First of all, the disclaimer.
These tips are based solely on my opinion and on research I have done, as a Pharmacist/Fitness Nutritionist, as a 40++ year old woman & a mother, after having conceived our baby girl, Luca Olesya. I’ve been asked these questions so many times in the Pharmacy, on how to get pregnant, how come I conceived so quickly even in my 40’s, what nutrition to take, etc, so I have listed the 10 best steps towards conceiving a baby.
It is by no means an exhaustive list or the perfect list (is there even one?) but some tips that will hopefully work for you.
First of all, in order to make a baby, you need to consider, the seed and the soil.
The seed being the sperm and the soil being the womb. For too long, people have blamed the soil for being barren. i.e. the woman. But now, folks are realizing that without the seed AS WELL AS the soil – both male and female being at optimum fertility, a baby would be a no-show. So, all things being equal, and if you have tried to conceive for 6 months without success (I’m not referring to young, healthy 20, or 30 somethings, I’m referring to couples in their 40’s who have been trying for half a year to more than a year, without success – which in fact, is the loose definition of infertility), you need to consider the following steps. Because you know, for the woman, time is definitely not on your side. At 40, your fertility drops substantially, and by 43-45 it’s almost zero (if it’s your first baby). Sad but true.
If you already are certain however, that both the man and woman are fertile, then you may skip step 1- 3 and go straight to 4.
1. Check if the woman is ovulating
I.e. the woman should have regular menses and also ovulating periods. Without the egg, there can be no baby, obviously. You might need to see your O&G for this – to scan and see if you have viable ovaries.
2. Check no obstructions to the fallopian tubes
Once you have checked that this is in order, the woman has to undergo another test, to ensure her fallopian tubes are unobstructed. Again, at the O&G, a simple test of passing a dye through your tubes will show if there are indeed any obstructions.
3. Check guys sperm is ok
Now once the woman is certified clear and fertile, it’s time to look at the man. A simple test for sperm viability can be done at the O&G. It tests for sperm count as well as sperm motility. The man’s bullets need to be fast swimmers, and there need to be plenty of them, especially when they need to swim past the woman’s hostile environment (the vagina and its secretions), to reach the viable egg!
4. Woman, take your Folic Acid. Men, take your Selenium & Speman
Now once the man is cleared and good to go, the next thing is making sure BOTH seed and soil are in optimum condition. Even if your man’s sperm in A-OK, it still can do with some help in the right direction. What with environmental factors such as work stress, pollution, nutrition deficiencies in diet etc on the rise these days, men should already be taking the following supplements from day 1 of trying to make a baby – Selenium (a deficiency has been linked to low sperm count, poor motility and odd morphology) & Speman (a herbal suppl that promotes spermatogenesis as it improves testicular, epididymal functions and the seminal vesicle). Folic acid (prevent neural defects) and pregnancy supplements (such as Obimin) for the woman. A word of caution : some of the male fertility supplements you read about on the market, I really do not recommend as they lack clinical evidence – stick to Selenium & Speman.
Also diet and nutrition are key – which means, if you are serious about conceiving a baby – no booze, no smoking, eat clean (mind your macros and micros) and get enough sleep. Both MAN & WOMAN.
5. Chart ovulation. Use pee test not ovulation thermometer.
Next, women – you should know your cycle or at least have been charting it religiously. You need to know if your cycle is 26 days, 28 days, 31 days or whatever. Day fourteen for ovulation is just an ARBITRARY number. It is by no means the exact date EVERY woman OVULATES. I repeat, 14 is just a number. So, you need to know your cycle to find the actual date of ovulation in your cycle, that’s unique to you.
The best way to find your ovulation date, is the pee test aka. the Urine test. Use any one of the reputable ones on the market. Don’t use a basal thermometer because it is super difficult to chart or to gauge that rise in body temperature during ovulation. Trust me – save your money! Anyway when using the Ovulation Urine test, how you interpret that DOUBLE line, is key. One line is negative, two lines – second line being LIGHTER than the test line – is still negative, & finally, two lines – the second line being equal or darker than the test line means – OVULATION! The key being, EQUAL or DARKER than, the test line. (Two lines but a faint line, is not ovulation). When you get the dark line, well then, for want of a better expression, Just Do It!
6. Go on holiday. Sleep. Rest. Chill out!
Removing stress is always a good idea. A lot of folks find it easier to conceive on holiday. So just leave your stress and worries at home, go on holiday and make a baby! Sleep is also important for regeneration of the reproductive elements.
7. Once a day, for 5 days.
This depends on how long your menstrual cycle is. For a 26 day cycle, you should roughly have intercourse, starting on the 13th, straight through till the 17th. Once a day is enough. Sperm can live in the body for up to 5 days, by the way.
8. Slight elevation of leg after sex
After intercourse, at the appointed time, it is advisable to raise your legs for around 20 minutes. There is no proof that this works but hey, if you use a bit of your common sense, gravity will pull the tiny swimming sperm backwards obviously, so why not give those lil buggers a hand right? No harm in that. They already need to fight the super acidic environment of the vagina, not to mention swim upstream in hostile conditions.. might as well give the poor chaps some help. Not like you need to do a handstand or anything. Just elevate your hips and legs by around 45° will do.
9. Take it easy – no hardcore exercising
Which means, if you are a hardcore cardio bunny, you need to slow down and consider other less strenuous activities such as Yoga or Swimming.
If you have however, been exercising all along, then check with your dr. first but generally it is permissible to continue doing what you’ve been doing all along, just reduce the intensity. If you’re not a runner, by no means start running when you get pregnant – common sense will tell you this just isn’t right.
( Read about Pregnancy & Exercising here )
10. Take another pee test 2 days after due date of period, supposing your period does not arrive
Wait for the good news – a double line means baby is on the way. Well done, mama to be, you did it!*
*(If you are in your 40’s make sure you test for Down’s etc.. as there is a higher possibility of Down’s syndrome in older moms.)