Although some couples take a more relaxed approach to baby-making and leave their conceiving chances in Mother Nature’s hands, this is not always the best way to get pregnant – especially if you have fertility problems to contend with. Conceiving involves much more than just having frequent sex; your physical health, the foods you eat, and medicine you take all play a role in your chances of getting pregnant. And if you think that IVF is your only solution to infertility, think again; maybe a few lifestyle changes or vitamins is all you really need to boost your fertility. There are so many ways to beat the odds and get pregnant now; you’re probably getting dizzy just thinking about the possibilities! So we’ve narrowed down your options to a comprehensive list of 101 do’s and don’ts to help start you on the path to overcoming infertility and getting pregnant.
1 – Do have sex
This may sound like the most obvious tip, but you’d be surprised by how couples neglect to have sex regularly when they’re trying to conceive. Couples were previously told to have sex every other day during the woman’s most fertile days, but current research shows that your chances of conceiving improve when you have sex once every day four to five days before ovulation (assuming that the man’s sperm is okay). If the man has low sperm count (oligospermia), once every other day is fine.
2 – Do have sex in the morning
Try to sneak in a quickie before you get up and go to work – morning sex is the most ideal time for conceiving. Just as chemicals accumulate in urine when we sleep, so does a man’s sperm count increase throughout the night. It might be a bit more difficult to get in the mood first thing in the morning, so get extra sleep the night before and set the alarm an hour earlier than you usually do.
3 – Do take Robitussin, especially if using Clomid
Taking a cough syrup together with Clomid may sound like a strange recipe for fertility, but it can work. Studies show that Robitussin’s active ingredient guaifenesin can improve the quality of your cervical mucus. Choose the plain Robitussin as other versions with decongestants may actually dry up cervical mucus. The ideal dose is around2 teaspoons (200mg) a day.
4 – Do use castor oil packs
A castor oil pack is an absorbent cloth soaked in castor oil. According to naturopathic healers, applying a castor oil pack on the lower abdomen can improve blood flow to the uterus, thereby increasing fertility. For best results, cover the castor oil pack with cling-wrap, and then place a hot water bottle over the plastic to heat the pack.
5 – Do take folic acid to boost fertility
Folic acid is necessary to prevent neural tube defects, miscarriage, and stillborn births. Folic acid also synthesizes genetic material in cells, helps produce blood cells, and stimulates the production of serotonin, the brain chemical responsible for happy feelings. The recommended daily allowance is 400 mcg. A recent study by Harvard School of Public Health has also shown that taking folic acid increases pregnancy rates.
6 – Do self-fertility massage
A well-done massage not only relaxes and soothes; it can provide healing properties too! During your down time, perform a self-fertility massage to improve your fertility. A self-fertility massage is designed to increase blood circulation to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It also stimulates the pituitary gland and promotes hormonal balance. You don’t have to be a trained massage therapist to do a self-fertility massage; you can easily learn these techniques from a book or DVD.
7 – Do take royal jelly to improve egg quality
Royal jelly is the creamy white substance secreted by young worker bees to nourish bee larvae and the future queen bee. It is rich in sugars, amino acids, vitamins, and proteins – all essential to support egg health. Take a royal jelly supplement to boost egg quality, or better yet, use organic personal care products with royal jelly as the main ingredient.
8 – Do limit or quit drinking to improve conception chances
Think twice about taking that nightcap! Researchers from Maryland discovered that alcohol consumption can reduce a woman’s fertility by 50%. Alcohol can disrupt the delicate balance required for a healthy menstrual cycle, leading to irregular periods and anovulation (a cycle where your ovaries fail to release an egg). The infertility risk is just as high for women who are social drinkers. According to a study in the British Medical Journal, women who drink 1-5 drinks a week are at risk of decreased fertility as compared to women who do not drink. Limit your drinks to at least once a week or better yet, quit drinking altogether.
9 – Do ask your partner to limit or quit drinking
While you’re cutting down on your alcohol consumption, you might as well ask your partner to do the same. Males are just as likely to suffer from decreased fertility when they drink – alcohol has a negative on sperm quantity and quality. The same study in the British medical Journal found out that men who drink alcohol regularly have 50% fewer sperm than men who do not. Alcohol also inhibits the autonomic system of the central nervous system, which controls the mechanism for erection and ejaculation. In other words, alcohol impairs a man’s ability to have sex by preventing an erection. The good news is that these effects are only temporary, and that normal sperm production resumes once a man abstains from alcohol.
10 – Do quit smoking
Smoking’s ill effects on your health go beyond lung cancer; it also affects your blood vessels, heart, and fertility. A recent report in the British Medical Journal shows that smoking can damage the ovaries, and increase the risk of miscarriage and cervical cancer. Research also shows that a chemical in cigarette smoke called PAH binds to the receptors in the ovaries, telling it to stop the production of mature eggs. In other words, smoking can interfere with the maturation of eggs and even prevent ovulation, which has obvious consequences for your fertility. Scientists believe that this effect is why female smokers are more likely to experience early menopause. Finally, your baby can absorb the chemicals in cigarette smoke even if you quit months before. If it is possible, quit a year before you decide to conceive.
11 – Do ask your partner to quit smoking
Smoking can impair your partner’s fertility too. Male smokers have been found to have lower sperm count than men who do not smoke. Cigarette smoke can also damage the blood vessels, which has an indirect effect on male fertility. In order to develop and maintain an erection, the body needs healthy veins that lead to the penis. Diseased veins of chronic smokers result in low blood flow, causing ineffective and weak erections.
