If you are planning to get pregnant, a good first step is to find a good family doctor if you don’t already have one. Visit your doctor to get basic blood tests done and make sure your pap smear is up to date and normal. You should also discuss any medications you may be taking.
Once your doctor gives you the all clear, you’re ready to start trying.
Here are 10 ways to help increase your chances when you’re trying to conceive.
When planning to get pregnant…
Know your menstrual cycle
After stopping contraception, your menstrual cycle may take time to regulate. Learn about your cycle, so you can track it and identify your most fertile time. Women who are overweight, underweight, who exercise excessively or are experiencing high levels of stress are less likely to ovulate regularly and this can make conception more difficult.
Work out when you are most fertile
The best time to have sex is the day before or the day of ovulation – this is when you’re most fertile. Most women ovulate about 2 weeks before their period. If your cycle tends to be longer, you will ovulate later than day 14. Read more on how to find out when you are the most fertile.
Recognise the signs of ovulation.
Signs of ovulation include changes to the vaginal discharge, which becomes more like a sticky mucus. Around the time of ovulation most women will have a slightly higher body temperature, so taking your temperature first thing in the morning can help you to track your ovulation. Other ways to track ovulation include over-the-counter kits to test ‘luteinising hormone’ and Apps with fertility calendars.
Find your healthy weight.
It’s important to have a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI). Your BMI is measured by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in cm squared, and the healthy BMI range is 18.5 to 24.9. Maintaining a healthy BMI can be difficult for some people, so if you’re struggling to manage your weight, get support from your doctor or other health professionals. Use our BMI calculator to find what your range is.
Maintain a balanced diet.
A balanced diet is really important for nutrition. If this is a struggle, supplement your diet with a pregnancy multivitamin. Some people may also benefit from specialist advice from a dietitian. There are also some dietary changes you can make to help optimise your fertility.
Regular exercise is important. The current recommendation is 30 minutes a day. Exercise is not only great for your body, it helps with managing stress. The best way to stay committed is to find a physical activity you enjoy and fits your daily routine. Even if you haven’t been one for exercising, pregnancy is the perfect time to get moving.
Look at your lifestyle.
Talk to your doctor about lifestyle habits that might be holding you back–like drinking alcohol, smoking or taking recreational drugs, and get support to quit. This could even include monitoring your intake of coffee.
Take time to look after your mental health.
Emotional wellbeing is important for fertility, as well as enjoying a healthy pregnancy and beyond. Lots of people benefit from specialist advice and counselling to improve wellbeing.
Help your each other get healthy.
Your partner can do a few things to optimise their fertility too. Now is a good time to quit smoking, limit alcohol intake and eat healthy. They should also try to reach a healthy weight and decrease or manage stress levels.
Remember to be patient.
Each month, your chances of conceiving are roughly 20-25%. And it can take up to 12 months to become pregnant. If you’re 35 and over, it’s a good idea to check-in with your doctor after 6 months.
Learn more about planning for pregnancy
In a series of lessons, Obstetrician Dr Danielle Wilkins guides you through what you need to know when planning for pregnancy, including helpful ways to prepare your body, lifestyle tips and optimising your fertility. Visit Medibank’s School of Better to learn about planning for pregnancy.