Research shows that women who want to get pregnant should work on lowering their stress levels as this, along with a healthy diet and exercise, has been shown to boost fertility by up to 80%.
‘I see so many couples who are too tired most of the time to have enough sex to conceive, or have only got time to have sex around ovulation and might not always get this right,’ says Dr Marilyn Glenville, a nutritional therapist and author of Natural Solutions To Infertility (£12.99, Piatkus).
Take a holiday
‘On holiday you’re less stressed, which is why you often hear of couples getting pregnant at this time. Stress increases the hormone prolactin in women and this can reduce fertility by stopping the egg maturing properly, while in men it affects the sperm’s ability to swim,’ says Dr Glenville.
Make the most of your time off by doing things together you both enjoy. Lazy lunches, romantic evenings out, a stroll along the beach or through the town will all help you chill out, relax and get pregnant!
Studies show couples who stop drinking in the four months leading up to trying for a baby get pregnant more quickly. In women, alcohol can reduce fertility by upsetting the hormone balance, making it harder to absorb nutrients from food, and in men it can affect sperm production.
‘Alcohol is a toxin, so ditch it, even if you’re on holiday,’ says Dr Glenville.
Foods for fertility
Fertility is a ‘whole-body’ event says midwife and natural fertility specialist Zita West, author of Zita West’s Guide To Getting Pregnant (£14.99, HarperThorsons). ‘Eat a mix of protein and carbs and lots of fruit and veg,’ she says.
‘Avoid low-fat diet foods as these tend to be full of artificial chemicals and instead have small amounts of “real” foods, like butter, not margarine.’
‘Men and women should eat lots of fish and nuts as these are rich in zinc, which is important for fertility,’ says Dr Glenville. ‘Stick to organic food if possible as substances in pesticides could affect fertility.’
Stub out the cigarettes
You may be planning to give up when you’re pregnant, but smoking could prevent you from getting pregnant. ‘If you smoke you’re twice as likely to have fertility problems,’ says Zita. Men who smoke have a lower sperm count and a higher number of poorly formed sperm, plus it stops them swimming normally – so get him to quit, too.
- For advice and support on giving up smoking call Quitline on 0800 002200.
Have sex for fun
There’s a lot of pressure on if you are trying to time sex with your most fertile periods. Why not stop worrying about the timing for a bit and simply enjoy being together?
You can use an ovulation predictor kit to find out when your fertile window is, or check your cervical mucus – on fertile days it’s clear, slippery and stretchy.
‘I often tell couples to go and make love for fun for a few months,’ says Professor Lesley Regan, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology.
Keep him cool
It is no myth that men trying for a baby should wear boxers, not briefs. ‘Men’s genitals need to be kept cool for optimum sperm quality,’ says Dr Glenville. So get him out of his jeans and into loose shorts.
Get off your bike
If your partner is a keen cyclist he should ease up. A study of mountain bikers found sperm abnormalities due to reduced blood flow to their bits, reducing your chances of getting pregnant. ‘Long-distance cycling is the worst as it builds up heat in his testes,’ says Zita. Swimming is a good alternative.
For more information about boosting your fertility and getting pregnant, visit netdoctor.co.uk