12 – Do get light therapy to balance your circadian rhythms
Before electricity was invented, women’s menstrual cycles were triggered by the subtle changes in moonlight. This natural synchronization was lost as we became more dependent on artificial light. Current research from the University of California San Diego Sleep Center shows that light therapy can make irregular menstrual cycles more regular by increasing the production of melatonin, the hormone-like substance that regulates your circadian rhythm or internal body clock. Melatonin also governs the production and release of sex hormones, thereby creating the hormonal balance required for optimal fertility.
13 – Don’t wait to start fertility testing
Most couples delay fertility testing until months of trying to conceive yield no results. Don’t make this mistake! Start fertility testing as soon as you decide to have children so that you can correct any medical problems or lifestyle habits that affect your fertility.
14 – Don’t do drugs
Like alcohol and tobacco, recreational drugs like marijuana can lower your chances of conceiving. Marijuana upsets the delicate balance required for ovulation and a regular menstrual cycle. The THC in marijuana also makes its way to the vaginal fluid, which makes sperm swim too fast, causing them to burn out and die before reaching the egg. Other drugs like cocaine can also damage your tissues and blood vessels, reducing the blood supply to your baby if you do conceive. The good news is that your fertility will return as soon as you stop using these substances.
15 – Do ask your partner not to do drugs
Just as marijuana smoking affects sperm motility (movement) in the womb, so can it produce unhealthy sperm. A study from the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences discovered that the sperm from marijuana smokers display abnormal swimming patterns that prevent them from reaching the egg. The sperm that do reach the egg have the reduced ability to attach to the egg before penetrating it. Marijuana smokers were also found to have lower sperm count than men who do not smoke. Don’t sign up for any expensive fertility treatments if you don’t plan on keeping off the grass soon. THC remains in the fat for a long period of time, and it may take a while for its effects on your fertility to wear off.
16 – Do yoga
Exercise is good for fertility, but yoga is probably the best way to stay fit. It’s a gentle form of exercise that won’t place too much strain on your body. In fact, the practice itself is relaxing and can help you cope with stress. Yoga can also improve your general reproductive health – the poses can strengthen the muscles that support your reproductive organs, providing better blood circulation. If you’re taking fertility drugs, the breathing exercises of yoga can fight off its toxic side effects. The best part about yoga is that you don’t have to go to a studio to enjoy its benefits; purchasing a DVD and practicing the poses in your living room should do the trick.
17 – Do watch your weight
According to the ASRM, 12% of infertility cases are due to women weighing too much or weighing too little. Estrogen is produced within fat cells and a woman with too much body fat also produces too much sex hormones. In response, the body puts itself on natural birth control, thereby limiting the odds of conceiving. A woman with too little body fat has difficulty producing enough estrogen required for a regular reproductive cycle. So make sure you stay within the ideal weight for your height.
18 – Don’t do pilates when you are trying to conceive
Yoga might improve the mind-body connection and set the stage for fertility, but pilates might not. While it provides a good workout and relaxes your mind, pilates also puts too much strain on the reproductive organs, upsetting the balance needed for conception.
19 – Don’t do ibuprofen
If you are timing intercourse according to your fertile days, avoid non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen. A double-blind study in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology shows that women who took NSAIDs mid-cycle experienced delayed ovulation by five days. Other smaller studies suggest that NSAID use can interfere with proper implantation. Instead of taking Advil, use common herbs that decrease inflammation naturally, such as turmeric and ginger.
20 – Don’t take acetaminophen
Another over-the-counter drug you need to stay away from is acetaminophen or Tylenol. This drug can lower the amount of luteinizing hormone and estrogen produced by the body, which can temporarily impair your fertility.
21 – Do take nitric oxide
Make sure your multivitamin supplements include nitric oxide. A new animal study published in the journal Biochemistry shows that consuming nitric oxide was able to delay the signs of aging in mice eggs. Like eggs in women older than 40, these deteriorate faster and are less able to fertilize properly. Make sure your partner stays away from this chemical though – an Iranian study discovered that high levels of nitric oxide have a negative impact on sperm motility, metabolism, and viability.
22 – Don’t think having an orgasm will help you get pregnant
Men need to orgasm for a pregnancy to occur, but the female orgasm doesn’t do much in the way of increasing the odds. Even though the cervix and vagina contracts during orgasm, it doesn’t make the sperm reach the egg any faster nor does it aid in fertilization. This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy sex – by all means, orgasm! Just don’t develop any false hopes about increased chances of conceiving after having an orgasm or two.
23 – Do look into getting an IVF scholarship
The cost of IVF may be beyond your budget, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get it cheaper! Start finding an IVF scholarship as early as now. Many non-profit organizations subsidize IVF treatments of deserving couples if your application is compelling enough. Although most scholarships do not cover the cost of fertility drugs and you might have to do some PR work when you get pregnant, it’s still better than paying $12,000 right out of your savings.
24 – Do get genetic testing, especially if you have had recurring miscarriages
It might cost a lot, but in the long run, getting a genetic test for any chromosomal disorders can help you get pregnant faster, especially if you’re doing IVF. Up to 60% of unexplained miscarriages are actually caused by undiagnosed chromosomal abnormalities, and this risk increases with age. A test called preimplantation genetic diagnosis can be used to screen healthy embryos from those who carry the abnormal chromosomes. This will greatly reduce the risk of miscarriage and increase the chances of birthing a child with no birth defects and mental disability caused by imbalanced chromosomes.
