When you have decided you want a baby, get your body ready:
- Take folic acid in supplement form, 400mcg a day or it can be found in some foods like cornflakes.
- Cut down on your caffeine intake.
- If you’ve come off the pill, there’s some dispute about how long you should wait before trying to conceive, but it’s probably best to wait 2-3 months.
- The man should take zinc supplements to increase the strength and numbers of his sperm
- He should also increase his vitamin D intake – drink milk.
- Cut down on alcohol. Even 2 pints per day will, on average, reduce your baby’s weight by 6.5 ounces.
- Stop smoking. Just one more reason to do so!
- Keep the sperm cool – ideally cooler than the rest of the body. Avoid tight underwear and tight jeans. Try boxer shorts, they may not be the latest in designer chic, but they help the testicles to stay away from the body and stay cooler.
- Have sex at the right time…. and frequently. To stand a chance of conceiving, live sperm has to fertilize an egg at the time of ovulation – usually around day 14 of your period. Sperm will usually live for 3 days so will hang around waiting and your timing doesn’t have to be exact. You can get ovulation predictor kits from your chemist.
- Position does not matter, although with the woman on top you may be reducing your chances of conceiving.
- Be patient. You can be doing everything right but you won’t necessarily conceive in the first month. In fact you probably won’t. Success is closely related to age:
- Women aged 20-25 have a 1 in 4 chance of conceiving,
- With women aged 30-35 the chance drops to 1 in 7, and the success rate falls as they get older.
- On average it will take a couple in their early to mid-twenties five cycles to conceive, and a couple in their early thirties ten cycles. One in ten couples has to wait more than a year before they succeed.
If you have been trying for a baby without success:
Keep a temperature chart. After ovulation the woman’s body temperature rises by about 2 degrees and maintains this higher temperature until her next period. By measuring temperature as soon as you wake and entering the reading on a chart, you can see when you ovulate. Ideally you want to have sex just before then. You can’t turn the clock back of course, but the chart will tell you whether you ovulate at the same time each month and, if so, you can plan for the following month. The temperature rise is small and you may feel more confident with an ovulation kit available from your chemist.
Try to lower your stress levels. Stress can affect either partner and may reduce your chances of conceiving. Try to have a few days away from work just before ovulation is due.
If you have been unsuccessful for a year or more it is worth talking to your physician.