Maybe you’re thinking of becoming pregnant, or you’ve been trying for so long you’ve stopped keeping track. Conceiving a child can be harder than it seems. But the good news is there are several changes you can make to your lifestyle to increase your chance of becoming pregnant and live a healthier life overall.
1. Get Moving
When it comes to exercising to improve your fertility, your best plan is to think about Goldilocks. You don’t want to exercise too little, but you also don’t want to exercise too much. A review published in 2017 showed that long periods of intense exercise (more than an hour each day) prevented women from ovulating. However, this same review indicated that exercising for 30 to 60 minutes a day helped overweight women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and women with anovulatory infertility ovulate regularly.
2. Track Your Cycle
Ovulation, the release of an egg from your ovaries, occurs two weeks before menstruation. If no sperm reaches the egg within 24 hours of its release, the egg dissolves. But don’t think this means that you can only get pregnant if you have sex on the exact day you ovulate! Sperm can live inside the female reproductive tract for up to five days, so you can still become pregnant if you have sex a few days before you ovulate.
If you have a regular cycle, you can predict when you will ovulate by tracking your periods. If you have an irregular cycle, or just want to be more certain, you can purchase ovulation tests that work similar to pregnancy tests. These tests determine if you’re ovulating based on how much luteinizing hormone (LH) is in your urine. High levels of LH in your body tell your ovaries that it’s time to ovulate, so a high level of LH in your urine will give you a positive result on your ovulation test.
3. B(9) Prepared
According to a study published in 2007, women who regularly took a multivitamin had a lower risk of experiencing anovulatory infertility. Opt for a vitamin with B9, also known as folic acid, because it is a vital nutrient for a developing fetus. In fact, a lack of vitamin B9 can lead to neural tube defects, which form during the first month of pregnancy before many women even realize they’re pregnant. So if you’re trying to become pregnant, be sure your multivitamin has plenty of B9. Always consult with your doctor before taking a new vitamin.
If these healthy changes to your lifestyle result in a pregnancy, be sure to check out the amenities offered at St. Luke’s Health Family Birthing Centers. If you‘ve been trying to conceive for a while and haven’t achieved the desired result, schedule an appointment to speak with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group OB/GYN, who can help you pinpoint the problem.
Healthline | 17 Natural Ways to Boost Fertility
Healthline | How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Pregnant
Healthline | Anovulatory Cycle: When You Don’t Release an Oocyte
NCBI | Effect of Exercise on Ovulation: A Systematic Review.
CDC | What You Should Know About Folic Acid
Healthline | How Long Does Ovulation Last Each Month?
Healthline | LH Surge: Timing Ovulation for Fertility
NCBI | Use of multivitamins, intake of B vitamins and risk of ovulatory infertility