While around nine out of 10 couples will conceive within a year of trying, thousands of couples are left desperately longing for a positive pregnancy test. If you’re currently trying for a baby, try these tips by Dr Marilyn Glenville, a nutrition expert who specializes in women’s health, to boost chances of conception.
1. Have regular sex and know your cycle. For couples trying for a baby, ditching contraception and spending more time between the sheets at key times during the month is the first step.
2. Climax to the max
Two British biologists, Robin Baker and Mark Bellis, investigated the “upsuck hypothesis” and discovered that when a woman climaxes any time between a minute before to 45 minutes after her lover ejaculates, she retains significantly more sperm than she does after non-orgasmic sex.
In addition, their research results indicated that the strong muscular contractions (associated with orgasm) create a partial vacuum, which helps to suck the sperm from the vagina to the cervix, where it’s in a better position to reach an egg.
Evolutionary psychologists are suggesting that in the past orgasm could have served a purpose – unconsciously – in favouring the man that a woman wants to father her child. So the woman would have an orgasm with one man who she would like to have children with and not another. But it is important to remember that a woman does not necessarily need to have an orgasm in order to conceive. So do not beat yourself up if you do not have one every time you have intercourse.
3. Get out in the sun
The latest research suggests that there is a link between sunbathing and fertility. It is all down to having good levels of vitamin D, which is manufactured through your skin in the presence of sunlight. Vitamin D helps to balance a woman’s immune system, which is important in getting and staying pregnant. In order for a woman to stay pregnant, her immune system has to quieten down due to the fact that half the baby’s DNA is not hers. Normally, if the body detects something foreign it aims to expel it from the body. For some women, their immune systems do not quieten down and so they can’t get or stay pregnant.
Vitamin D is also important for male fertility, as low levels of this nutrient is associated with low sperm motility and more abnormal forms. If you are trying to get pregnant book a holiday away with your partner and soak up the sun.
4. Ditch that latte
Research has shown that women who are drinking too much coffee – more than five cups a day – are more than half as likely to get pregnant as those women who don’t.
According to the researchers, if you are trying to conceive, drinking this amount of coffee is just as bad as smoking.
Other shocking research suggests, that having four cups of coffee – or energy drink – a day makes it 26 per cent less likely that a woman will conceive. On top of that, drinking only two cups of coffee can increase risk of miscarriage by 25 per cent.
5. New kid on the block
We are all aware of certain important nutrients, like zinc and folic acid that has to be taken during pregnancy. However, there is a new kid on the block, co-enzyme Q10. This vitamin-like substance, contained in nearly every cell of the body is crucial for energy production and normal carbohydrate metabolism (the way the body breaks down the carbohydrates you eat in order to turn it into energy). Due to its role in energy production, it’s a very important supplement for men whose sperms motility is poor. As Co-enzyme Q10 is concentrated in the area between the head and tail of the sperm, it provides the energy for movement in the sperm cell.
For women, who have been told their eggs are ‘old’ because of their age, Co-enzyme Q10 could be helpful in improving egg quality and raising their chances to get pregnant.
6. Men – watch where you put your laptop
Everyone thinks of not having hot baths or wearing tight underpants for men as it may affect sperm health. It’s production takes place at 32°C, which is lower than the body temperature at 37°C. The testes are on the outside of a man’s body to keep them cooler. As they get closer to the body – by sitting for long periods when driving or cycling, for example – the sperm heats up which may reduce the count.
However, a more surprising piece of research found that men using laptops on their laps was causing a problem with sperm health. In order to balance the laptop, men will often close their legs. This on its own (even without the laptop) raises the temperature of their genitals by up 2.1°C. In conjunction with heat generated by laptop itself it causes a rise in temperature of up to 2.8°C. It might seem like not a lot, but a rise of just 1°C can decrease fertility by 40 per cent.
7. Wrap your lunch in a paper bag
Don’t wrap food in cling film – use paper instead. Immediately remove cling film wrap from any food you buy and transfer it to a bag container. Studies have raised questions that a cling film made of a type of plastic called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) may interfere with our hormonal system and decrease chances of getting pregnant.