Are you hoping 2020 will be the year you get pregnant?

If you’re trying to conceive and you don’t want to be waiting around, there are quite a few proactive steps you can take to help you along the way. 

First of all the most important step of all is to make sure you’re having sex. You don’t have to be at it morning, noon and night. 

But it definitely helps to be having sex at least twice a week. 

If you follow the tips below then you will see when the optimum time for having sex is when you’re trying to conceive. 

Many couples will try without really thinking too much about it and fall pregnant quickly. 

However these tips are for couples who want to make it a bit more of a sure thing. 

Using these methods I was able to conceive in the first month of trying with my second baby. 

Although it’s worth noting that you’re never more fertile than when you’ve just had a baby, I also conceived my first baby in the first three months of trying. Maybe we had just got more efficient at it by the second time, who knows!

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How long will it take to get pregnant?

Studies show that most couples will fall pregnant within one year of trying. The NHS says out of 100 couples, 80 to 90 will get pregnant within one year. 

Of course absolutely everyone is different. Some may fall pregnant in the first month. It will depends on so many different factors, such as your ages and physical condition plus any underlying health conditions. 

The key thing is to enter into this conception thing with a clear head. You may not get pregnant within the first couple of months. That doesn’t mean you won’t get pregnant. 

Stay positive, keep it light and keep it fun. 

How do you get pregnant?

So how does the process actually work? Let’s talk about the process your body goes through in order for you to become pregnant. 

Your ovaries already contain all of the eggs your body will ever make. Each month these mature and one is released from one ovary, which is the process called ovulation. 

Before this your womb lining thickens. If you do not fall pregnant, this is eventually released from the womb, which is what your period is. 

When you have sex, sperm travel through your womb to the fallopian tubes, which connect the ovaries to the womb, to meet the egg. 

When fertilisation happens, the fertilised egg moves to the womb. At this stage the cells will be dividing as the egg begins the early stages of developing into a foetus. 

Next the egg needs to attach itself to the side of the womb, which is known as implantation. Many ladies may experience some light bleeding as this happens. For myself, this was quite heavy bleeding which was never fully explained although the pregnancy went on to be happy and healthy. 

Once the egg is implanted the cells continue to multiply and the foetus develops. Once the egg has implanted itself to the womb lining, this is where your hormone levels to support the pregnancy will start to grow. They will not reach a high enough level to give a positive pregnancy test until at least 14 days past ovulation. Some ladies are lucky enough to get a positive test before this stage however. 

So now you know how it happens, let’s talk about how you can get to this stage. 

Try these tips for speeding up the process: 

Tracking your menstrual cycle

Monitoring your menstrual cycle is the very first thing you can look at to help you figure out the right time to have sex. 

We’re assuming here that you have already come off of the pill and your cycles have returned to normal. 

The first thing to do is to note how many days there are between day one of your period and day one of your next period. Take a note of how long you’re menstruating for. 

Now, in general ladies will bleed for roughly five days. But when I was trying to conceive my periods were lasting for up to 10 days! My cycles were all over the place. 

Assuming your period is five days and you have 28 days after day one of your cycle until your next period begins, then you should ovulate on day 10 to 16 of your cycle. 

So an average menstrual cycle may look like this: 

  • Day one – period starts
  • Days two to seven – menstrual bleeding
  • Day 14 – ovulation – to give yourself the best chance of conceiving have sex two days before and after this day. 
  • The period post ovulation and before your period begins is known as the luteal phase. This is where an egg, if fertilised, will be implanting to your womb. The implantation stops your period from happening. 
  • Day 28 – First chance of getting a positive pregnancy test if you have conceived. 

Write down your own menstrual cycle diary and try to use the follow tips to figure out when your ovulation days are. 

Monitor your cervical mucus

Of all of the things that I did to get a handle on my cycle, monitoring cervical mucus was by far the most effective. 

It is a bit icky when you think about it at first, but honestly it’s all natural and nothing to be ashamed of. 

You may have noticed that over the course of a month you have all sorts of different discharge. 

This discharge is actually changing according to your hormones and where in your menstrual cycle you are!

When sperm enters your body, it will be helped to the place it needs to reach (the egg) by your mucus! The ideal mucus for sperm to travel in is known as “egg white mucus”. 

This type of mucus is thick, and stretches between two fingers if you try to pull it apart. It is the consistency of egg whites, hence the name!

Prior to this you may experience watery mucus and days where you have none at all. 

Try to keep a cervical mucus journal and you will start to notice when your most fertile days are. To check, simply wipe yourself with a tissue before going for a wee and check for the presence of mucus. On ovulation you may notice there is more of it than in the days prior. 

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Get an ovulation kit

For me the absolute best ovulation kit was this one. It gave me a clear answer about my most fertile days. 

