Preparing to get pregnant

  • By Dr. T Deepa Porkodi

Intercourse close to the time of ovulation is definitely the most important way of conceiving quickly. You are sure to get a lot of friendly advices and tips from the womenfolk around you in terms of what all you need to do to get pregnant soon. Read on to know what you can do to improve your chances.

  1. Watch your weight-
    Women who are at a healthy weight with a BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 have a higher chance of getting pregnant than women who have a BMI of 20 or more. Obese women with a BMI of 30 or more have a two-fold increase in the time they may require to conceive.
    Being underweight is a matter of concern too. Women with a BMI of 19 or less have a four-fold increase in the time required to conceive normally.
    This is because weight problems, being under or overweight, can cause disturbances to the normal hormonal secretions and disrupt the menstrual cycle. This makes getting pregnant difficult.
  2. Watch what you drink-
    Coffee and alcohol when consumed in excess have a negative effect on your fertility. Women who drank more than 2 drinks in a day were found to have a 60% decrease in their fertility. Too much coffee, about 5 cups or more per day, also had the same effect.
    Moderation is the key here. Keep your intake under control.
    Once you are pregnant, it is advisable to completely stop drinking alcohol as it may cause serious birth defects in your baby.
  3. Hit the iron when it is hot-
    The fertility period in a woman peaks around the ages of 22-26. Thereafter it starts falling steadily. The more you delay getting pregnant, the less are the chances of you getting pregnant quickly.
  4. Eat Right-
    While there is no real fertility diet, good eating habits will help keep the hormone levels under check. Opt for a healthy diet of fruit and vegetables and choose whole grains instead of refined carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and higher insulin levels, which can hamper ovulation. The longer it takes for you to produce viable ovum, the longer it will take for you to conceive.
  5. Choose the lubricants wisely-
    Lubricants are preferred by most couples and the most commonly used ones are the vaginal lubricants. While it is a good idea to opt for lubricants, look carefully when you choose one. Most of the lubricants are spermicidal ones, i.e., they kill the sperms. You wouldn't want that to happen if you are trying to conceive, would you?
  6. Know your body-
    Experts say that intercourse during the ‘fertile period’ gives you the best chance to conceive. Theoretically, ovulation occurs on the 14th day of your cycle, if you count the day the period started as day one. The fertile period is usually around the day of ovulation, i.e. from sixth day after the onset of menstruation till the day of the ovulation. Pregnancy is most likely to occur with intercourse within the three days before ovulation. Most couples wait till ovulation to occur to have sex, thinking it will boost their chances of conceiving. In fact, it is the 3 days before ovulation that are the best.
    The woman will know when she is ovulating. She may experience a slight rise in her body temperature and also may find whitish watery discharge from the vagina. These are signs that the ovum is on its way!
  7. Have sex-
    This may sound a no-brainer, but it finds a place here since it has a lot of misconceptions surrounding it. Most couples believe that if you delay having sex, there will be more sperms and that would increase the chances of conception. The fact here is that though you will find an increase in the number of sperms, they will be of poor quality. Most sperms would have decreased motility in such cases. Not having sex for more than five days may affect sperm counts adversely. Although daily intercourse produced the highest pregnancy rate in one study, it may pose too much stress for some couples. The same study showed that having sex every other day produced nearly as good a pregnancy rate.

Keep in mind that baby making is a numbers game. Even if you do everything "right," you still have only a 25% to 30% chance of conceiving in any given cycle.