25 – Do beware of early menopause and get treatment if you suspect it
Did you know that it’s common for women in their 30s and 40s to suffer from early menopause? If you’ve been experiencing irregular periods, periods that are lighter or heavier than usual, and hot flashes, you should get tested and treated so you can make the most out of your remaining fertility. Menopause only affects ovaries, not the uterus; this means you can still have a chance to get pregnant using donated eggs or embryos if your own eggs are no longer viable.
26 – Don’t think using an ice pack on your partner’s genitals will help you get pregnant
If hot tubs, saunas, and laptops can decrease male fertility, won’t it make sense for ice packs to improve sperm production? Not exactly. A man’s testicles are located exactly where they should be, temperature-wise. They will naturally rise and fall closer or further from the body to make sure that they are at the right temperature. So don’t think that applying a cold compress on your partner’s testicles can improve your chances of getting pregnant. If temperature is truly a concern, just ask him to wear boxers and loose pants.
27 – Do use progesterone cream
If you have a history or are at risk of miscarriage, you are likely to be deficient in the hormone progesterone. Progesterone sets the conditions for conceiving – after ovulation, progesterone creates the changes in cervical mucus and makes it more sperm-friendly. Progesterone also prepares the rich endometrium lining for the implantation of the fertilized egg, and sustains it once the egg has implanted. Natural progesterone cream can prevent the early shedding of the endometrium lining caused by the drop in progesterone levels. If your doctor has diagnosed you with a progesterone deficiency, you should start using natural progesterone cream once you ovulate.
28 – Do go to the chiropractor to boost your chance of conceiving
Don’t lose hope if conventional fertility treatments have failed you. Maybe all you need is a different approach to your problem. Consider seeing a chiropractor and getting the subluxations of your spine realigned. You might be wondering – what does the spine have to do with my fertility problem? The thing is, the spine contains thousands of nerve endings that affect your nervous system and how it communicates with your nervous system. For instance, the nervous system is responsible for ovulation and for the release of hormones. If the nerves are misaligned, the nervous system cannot produce a regular cycle and infertility can occur. Many studies published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research suggest that chiropractic work can improve or restore fertility in women.
29 – Do see a naturopathic doctor
Another alternative health care practitioner you can consult is a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic medicine enhances the body’s natural ability to heal itself by finding the environmental causes of your infertility and treating it with herbs, lifestyle interventions, and other natural means. Compared to IVF, treating your fertility problems with naturopathic medicine is cheaper and improves your overall well-being. You can also use naturopathic medicine to enhance the success of IVF and other medical fertility treatments.
30 – Do get support
Infertility is a highly personal battle. Even with your partner’s support and encouragement, this battle can take its toll on you and your relationship. Do get support or join a support group, especially when you are faced with difficult decisions, when you are choosing an infertility treatment, or when dealing with a loss or failed cycle. Support reduces stress which is a good thing for conception.
31 – Do get a massage
While you can easily perform a fertility massage on yourself, nothing beats the relaxing power of a full-body massage at the spa. It might not improve your fertility per se, but it sure will melt the stress away. And as you already know, stress contributes to infertility. So clear out your schedule for an afternoon and head to the nearest spa. You deserve a break!
32 – Do take alfalfa
Although alfalfa is not a home remedy for infertility, it contains high concentrations of plant estrogens, which is important if your estrogen levels tend to fluctuate. Plant estrogens are safer than synthetic estrogens because they help when estrogen is low, but do not cause the damage of excess estrogen. You can take alfalfa as a supplement, or add sprouts to your salad.
33 – Don’t take St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort may be a popular alternative to anti-depressant medication, but you might want to stop taking them if you are trying to conceive. A study at the Loma Linda University School of Medicine discovered that at high doses, St. John’s Wort damaged the DNA of eggs and sperm, making them too unhealthy to form an embryo. Talk with your doctor and find a safe way to alleviate your depression while you are trying to conceive.
34 – Don’t wait until you are over 40
Shocking stories of menopause babies might have given you the impression that it’s okay to put off conceiving until you are over 40. The truth is that menopause babies are the exception rather than the rule. Although it can be done and there are things to do that may increase your chances, it gets much more difficult to get pregnant – ovarian stores are lower and eggs are less capable of fertilizing well as the biological clock ticks. Bottom line: there is no such thing as the “right time” to have a baby. Don’t put pregnancy off while your fertility is still in good shape.
35 – Don’t think having sex on day 14 of your cycle will help you get pregnant
Articles on the Internet probably told you that the 14th day of your cycle is the best day to have sex because this is around the time you start ovulating. This piece of advice is based on the premise that you have a 28-day cycle that occurs like clockwork. However, the 28-day cycle is actually not as common as you think. Every woman has a different cycle length, which means women ovulate at different times. So how will you know when the best time to have sex is?
36 – Do chart your basal body temperature
Start charting your basal body temperature as soon as you make the decision to get pregnant. Your basal body temperature will let you know when you’re about to ovulate and when you have already ovulated, as indicated by the rise in your basal (resting) temperature. All you need is a basal thermometer from a drug store and a basal body chart, which you can download free from our website. Take your basal temperature first thing in the morning, before you get up and make coffee. Then plot your temperature on the graph. What you are looking for is an increase of at least 4 degrees Farenheit over a period of 48 hours. This indicates ovulation. Of course, your basal temperature is influenced by a lot of factors –a fever, the number of hours you slept, or whether or not you drank alcohol the night before. Another limitation is that your basal body temperature indicates ovulation after it already happened; it’s not very helpful for deciding when the best days to have sex are. For that, you need to track your cervical mucus too.
