The recipe to conceive seems pretty simple: Ovulate, have sex, inseminate. But, there is a secret that shouldn’t be so much a secret: It’s not always that easy
. Rarely do people “get it right” on the first try. For some, it takes some practice. For many, it takes longer that you thought it would. And for more families than you think, it doesn’t happen at all.
My name is Alison. I subscribe to Stix pregnancy and ovulation tests, and am currently trying to grow my family after experiencing multiple losses and mothering a delightful one-year-old. I also am the founder of Brave Girl Birth
, offering support to families across the spectrum. When I was trying to conceive, it was easy to feel alone (especially after my first two pregnancy losses). I hope that I can offer a little advice, from a gal who’s been there!
Wherever you find yourself on the Trying to Conceive (TTC) ladder, I hope this offers some advice, consolation and truth. A quick disclaimer: I have tried and conceived in a heterosexual partnership without additional procedures (think IUI, IVF, etc.). If this resonates with you, read on!
So, you’re ready to have a baby
You and your partner have had the conversation and you’ve decided it’s time, you’re ready for a little one! It’s time to get down to business, right? The truth is, there’s a lot more to it than just having sex at the right time. Sure, that’s a vital part of conceiving, but there’s more to think about than getting hot n’ heavy, finances and having enough space for a child in your home. Yours and your partner’s health (physical and
mental), your diet and your exercise routine are all just as important. Having trouble cutting down on processed or fast foods? Can’t seem to get to the gym? Letting the little things stress you out?
A tip that stuck with me when I was trying to conceive: treat your body like you’re already pregnant. Take care of yourself,
your physical and mental health, eat right, exercise daily. You’ll not only feel better, but if you are one of the lucky ones that conceive easily, you’re already doing the things you’ll need to do when you do get pregnant. Let’s do this! What should I know?
Folic acidStart taking folic acid now
. It’s vital to a baby's growth and development as soon as conception starts. Folic acid is a vitamin, B9 to be exact. It is found in certain foods, or it can be taken as a tablet. You should take it two to three months before you conceive. This allows it to build up in your body to a level that gives the most protection to your future baby against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida. How much should you take? Your care provider can best tell you what dosage is right for you, but if you prefer to get folic acid in from your diet, you can eat foods such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, spinach, asparagus, peas and chickpeas.
Cut back on caffeine
Other tips for hopeful success: Cut down on caffeine
. If you drink more than 200mg a day, you’ll want to cut down now. Drinking lots of caffeine before and during pregnancy has been linked to infertility, miscarriage and low birth weight. That’s a large price to pay for a second (or third!) cup of coffee.
Get activeBe active
: It’s been shown to improve fertility and will make your pregnancy and baby healthier. The same goes for a healthy diet, it’s better for you and for the baby.
Track your cycle
Keep track of your menstrual cycle: Take note of the first day of your period. Your full cycle begins on this day until the next day you start to bleed. This will give you a good indication of how long your cycle is. Then you can work out when you might be ovulating, which is when an egg will be released to be fertilized. Not sure when you’re ovulating? Try Stix ovulation tests
, over 99% accurate, and in my opinion, cheaper than any other option out there.
Prioritize your mental health
Try not to get anxious: Trying for a baby can be an anxious time, for many reasons. Your mental health is important now and during pregnancy.
Ask for help
Know when to get help with fertility: If you haven’t become pregnant within a year of regular unprotected sex (sex every two to three days), talk to your care provider.
But what about all those statistics I hear?
Remember when I mentioned that it’s not always easy
? It’s true for some people that it might take a little bit longer than you’d like. About eight out of 10 couples
where the uterus owner is aged under 40 will get pregnant within one year if they have regular unprotected sex. More than nine out of 10 couples will get pregnant within two years. This can be linked to all different kinds of things, like being diagnosed with endometriosis or PCOS, poor egg or sperm quality or age. It’s safe to say that if you’ve been trying regularly for a year, you should talk to your care provider about next steps. And remember there’s lots of fertility options out there to help you and your family.
Lastly: Be kind to yourself!
Trying to get pregnant can be a process for some people. While it can be exciting and fun for lots of couples, it can also be daunting for some once that timeline you made to start your little family starts to get closer, or passes. Be kind to yourself. Talk to a therapist if you’re having trouble coping. Stress and anxiety don’t help on a normal daily basis, and it definitely doesn’t help while trying to conceive. If you’re worried about the time it’s taking to get pregnant, your care provider can help. There’s lots of help and resources for you out there. Don’t be afraid to use it. And keep in mind, your recipe might need a little tweaking to get the outcome you’re looking for.