Having a baby is a momentous occasion in anyone’s life. However, before starting a family, you may want to undertake some preconception planning. To increase your chances of conceiving and to give your baby the best start to life, it’s important for you and your partner to take the necessary steps to improve your health. If you’re planning on trying for a baby, follow these simple steps to boost your chances of conception.

Contraception

First and foremost, you will need to think about contraception. If you have been using the combined-pill, such as the Yasmin contraceptive pill, or the progestogen-only pill, such as Cerazette, it is usually advised to complete your current cycle before trying to get pregnant. Some women choose to wait until their first normal period to prevent irregular bleeding, whereas other become pregnant in the first few weeks after stopping contraception. If you have suffered a miscarriage in the past, it is recommended to give yourself at least a three month waiting period before trying to conceive. Some contraception, such as the intrauterine device, will need to be removed by a medical professional.

Monitor your health

It’s also important to find out whether you or your partner have any health conditions that could interfere with conception. Health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, anorexia and asthma can affect your fertility. It is also worth bearing in mind that a number of prescription medicines can disrupt male and female fertility. A poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption can also reduce your likelihood of conceiving and increase the risk of pregnancy problems. To improve your chances of becoming parents, it’s important to try and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Undertaking regular exercise and improving your diet can help you keep a healthy weight, while quitting smoking and drinking can also boost your overall wellbeing. It is also a good idea to try and lower your stress levels, as this can increase your libido.

Find out when you are most fertile

A woman’s optimal fertile peak is when she is ovulating. Ovulation occurs approximately half way through a menstrual cycle, which is usually around 10 to 16 days before your next period starts. However, an ovulation period can vary from woman to woman and will depend on the length of the menstrual cycle. For some women, there may be physical signs that they are ovulating – an increased body temperature, for example. Many women choose to purchase ovulation prediction kits to help determine when they are most fertile. However, it is worth noting that while having sex during ovulation can increase your chances of getting pregnant, it is possible to conceive at any time during your menstrual cycle. For couples trying to conceive, it is generally recommended to have sex every two to three days.

Problems conceiving

The time it takes to conceive will differ for every couple. Your age, how frequently you have sex and your health can affect your chances of having a baby. While some women can become pregnant after just a few times of trying, for other women, it can take years. While this may be frustrating, it is extremely common, with fertility problems affecting one in seven British couples. Infertility can be caused by hormonal problems, physical health conditions or a reproductive disorder. Sometimes, the cause of infertility is unidentifiable. If you and your partner have been trying to conceive for one to two years and nothing has happened, you should seek medical advice. If you need advice on preconception care, a professional healthcare practitioner is your best source of information.

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