37 – Do track your cervical mucus
As you get closer to ovulation, the progesterone in your body transforms your cervical mucus from a sperm-hostile kind to a consistency that allows the sperm to swim to the egg. Immediately after ovulation, the cervical mucus becomes less fertile. Every woman’s body is different but generally, cervical mucus starts out dry, then creamy, until it reaches the consistency of raw egg white. This is when you are most fertile and the best time to have sex. You can check your cervical mucus by inserting a finger inside your vagina then pulling it out. Observe the consistency of the mucus you find by rolling it between your index finger and thumb. If the cervical mucus is wet, watery, and stretchy, free up your schedule for some baby-making sex.
38 – Do check your cervical position to improve conception odds
There’s a third sign that indicates fertility, and this is your cervical position. While your cervical position is harder to determine accurately, it’s a surer sign of ovulation than your cervical mucus and basal body temperature. It can also help you determine if you are pregnant or not. At the start of the menstrual cycle, the cervix is low, hard, and more open to release the blood. At this point, the cervix feels like the tip of your nose. Once the bleeding stops, the cervix stays low and hard, and the uterine opening is closed. As you approach ovulation, the cervix rises to the top of the vagina and becomes softer. During ovulation, the cervix feels more like your lips than the nose. Before ovulation itself, you might feel as if your cervix has disappeared. This is because the cervix has blended in with the vaginal walls and rose so high that a finger cannot reach it. When your cervix is soft, high, open, and wet, this is when you are at your most fertile.
39 – Do stay together
Since it’s difficult to predict exactly when you’ll be ovulating, it’s important that you and your partner stay together while you are trying to conceive. If one of you takes extended time apart for a business trip, you might end up missing the fertile window of opportunity. Find ways to get alone time as your ovulation date draws near.
40 – Don’t use aloe
Nothing relieves sunburn better than aloe vera, but this spiny plant may actually pose problems as soon as you are pregnant. Some studies indicate that the purgative effects of the aloe plant might induce abortion. Although aloe vera can alleviate some fertility problems, do not take it after you ovulate or after your embryo transfer.
41 – Do get a male fertility test
Approximately 25% of all cases of infertility is caused by a problem with sperm production, while 40-50% of couples experience sperm problems as a main cause or contributing cause of infertility. When you decide to get tested for infertility, the male should take a semen analysis before the woman gets tested. It’s cheaper, it’s easier to perform than fertility tests for women, and discovering male fertility problems right away could mean immediate treatment and a successful pregnancy.
42 – Do use an ovulation predictor kit
While they’re expensive to use on a regular basis, ovulation predictor kits (OPKs) can be very helpful for scheduling some baby-making time. An OPK is a urine test that detects the luteinizing hormone, which peaks just before ovulation. The OPK will help you determine when this surge will occur and help you decide the best time for sex. Of course, an OPK is not without inaccurate readings; for instance, LH levels can surge regardless of whether or not an egg is released. Make sure you follow the directions to the letter when you use an OPK.
43 – Do try reiki therapy
Aside from yoga, another ancient healing approach that can increase the likelihood of getting pregnant is called reiki therapy, a hands-on method that channels positive energy to your body to improve your overall health. Reiki therapy has been used for many disorders; including those experiencing fertility problems who have got the treatment and have been able to minimize conditions that prevented them from getting pregnant.
44 – Do drink green tea
Cutting down on caffeine is one of the keys to boosting fertility, but if you really need caffeine to get you out of bed in the morning, get it from green tea. Unlike other caffeinated drinks, which have refined sugar and artificial additives, green tea contains healthy antioxidants. A study done by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program also shows that women who drank more than half a cup of green tea daily had an easier time conceiving. The researchers believe that the anti-oxidant compounds in green tea contribute to the production of mature eggs and viable embryos.
45 – Do eat pineapple during the luteal phase
Pineapples contain a nutrient called bromelain which can assist in successful embryo implantation. A glass of pure pineapple juice a day should do the trick, but avoid it after ovulation or embryo transfer. Pineapple is said to cause uterine contractions that can cause miscarriage.
46 – Don’t think standing on your head after sex will help you get pregnant
While certain sex positions can bring the sperm right into your cervix, standing on your head after sex will not help you get pregnant. The sperm will swim towards the egg whether you stand on your head, jump on your bed, or stay lying down. Not to mention that you’ll look rather silly doing so!
47 – Don’t eat too much sugar
There’s a strong connection between fertility and the food you eat. Your body uses the nutrients from your food (or your supplements) to repair cells, release hormones, and create healthy eggs and sperm. If you eat too much sugar and your blood glucose levels shoot up, the reproductive hormones that govern your cycle will not work properly, reducing your chances of getting pregnant. Aside from that, refined sugar from processed foods consumes the nutrients in your body so they can get converted into energy. I’m not saying avoid sugar completely – just limit your sugar intake to natural sources like molasses.
