Getting pregnant can be an exciting yet stressful time. If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while with no luck, you may be wondering what else you can do to increase your chances and make it happen. The good news is there are many lifestyle changes and fertility boosting tips you can try to improve your odds of conceiving quickly.
In this complete guide, you’ll discover research-backed methods to optimize your fertility and get pregnant faster. We’ll cover key factors that impact fertility for both women and men, provide actionable tips to increase conception chances each month, and explain when to see a doctor.
- Track your menstrual cycle and time intercourse during your fertile window for the highest pregnancy odds.
- Eat a nutrient-rich diet, maintain a healthy BMI, and take prenatal vitamins with folate before and during pregnancy.
- Reduce stress levels and avoid toxins from alcohol, smoking, chemicals, and medications that impair fertility.
- Seek treatment for any underlying medical conditions, like PCOS or endometriosis, that could be preventing pregnancy.
- Consider fertility testing and treatments like IVF if not pregnant after 6 months to 1 year of diligent trying.
Follow these comprehensive natural tips and work closely with your doctor to optimize all factors under your control when trying to conceive.
How Fertility Works in Women and Men
Before diving into how to increase your chances of pregnancy, it helps to understand how fertility works in both women and men. There are a number of biological factors that affect your ability to get pregnant each month.
The Menstrual Cycle
In women, the most important fertility factor is the menstrual cycle. It operates on roughly a one month interval, counted from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Here are the key phases:
- Follicular Phase: This phase starts on the first day of your period. Several ovarian follicles begin maturing, with one becoming dominant around day 7. Estrogen levels rise to thicken the uterine lining.
- Ovulation: The mature egg is released from the dominant follicle around day 14 in a typical 28-day cycle. This marks your most fertile window.
- Luteal Phase: After ovulation, the follicle turns into the corpus luteum and secretes progesterone to prepare for potential implantation. Your fertile window ends.
- Menstruation: If no pregnancy occurs, estrogen and progesterone levels drop around day 28, shedding the uterine lining and starting the cycle again.
The key fertile days are the ~5 days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation itself. Having well timed intercourse during this window is vital for conception.
Sperm Health and Motility
Male fertility depends on having a normal sperm count, healthy sperm, and proper functioning to reach and fertilize the egg. Issues like low sperm count, poor morphology, and inadequate motility can impair fertility.
Lifestyle factors that raise testosterone, improve blood flow, and reduce oxidative stress support better sperm production and function. Men should avoid toxins, maintain a healthy BMI, and eat an antioxidant-rich diet to optimize fertility.
Underlying reproductive issues in either partner can make it difficult to achieve pregnancy. Common conditions like PCOS, endometriosis, low ovarian reserve, prior surgery, or structural issues can affect fertility in women.
In men, varicocele, undescended testes, infections, ejaculation issues, and impotence can impair sperm health and require treatment. Consulting a doctor is key.
How to Get Pregnant Faster: Proven Tips for Women
If you’re wondering how to increase your chances of conception, start with these tips to regulate your cycle, pinpoint ovulation, improve egg quality, and create the optimal environment for pregnancy.
Track Your Cycle to Time Intercourse
Timing sex for your fertile window is the #1 strategy for boosting your odds each month. But this means accurately tracking your cycle. Here’s how:
- Record period start dates to identify cycle length patterns. Aim for regular 26-32 day cycles.
- Log basal body temperature daily to pinpoint ovulation based on a temp spike.
- Check cervical mucus which becomes more slippery and clear around ovulation.
- Use ovulation predictor test strips that detect the LH surge 24-48 hours before ovulation.
- Monitor fertility signs like mittelschmerz pain, breast tenderness, and libido changes around ovulation.
- Use fertility apps to compile data and confirm the fertile window.
Have intercourse every 2-3 days during the ~6 days leading up to and including ovulation day. Fertile mucus and cervical position helps sperm survive.
Maintain a Healthy BMI
Being significantly underweight or overweight can lead to irregular cycles and hormone imbalances that disrupt ovulation. Having a BMI in the healthy range of 18.5-24.9 improves fertility.
Eat a balanced, nutrient-dense diet focused on whole foods. Get regular exercise. And avoid restrictive dieting, as rapid weight loss impairs ovulation.
Take a Prenatal Vitamin with Folate
Start taking a prenatal vitamin at least 2-3 months before conception. Look for one containing 600 mcg of folate or folic acid, which helps prevent neural tube defects in baby.
Prenatals also provide iron, vitamin D, omega-3s, and other nutrients vital for reproductive health and fetal development in early pregnancy before you may realize you’ve conceived.
Reduce Stress Levels
High levels of ongoing stress can disrupt hormones and lead to missing periods, anovulatory cycles, and reduced fertility. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is essential.
Try daily relaxation practices like breathwork, meditation, yoga, journaling, or spending time outdoors. Make sleep a priority and tap into your social support system.
Avoid Toxins and Chemicals
Toxic substances and chemicals like BPA found in plastics, pesticides, lead, mercury, solvents in nail polish, and more can impair fertility in both men and women.
Eat organic when possible, avoid plastics, use natural beauty products, and ensure good ventilation when exposed to fumes like paint or cleaning products.
Limit Caffeine and Alcohol
Consuming more than 300 mg of caffeine daily has been linked to reduced fertility. Stick to 1-2 cups of coffee or tea per day when trying to conceive.
