregnant.

Yoga and massage

Yoga is a great way to tone your body and get yourself feeling great inside and out, and can help with methods of meditation.

If you’re trying for a baby there’s a chance you might already be pregnant. Many forms of yoga are not at all extreme, but try to find a class where you can discreetly tell the instructor that you are trying for a baby or that you might be pregnant.

You can do yoga at home on your own, but to get more out of it physically and spiritually, it can be useful to attend some classes first.

Massage is excellent ‘you’ time, and an aromatherapy massage is ideal. If you’re having one of these, make sure you tell the therapist that you’re trying for a baby and might be pregnant, so pregnancy-safe oils and practices can be followed

Declutter your life

Okay, that sounds like a Living TV show, but it can help to just stop and take stock of what your daily routines are.

Think about the things in your life which you enjoy and the things which you need to do. Then think about the day to day running of those needs and pleasures and try to balance out the habits or routines which you find stressful with some of the things you really love.

I had a friend at work once who made a New Year’s resolution to stop drinking after work so much. We had a very social office and if was enjoyable to meet up after the day, but it became too easy to do that most nights instead of making time for non-work friends and for being at home (there’s a lot to be said for mooching at home!). It meant that when we did all go out after work, we weren’t just using that time as a talking shop for office gripes, and instead we enjoyed those evenings more, too.

Try to box off the things you know you need to do but are chores. No matter how big or small, allocate them a time in your schedule and then don’t think about them before or after, which could affect your enjoyment of other moments.

Seek inspiration

In Mary Kittel’s book, Stay Fertile Longer, she makes reference to Dr Alice Domar, who has done a lot of work on state of mind and fertility. You can find out more about her ideas and practice by visiting www.domarcenter.com.

Share your feelings

This might all sound a little too hippy, to you, but sharing your feelings really does help.

Talking with your partner is great, but everyone appreciates that sometimes this can feel a little awkward as it might seem accusing if you want to strike up a conversation about why it’s taking a while to get pregnant. Only a third of conception problems start with the woman and a third with the man, the rest can be any number of other reasons, so it’s important not to judge each other.

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Using the MadeForMums forum is a great way to express your feelings and you don’t have to give your real name, just a nickname. It’s totally understandable why many women don’t want the world to know they are trying for a baby as this piles on more pressure. But getting feelings, questions and concerns off your chest will really help you.

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