48 – Don’t eat refined carbohydrates
Like sugar, refined carbohydrates in pasta, bread, and baked goods can make your glucose levels rise, which will also cause insulin levels to rise. This can disrupts ovulation and limit your chances of conceiving. Obtain your carbohydrates from slow-releasing carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
49 – Do take licorice root
Herbs like licorice root can help you get pregnant by moderating your estrogen levels, balancing your blood sugar levels, and treating irregular cycles due to PCOS. But you might want to look for a different herbal remedy if you are at risk for high blood pressure. Licorice root also contains glycyrrhizin acid, a chemical with a similar structure to the hormone aldosterone. This can make your body retain sodium and lose potassium, which will cause your blood pressure to rise.
50 – Do be careful about eating wheat to improve conceiving chances
The bowl of cereal you had for breakfast could be the reason why you can’t get pregnant. Cereal is made of wheat, which contains a protein called gluten. One out of every 100 healthy Americans has difficulty digesting gluten; in its undigested form, gluten attacks the walls of the small intestines and prevents it from absorbing nutrients. This condition is called Celiac Disease. According to researchers from the University of Chicago, any woman who experiences persistent infertility and recurring miscarriages should be tested for celiac disease and go on a gluten-free diet. While you don’t have to get tested for celiac disease, try cutting down on your wheat intake and see if this helps.
51 – Don’t think eating ice cream will help you get pregnant as is popularly written about on the Internet
A tub of ice cream may be comforting during trying times, but eating ice cream won’t help you get pregnant. In fact, it might even lower the chances of conceiving. Although full fat milk can help overcome ovarian infertility, Harvard University’s Nurses’ Health Study discovered that ice cream’s sugar content can upset your insulin levels, which is detrimental to your fertility. Instead of ice cream, switch to less sugary sources of full fat dairy like (unsweetened) yogurt or cottage cheese.
52 – Don’t exercise too much
While exercise can improve your physical and emotional well-being, make sure you don’t exercise too much. Together with a low-calorie diet, too much exercise can decrease your body fat level, which can upset your body’s production of estrogen. This will cause a seemingly normal cycle without ovulation, irregular periods, or no menstruation at all. Working out too much will also put your body under stress, which automatically lowers your fertility. Thirty minutes of cardio a day should be enough to meet your fitness needs while preserving your fertility.
53 – Don’t be a couch potato
On the other hand, try not to be a couch potato. Remember – your body weight has to be proportional to your height for optimum fertility. Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight, and make sure you eat enough calories to make up for the energy you burn.
54 – Don’t use over-the-counter lubricants
Trying to conceive might make sex less exciting than it used to be, but don’t use over-the-counter lubricants to spice things up, even if it doesn’t contain spermicide. Lubricant itself is already a spermicide. You see, sperm require an alkaline environment (with at least a pH level of 7) in order to survive long enough to reach the egg. Lubricants are very acidic and can make the environment in the cervix hostile to sperm, killing them as they are released.
55 – Don’t use saliva as lubricant
Saliva doesn’t make a more sperm-friendly lubricant either. Its digestive enzymes affect sperm motility and cause them to wriggle uncontrollably, burning them out and killing them before they can reach the egg.
56 – Don’t use water as lubricant
Aside from being a poor lubricant, water gets easily absorbed into the sperm, which makes them swell until they burst.
57 – Do use Pre-Seed to improve conceiving chances
Don’t lose hope – there is such a thing as a lubricant that won’t kill off sperm! Pre-Seed was developed by a doctor from the Washington State University in order to make sex more enjoyable to couples trying to conceive. This product contains the right pH levels required to help healthy sperm survive the journey to the egg. Although Pre-Seed won’t increase the chances of conceiving per se, it provides a solution to vaginal dryness without damaging sperm.
58 – Do take red raspberry
Red raspberry leaf is used to prevent complications in pregnancy and promote an easy birth, but many women also take it to produce a thick endometrium lining for implantation. You can take it as a tea by pouring a cup of boiling hot water over 2 teaspoons of the dried leaves. Steep it for ten minutes then add honey to taste. Unlike many fertility herbs, red raspberry leaf is quite pleasant to drink. If you are undergoing IVF, consult your doctor before taking red raspberry leaf (or any other herb).
59 – Don’t eat cinnamon
While cinnamon can prevent your body from being sensitive to the effects of insulin, large quantities are thought to cause early miscarriage. A little cinnamon on your bread or hot chocolate is fine, but make sure you only eat it in very small amounts after you ovulate.
60 – Do spend time in the sunlight
Slather on some sunscreen and spend more time under the sun! A study from Yale University School of Medicine found a relationship between low amounts of vitamin D and ovulatory infertility. Vitamin D deficiency can be a serious problem during winter, when the body has little natural exposure to sunlight, so consider taking supplements during this time of the year.
61 – Do stop birth control ASAP
Although it’s possible for a woman to get pregnant two weeks after getting off the pill, it’s best to stop birth control as soon as you decide you want a baby. The birth control pill prevents pregnancy by using synthetic hormones to stop ovulation and it may take some time for the excess hormones to leave your body. Although every woman’s body is different, the average woman’s reproductive system functions normally two to three months after stopping the pill. Of course, if you had problems with irregular periods or ovulation before you got on the pill, the same issue will likely be present after you stop taking it.
62 – Do take horny goat weed to improve male fertility
The aptly-named horny goat weed is a powerful, time-tested aphrodisiac that improves erectile dysfunction problems in men. Horny goat weed is from a plant called epimedium, which grows in high altitudes and contains a variety of polysaccharides, flavonoids, and magnaflorine. Legend has it that horny goat weed was discovered by a farmer who noticed increased virility in his goats when he takes them up a high mountain to graze. You don’t have to chew on a raw leaf in order to obtain the benefits of horny goat weed; this potent herb is readily available in tea and capsule form.