Alcohol can also disrupt ovulation and sperm health. It’s smart to limit or avoid alcohol when trying to get pregnant to boost your chances.
Stop Smoking and Drugs
All forms of smoking are detrimental, causing DNA damage in eggs and low sperm count and motility. Marijuana and other recreational drug use can also impair fertility.
Treat Any Medical Conditions
See your doctor to identify and treat any underlying issues. Common fertility impediments include:
- PCOS: Hormone imbalances lead to irregular cycles, absent/irregular ovulation, and cysts. Treated with diet, exercise, and possibly fertility meds.
- Endometriosis: Uterine tissue grows outside the uterus, leading to scarring and inflammation. Addressed via excision surgery.
- Thyroid issues: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism prevent regular ovulation. Managed with medication.
- Premature ovarian failure: Low estrogen from low ovarian reserve. Requires egg donation.
- Fibroids: Benign uterine tumors that can block fallopian tubes. Removed via surgery.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: Uterine infection causes scarring. Treated with antibiotics.
Seeking proper treatment for reproductive disorders and having any necessary surgery can help restore fertility.
Consider Fertility Testing
If you’re under 35 and have been trying for 6 months with no success, or are over 35 and have been trying for 6 months to 1 year, it’s time to see a fertility specialist.
Testing can uncover issues like hormonal imbalances, ovarian reserve, structural problems, or sperm health factors. This allows you to pursue treatments like fertility drugs, IUI, or IVF to achieve pregnancy.
The key is to get evaluated sooner rather than later, as age-related decline in fertility especially impacts women over 35. Testing and treatment can help maximize your chances.
How to Increase Male Fertility and Sperm Health
Men play an equally important role in conception. Here are tips for improving sperm count, quality, and motility to boost fertility.
Wear Loose Underwear
Tight underwear and pants can increase scrotal temperature, which can reduce sperm count and motility. Wear boxers or loose shorts and pants.
Moderate exercise improves circulation, lowers stress, and balances hormones like testosterone that support male fertility. But don’t overdo it, as excessive exercise could have the opposite effect.
Lose Excess Weight
Obesity leads to hormonal issues that can reduce testosterone and sperm count. Losing weight if BMI is over 25 can increase fertility.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
Antioxidants fight free radical damage to sperm cells. Eat berries, nuts, seeds, veggies, and healthy fats from fish and olive oil.
Take a Fertility Supplement
Supplements with antioxidants, L-carnitine, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and others improve sperm parameters.
Avoid Soy Foods
Soy contains estrogen-like compounds that can lower testosterone. Limit soy foods and soy protein powder when trying to conceive.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Drinking more than 2 servings of alcohol daily is linked to low testosterone and impaired sperm production and motility.
Smoking significantly damages sperm DNA and decreases count and motility. Quitting at least 3 months before conception improves fertility.
Avoid Anabolic Steroids
Steroid use causes testicular shrinkage and lowers sperm count for months after stopping. This should be avoided when trying to conceive.
High long-term stress is linked to reduced testosterone and fertility troubles. Find healthy stress relief outlets like exercise, meditation, counseling, or massage.
Treat Varicocele and Other Conditions
Varicocele, undescended testes, infections, sexual health issues, and other medical problems in men can often be treated with surgery or medications to restore fertility. See a urologist for evaluation.
Get a Semen Analysis
If you haven’t conceived after trying for 6 months to 1 year, have a semen analysis done to check sperm count and health as part of a fertility workup.
When to Seek Fertility Treatment
Trying the natural tips above can help maximize your monthly conception chances. However, if you still aren’t getting pregnant after diligent efforts for 6 months to 1 year, depending on your age, it’s time to see a doctor.
Fertility testing can determine if there are any underlying issues affecting your ability to conceive. Based on test results, your doctor may recommend options like:
- Fertility drugs – Clomiphene and letrozole can induce ovulation for women who don’t ovulate regularly on their own.
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI) – Sperm is inserted directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation to increase odds.
- In vitro fertilization (IVF) – Eggs and sperm are combined in a lab and transferred into the uterus as embryos.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) – A single sperm is injected into each egg to aid fertilization during IVF.
- Donor eggs or sperm – Eggs or sperm from a donor can help achieve pregnancy when there are issues with one partner’s fertility.
- Surgery – To correct issues like blocked fallopian tubes, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or varicocele.
- Gestational carrier – When the female partner is unable to carry a pregnancy, another woman can gestate the embryo.
- Adoption – For those wishing to grow their families through adoption when fertility treatments are exhausted or not desired.
Seeking help from a reproductive endocrinologist sooner rather than later improves your chances, as age decreases fertility rapidly after 35. Don’t lose hope – over 80% of couples conceive within 1 year of treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should you try to get pregnant before seeing a doctor?
- If under 35, try for 6 months. Over 35, try for 6 months to 1 year before seeking fertility testing, since age impacts fertility.
What are the most fertile days of your cycle?
- The 3 days before ovulation and the day of ovulation itself mark the most fertile window of your cycle with the highest chances of conception.
How can you tell if you are ovulating?
- Signs of ovulation include a .5-1 degree F basal body temp spike, increased fertile cervical mucus, positive OPK test, mittelschmerz pain, and breast tenderness around cycle day 14.
What should men do to increase fertility?
- Wear loose underwear, exercise moderately, lose excess weight, eat antioxidant foods, take supplements, reduce alcohol and soy, quit smoking, avoid steroids, reduce stress, and treat medical conditions.