It works by giving you a flashing smiley face in the days before ovulation and a solid smiley face when you are just about to or have ovulated. You should have sex on the flashing smiley days and solid smiley days. 

All you need to do is wee on a stick and the test gives you the result in a couple of minutes. It really was the easiest way to keep a tab on things. 

You can buy cheaper ovulation sticks to test with your urine. The type you buy is up to you, but whatever you use remember it’s best to have an idea of the rhythm of your cycle. There’s no point in using an ovulation stick in the middle of your period. 

Monitor your basal body temperature

This requires you to take your temperature every morning as soon as you wake up.

Ovulation can cause a very slight increase in your basal body temperature.

Tracking your basal body temperature can work really well for some ladies. But the degree by which your body temperature may change is so small that it can be tough to use this as an accurate tool.

Use a digital oral thermometer or a thermometer designed to take the basal body temperature. It must be done before you have got out of bed, so have your thermometer and a pad where you can record your result to hand by your bedside.

Start taking pregnancy vitamins now

Doctors recommend you start taking a folic acid supplement as soon as you start trying to conceive. 

Ideally you would be taking it for three months prior to conception. This is so that the folic acid has had a chance to build up in your system. It reduces the risk of your baby developing spina bifida. 

This piece of advice should not make you panic! If you haven’t been taking prenatal vitamins and you’ve found out your pregnant, your baby will still be fine! Just start taking your vitamins as soon as you get a positive test. 

Go for a prenatal vitamin that’s tailored specifically for pregnant ladies. Most will have a variety of vitamins that help to support your pregnancy. 

Eat a balanced diet

Now is the time to start looking after yourself. Give your body the best chance at supporting a healthy pregnancy by eating well. 

A good pre-pregnancy diet is something you can really overthink! It’s about getting a balance of all the right nutrients from the food groups. 

Make sure you’re eating plenty of vegetables, including green leafy ones such as spinach and kale.

Also keep dairy in your diet for the calcium, with foods such as yoghurt and cheese. 

Reduce your intake of sugar and salt, plus it’s really important to drink lots of water. This helps your body to stay healthy!

Get exercise 

Pregnancy is tough on the body, so it’s a good idea to strengthen your body now so that you can be ready for that stage. 

Try swimming, yoga or long walks, activities which you can carry on easily once you are pregnant. 

Reduce your alcohol intake

It is not known how alcohol may impact on fertility. There have been some suggestions that light drinking may impact on your fertility. However if it were a huge issue then there would be no drunken mistakes in this world!

Use your common sense when it comes to this area. If you’re struggling to conceive, have a dry month and see if that has any positive impact. 

Ditch smoking

You should encourage your partner to stop smoking too as it can impact on sperm count and fertility in men too. 

It’s a good idea to get this hurdle out of the way before your pregnancy and the baby arrives. 

Smoking is very damaging to the baby when in the womb. A baby born into a smoking household is also at more risk of nasty health problems and cot death. 

Get going with ditching the habit now. You won’t regret it. 

Ditch the lubricant

Many lubricants are not sperm-friendly and will kill the little guys off before they get the chance to reach your egg!

If you do feel that you need a lubricant, research ones that are appropriate for couples who are trying to conceive. 

When can I take a pregnancy test?

Couple with a positive pregnancy test after trying to conceiveCouple with a positive pregnancy test after trying to conceive

It can be so very tempting to test early, but not only does the cost add up if you’re testing every day after ovulation, but you’ll be repeatedly disappointed too. 

Try to hold off testing until at least 13 days post ovulation (or DPO). 

But there are quite a few symptoms that you may show you are expecting several days before a test comes up positive. 

I have an entire post all about these early pregnancy symptoms, but a few of them are: 

  • Nausea
  • Light bleeding
  • Loose bowels
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Tender boobs

What if trying to conceive takes longer than a year?

Most couples who are actively trying to have a baby will fall pregnant within one year. 

However if things are taking longer than you would like them to, it’s best to go and see your doctor for more advice. 

In terms of at home checks you can do, you can test your partner’s sperm at home for the count. This is quite a primitive test, as fertility clinics can do much more extensive testing. 

The test you can do at home will not test all of the facts that affect male fertility, but it may reassure you in one sense at least. 

Don’t be afraid to seek help. 

What’s the number one thing I should do to get pregnant fast?

So putting all of this together, what should you be doing to get pregnant right now? 

It’s quite simple: 

Have sex two to three times per week. 

Sperm can live in the body for up to five days. So the day you have sex is not necessarily the day that your egg will be fertilised by that sperm. 

So before you ovulate, it’s a good idea to have a decent amount of sperm waiting for the egg to arrive!

This advice should be taken hand-in-hand with the fact that stress can hamper your fertility. Stay calm and if you can, be patient. 

If you’re too tired to manage the two to three times one week, try not to sweat it. It only takes one good shot to get pregnant!

Best of luck with your trying to conceive journey!

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