63 – Do meditate
When the stress of work, your daily responsibilities, and trying to conceive starts to overwhelm you, take some time off and meditate. For centuries, meditation techniques have been used to help women prepare their womb and bodies for a baby’s arrival. More importantly, meditation will teach your body and mind to cope with stress; the techniques you learn will help you stay calm even if your journey to fertility presents you with surprising results. If you’ve never meditated in your life, consider purchasing a guided meditation DVD so you can learn the basics of clearing your head, breathing, and self-healing.
64 – Do take baby aspirin
Baby aspirin (or low-dose aspirin) can help you get pregnant, especially if you have a history of recurrent miscarriages. Sometimes miscarriages occur when your body has an extremely high level of antiphospholipid antibodies. This causes your blood to become thicker than normal, increasing the risk of blood clot formation around the placenta, which will deprive your baby of the oxygen and nutrients it needs. Aspirin in small doses can thin out the blood in women who are predisposed to developing blood clots, allowing the blood to travel smoothly through the placenta and reach your baby.
65 – Do avoid saturated fats
Just as the nutrients you consume influence your fertility, so do dietary fats affect your chances of conceiving. Start cutting out saturated fats from your diet. Aside from contributing to body weight leaving less room for healthier types of fat, saturated fats also influence cell function, aggravates inflammation, and hormone secretion. Harvard University’s Nurses’ Health Study discovered that the nurses who ate the most saturated fats also experienced the most fertility problems. So do watch out for these unwanted fats in fast food, fried food, and processed food.
66 – Do go on a “get me pregnant” vacation
When was the last time you and your partner went on a vacation? Perhaps it’s time you used up those vacation leaves and took a “conceptionmoon” together. A study published in Fertility and Sterility shows that couples who are stressed are more likely to have problems conceiving than couples who do not. Vacations will provide the change of pace and scenery that will help you forget about stress and set the mood for some baby-making fun. You don’t even have to go very far or spend a lot of money; just make sure the place you choose will help you unwind and has a nice, comfy bed. Don’t forget to bring out your calendar or use an ovulation predictor kit to figure out when you are most likely to ovulate.
67 – Do get your protein from beans, nuts and legumes
The centerpiece of your dinner plate is probably a hunk of meat. Protein can help you overcome ovulatory infertility, but only if it comes from plant sources rather than meat. The Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who obtained their protein from beef, chicken, and pork are 39% more likely to suffer from ovulation problems than women who depended on beans, nuts, and legumes for their protein. You can reduce your animal protein consumption by replacing it with carbohydrates or a side of beans; the same study showed that replacing 25 grams of meat with 25 grams of plant protein reduced the risk of ovulatory infertility. Consider adding one serving of peas, beans, tofu, peanuts, or soy at every meal too.
68 – Do appeal to a higher power
Early civilizations used to climb mountains or travel long distances so they could pray to deities for improved fertility. While many of us view such rituals as outdated or irrational, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to appeal to a power higher than yourself to help you cope with the hurdles of infertility, and studies have shown that there is power in prayer. Consider attending a worship session, a prayer group, or reciting a prayer for infertility in the privacy of your home. If you are not tied to any certain religion, it still helps relieve stress to be spiritually grounded by something as simple as a belief and ritual based on meditating on respect for the connection of all life. It won’t cost you anything and it might even give you strength to face the trials ahead.
69 – Do get a postcoital test
If you are frustrated by your failed attempts at conceiving, you might want to take a postcoital test to find out what’s wrong. A postcoital test is an examination of your cervical mucus after sex to check for the presence of sperm and to see if they are swimming normally. The test is usually performed a day or two before ovulation – the time when your cervical mucus is most receptive to sperm. Two to eight hours after intercourse, your doctor will collect a sample of your cervical mucus and examine it under a microscope. A postcoital test can detect any immune system problems, mucus problems that affect the sperm, and low sperm count. Make sure you schedule the post-coital test after you ovulate; otherwise, the test results could indicate an abnormality where there isn’t any.
70 – Do get a hysteriosalpingiogram
One of the most important tests that can uncover female fertility problems is a hysterosalpingogram, or the HSG test. This outpatient test is designed to find out if there are any physical impediments that prevent sperm from reaching the egg. During the HSG, a dye will be injected through the vagina, which will then fill up your uterus and fallopian tubes if they are not blocked. This will be viewed through the help of an X-ray photo. Besides blocked fallopian tubes, the HSG can also detect pelvic scar tissue, polyps, fibroid tumors, and any uterine abnormalities that can hinder conception.
71 – Do eat black sesame seeds to help you conceive
According to traditional Chinese medicine, infertility problems are caused by a deficiency in kidney essence. The kidneys are the organs that govern the reproductive system, and this “essence” is the energy that fuels it. You can replenish your kidney essence with foods like black sesame seed. Additionally, avoid strenuous exercise, spicy food, or extreme heat as this will affect the balance of your kidney essence.
72 – Do eat pumpkin seeds
Zinc is an important mineral for creating semen and fertile cervical mucus. Increase you zinc stores by snacking on pumpkin seeds. Besides zinc, pumpkin seeds are rich in the trace mineral selenium, which has potent anti-oxidant properties that can boost fertility.
