Engaging in regular, unprotected sex is the first step in how to get pregnant. That is the easy part! However, if you are struggling to conceive, there’s a lot more to getting pregnant.
According to current research for couples engaging in regular unprotected sex:
35% of couples will fall pregnant within 3 months
65% of couples will be pregnant within 6 months, and
85% of couples will be pregnant within 12 months.
For some couples it is really easy to get pregnant. However, for 1 in 6 couples getting pregnant it’s a lot more difficult. Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant for 1 year without contraception. Learning how to optimise your chances of getting pregnant, can make a huge difference if you’ve had trouble getting pregnant thus far.
Most couples will begin by going to see their GP. However, GPs are generally not trained in fertility beyond sending you for blood tests and may send you off to a fertility specialist.
There are a number of other things you can do to prepare for pregnancy.
1. Get to know your menstrual cycle
There are 4 phases in the menstrual cycle, and each phase has a function. Being aware and educating yourself about your cycle, can empower you with knowledge, so if there is a problem, you can do something about it or seek the right help.
One way of tracking your menstrual cycle is by BBT charting.
The BBT chart gives us information about our entire menstrual cycle. The chart shows the different phases of the menstrual cycle. Our body temperature changes according to the hormones that are secreted in our body. It tells us if the phases are at their optimal length for fertility, or not. It can show us what aspects of our menstrual cycle are in balance or whether there is a need to help regulate the cycle and balance the hormones.
Hormonal imbalance is often blamed for issues in becoming pregnant. If hormones are out of balance, your menstrual cycle may not be regular, or the luteal or follicular phase may be too long or too short. This can all affect your chances of falling pregnant.
However, what also needs to be considered is why the hormones are out of balance! For example – Is your body receiving enough nutrition? Are you eating whole foods – fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains and healthy proteins? Can you digest these foods? We consider many factors of hormonal imbalance in our course, Get Your Body Baby Ready, The Intensive Masterclass.
2. Know your fertile window
Your fertile window is from about 5 days prior to ovulation. This is when you might notice fertile mucus which is like egg white. You may find you have an increase in your libido or a general feeling of wetness. The fertile mucus actual helps sperm enter into your reproductive tract. It’s the only time your cervix is open to sperm. Sperm can stay alive for approximately 5 days and will be waiting in your fallopian tubes for ovulation. When the sperm meets the egg, fertilisation can occur.
Women ovulate at different times. This is why understanding and tracking your cycle matters and the BBT chart is one of the best tools to track your cycle. Many women use ovulation tests to track ovulation. These strips measure LH – luteinising hormone which surges just before ovulation. However, these ovulation tests aren’t always accurate, especially if you suffer from polycystic ovaries. This is why I recommend BBT charting, and it also tells you so much more about your menstrual cycle.
3. Ensure your ferritin levels are high enough
This might sound random, however women that have low ferritin levels may not ovulate. By ensuring you have enough ferritin might be the difference between ovulating and not ovulating – the difference between being pregnant and not pregnant.
Iron levels are an important factor when wondering how to get pregnant. Ferritin levels tell you about your iron store levels.
There have been studies that show women with a low level of iron, do not ovulate. Some women with low ferritin levels can improve iron levels through diet, iron tablets or if it’s very low, with an iron infusion. If your ferritin is very low, you can improve your chances of falling pregnant by increasing your ferritin levels. Your GP can test your iron levels and many offer iron infusions as well.
4. Check sperm quantity and quality
To conceive naturally, your partner’s sperm should have the values listed below.
Normal sperm count values:
- greater than 20 million sperm per ml
- greater than 50% of sperm moving vigorously (motility)
- greater than 14 % with no deformities (morphology).
A population study looking at men’s fertility found that those men that succeeded in fathering a child had:
- greater than 48 million sperm per ml
- a motility of more than 63%
- a normal morphology of 12%
If you look at a sperm test, you will notice that these values are different to what is considered normal on a typical sperm test. For example, morphology which is the shape and structure of the sperm, is normal at 4%. That is 8% below of what is needed to conceive naturally.
I would like to clarify that this study looked at the sperm values that ended up fathering a child naturally.
There are many things that can be done to improve sperm. This includes a healthy diet, no smoking, no alcohol, herbal medicine, acupuncture, changing to natural personal care products and removing chemicals from the household (this includes plastics). This is very important as your husband/partner also needs to be on board with improving his health and sperm.
We’ve covered four important factors to consider if you want to get pregnant, especially if you’ve been trying to conceive for a long time.
If you’d like to learnt more about how to get pregnant, download our FREE guide – 5 Fertility Secrets For A Successful Pregnancy.