73 – Don’t take herbs if you are using fertility drugs
Herbs can make it easier to conceive, but stop taking them once you start using fertility drugs. Just like pharmaceutical medications, herbs contain certain components that might cause unwanted chemical reactions if taken together with the active ingredients in fertility drugs. Feel free to take either herbs or drugs, but don’t take both at the same time.
74 – Don’t jump out of bed right after sex
While standing on your head after sex won’t necessarily increase your chances of getting pregnant, don’t let gravity work against the sperm either. Spend at least five minutes lying down in bed after having sex so they can have a chance to swim up to the cervix.
75 – Do take evening primrose oil at the beginning of your cycle
Evening primrose oil has a host of wonderful effects for your health, but the most useful benefit is the way it improves the quality of your cervical mucus. Some women have difficulty conceiving because the quality of their cervical mucus is hostile to sperm. If you take it early enough in your cycle, evening primrose oil can produce the fertile cervical mucus needed for sperm to glide through.
76 – Do get educated about the reproductive system
It won’t help you get pregnant per se, but getting to know the male and female reproductive system will make it easier for you to understand the fertility problems you and your partner might be facing, as well as the treatment options open to you.
77 – Don’t think that “not trying to get pregnant” will help you get pregnant
While you don’t have to spend every second of your day trying to conceive, resisting the urge to have baby-making sex to avoid getting your hopes crushed won’t help. If you do, you might end up missing the small window of fertility that occurs just once in your cycle.
78 – Don’t think that having as much sex as possible will help you get pregnant
Don’t have sex every time you’re alone either! Although frequent sex shouldn’t be a problem if your partner’s sperm count is fine, remember that it takes 90 days for a fresh batch of sperm to mature. The percentage of mature sperm in the semen decreases as your partner ejaculates repeatedly. You might end up wasting the healthy sperms on your non-fertile days if you have sex too often.
79 – Don’t think that saving up sperm by not having sex will help you get pregnant
Avoiding sex won’t help you get pregnant as well. If mature sperm get stored in the testicles for too long, they may end up expiring. Instead, use BBT and track your cervical mucus to determine your ovulation date, then schedule frequent lovemaking sessions around it.
80 – Do get educated about infertility and treatment options
Even if you haven’t made a decision about getting treated for infertility, it’s good to educate yourself about artificial reproductive technologies and treatment options within your budget. If your efforts to conceive naturally don’t yield any results, you may end up finding a use for this information.
81 – Do avoid environmental toxins
The chemicals created by large industries have serious effects on your health and may be responsible for your fertility problems. Pesticides in food have been found to stimulate the production of antibodies that attack sperm in the uterus. Xenoestrogens or foreign estrogens in your personal care products can upset the delicate hormonal balance in your body and cause changes in your cycle. You can avoid environmental toxins by avoiding the dirty dozen – the twelve most contaminated fruits and vegetables – and by using organic personal care products.
82 – Do take vitamin C
The antioxidant qualities of vitamin C are helpful for boosting male fertility. Vitamin C can protect sperm from DNA damage, prevent sperm clumping, and improve sperm motility. Try to keep your vitamin C consumption to under 1,000mg; in higher doses, vitamin C may create acidic cervical mucus.
83 – Do be careful about prescription medications that can interfere with ovulation
Whenever the doctor prescribes a new drug, look at its side effects and check if it will interfere with ovulation. If it does, ask if you can take a different drug that won’t affect your cycle. The last thing you need right now is for your ovulation to get delayed or for ovulation to not happen at all.
84 – Do get treatment for endometriosis
If you have been diagnosed for endometriosis, get it treated ASAP. While this disease is by no means life-threatening, it will cause infertility and it will get worse over time. As long as it remains untreated, new mucus membranes and tissue lesions will form, causing scars that can block sperm.
85 – Do take omega-3 fats to increase your chances of conception
Omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA) are well-known for their heart-healthy benefits, but did you know that they can boost fertility as well? Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce blood clotting and increase blood flow to tissues, including the uterus. EPA and DHA can also reduce the production of immune cells that attack sperm or prevent an embryo from implanting onto the uterus. Finally, omega-3 fats are critical for fetal brain development. Be sure to invest in quality omega-3 fish oils.
86 – Don’t assume that the infertility problem is with the female partner
In the days before science, it was assumed that the inability to get pregnant was the fault of the female. While female reproductive system is more sensitive to hormonal imbalances caused by environmental factors, most couples trying to conceive have male factor infertility to deal with.
87 – Don’t assume that the infertility problem is with the male partner
Even though male factor infertility is involved in a great many infertility cases, don’t assume that the problem is with the male partner. However, it makes more sense for the male to take fertility tests before the female because it is less expensive and invasive.
88 – Don’t think that just because you got pregnant before, it will be easy the next time
Most couples believe that they won’t have problems conceiving a second child because they got pregnant before. Unfortunately, secondary infertility is the problem behind 40% of infertility cases. The reasons behind secondary infertility are similar to those that cause primary fertility. Perhaps you developed unhealthy eating habits, gained weight, or developed an infection since your last pregnancy. You have gotten older as well, and it’s possible that your egg quality may have started to decrease or your partner’s sperm is no longer as healthy as it was. The good news is that there are many natural and medical treatments to help you can overcome secondary infertility.
89 – Do try fertility drugs
If you can’t afford expensive ART procedures, consider taking fertility drugs. For many couples, fertility drugs are all they need to get pregnant. Fertility drugs increase the chances of conceiving by promoting ovulation. Clomiphene stimulates the pituitary gland to trigger the maturation of several eggs, while gonadotropins work on the ovaries to release several eggs. While these drugs have been safely and successfully used to overcome fertility problems, you are also at risk for developing multiple births. The more babies you carry in the womb, the greater your risk for complications such as premature labor, miscarriage, and hypertension.
90 – Do try IUI
If your infertility problems are due to tubal blockage, advanced endometriosis, or ovarian failure, you might get pregnant with the help of intrauterine insemination (IUI). A sperm sample is obtained from your partner and “washed” to increase its concentration. Then the sperm will be introduced near the fallopian tube at the time of ovulation to bring them closer to the egg. From there, the sperm can fertilize the egg naturally. Aside from bypassing certain female fertility problems, IUI is also an effective way of overcoming poor sperm motility or low sperm count.
91 – Do try IVF
Most cases of infertility can be overcome with in vitro fertilization (IVF), the oldest and most popular assisted reproductive technology available. IVF involves stimulating the growth of multiple eggs, which are surgically retrieved and fertilized in the laboratory using her partner’s sperm. The resulting embryos are then transferred into the uterus. The world’s first IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born in July 1978. Since then, hundreds of thousands of babies were born through the help of this technology. Even if IVF costs might be out of your budget, there are ways to obtain this procedure less expensively.
92 – Do consider ICSI
You can increase the success rate of your IVF with the help of a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI. During ICSI, an egg is fertilized artificially by injecting a sperm right in the middle. Some IVF clinics restrict the procedure to couples with male factor infertility, but most clinics will allow anyone to include ICSI in their cycle.
93 – Do see an infertility specialist in addition to your regular doctor
If you are trying to conceive, start your journey with a good infertility specialist – sometimes called a reproductive endocrinologist. Although your general gynecologist can assess your initial fertility tests and provide you with basic treatments, a trained fertility specialist can do an in-depth examination of your case and make more complex recommendations. All fertility specialists should have a fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. This means he or she did 2-3 years of specialized infertility training after completing residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
94 – Do work with your doctors as a team
Don’t sit back and let your doctors do all the work. Do your own research about new treatments, read about others’ experiences, and ask your doctor how these available options can help you. If you work together as a team, you’ll waste no time narrowing down your treatment options, which can help you get pregnant faster.
95 – Don’t rule out using donor eggs
If your infertility is due to poor egg quality, poor response to ovarian stimulation, or premature ovarian failure, consider using donor eggs during your next attempt at conceiving. Women have been using donor eggs to get pregnant since 1982, and there are over 15,000 embryo transfers in the United States that make use of donor eggs. Pregnancy success rates using donated eggs are much higher, especially when compared to the success rates of women with poor egg quantity and quality.
96 – Don’t rule out using donor sperm
If ICSI doesn’t work, one other way to overcome male factor infertility is through using donor sperm. The donated sperm can be from someone you know, but most couples prefer to obtain it through a sperm bank. The success rates of IVF with donor sperm depend on the woman’s age, the number of eggs, and any other fertility problems she might have.
97 – Don’t rule out using donor embryos when trying to conceive
You may also want to consider using donor embryos if the embryos you produce are unfit to survive. Donor embryos are usually from couples who have already gotten pregnant with IVF and were unable to use their remaining embryos. Ask your fertility clinic if they have a donor embryo program that you can participate in.
98 – Don’t rule out surrogacy
If you are unable to carry a pregnancy to term, an option that might work is surrogacy. This arrangement involves a third party who carries the pregnancy to term and delivers the baby in your place. There are two kinds of surrogacy – a surrogate, who donates both her eggs and the uterus, and a gestational carrier, who only donates the uterus. If you opt for a surrogate, your partner’s sperm will be placed into the surrogate’s uterus after she ovulates. She will then conceive and deliver the infant. A gestational carrier will involve retrieving your eggs, having them fertilized with your partner’s sperm in the lab, and then transferred to the uterus. If you are seriously considering using a surrogate or gestational carrier, you need to consult a trained professional who can educate you about the procedure. You will also need to familiarize yourself with the medical, legal, and ethical considerations of surrogacy before making a decision.
99 – Do keep an open mind to new and alternative treatments
IVF might seem like the most obvious answer to fertility problems, but these high-tech options aren’t the only one that can help you get pregnant. There are many alternative treatments that couples have found helpful after thorough research and consultations with their doctor. The options presented in this article are just the tip of the iceberg – there are a variety of ways to get pregnant without spending thousands on expensive treatments. Be on the lookout for new studies and keep your mind open to trying novel approaches to getting pregnant.
100 – Don’t stop trying to conceive
For most couples, the emotional drain is the hardest part about trying to conceive. Every month, your sense of hope and anticipation rises, and you feel positive that this is the month when you finally conceive. Often, these feelings of anticipation give way to disappointment. But just because you didn’t get pregnant during the last cycle, it doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant next time. Don’t lose hope and don’t stop trying to conceive while there’s still a chance of getting pregnant. Maybe there are some lifestyle changes you haven’t made, or a new treatment you’ve never heard of. Keep on doing research, talk to your doctor about your options, and don’t be afraid to try different ways to boost your fertility. Your hard work can eventually pay off so that you’ll find yourself holding your baby in your arms before you know it.
101 – Do get The Full Embrace™ Pregnancy Success Program
These tips are just an easy few. The real powerful secrets and full details with instructions on how to set up your own program for conception success are more than we could include in this list. Give yourself your best chance of conception using our guide to start your journey towards parenthood today.