There are no current protocols or guidelines based on scientific evidence that can guarantee to get pregnant fast. For this reason, the following tips must be understood for what they are: general recommendations based on broad consensus among experts in the field. Nevertheless, as the following suggestions show, there are concrete steps you can take to help give yourself the best possible chance to get pregnant.
For women, you should plan to get pregnant before the age of 35. A few numbers will illustrate the age-related decline in fertility. In women between 20-25 years of age, 40-55% will achieve a spontaneous pregnancy. Between 25-30, this falls to 35-50%. At 35-40, the proportion is 25-40% and for those between 40-45, it is just 10-20%.
There is a theory that the interval between having sex can affect the quality of sperm. Five or more days without sex reduces the sperm count, while ejaculating every two days maintains normal sperm density. This dispels the myth that frequent ejaculation can decrease male fertility. Some studies suggest that healthy couples who have sex every day while trying for a pregnancy achieve a success rate of 37% per menstrual cycle.
On the other hand, anxiety associated with a failure to fall pregnant can decrease sexual desire, satisfaction and the frequency of intercourse. The consensus is that sex every day or two achieves the best results, but this is far from being scientific fact.
Try using the “fertility window” . This occurs around six days before the end of ovulation. However, even for women with regular cycles, it can be hard to identify and the techniques are vague. A retrospective cohort study demonstrated that pregnancy rates were higher when sexual intercourse occurred on the day of greatest cervical mucus secretion, reaching 38% probability. However, this decreases when intercourse occurs the day before or after, at 15% and 20% respectively.
This relates to the use of vaginal lubricants during sex. Some products, even those that are water based, can decrease fertility. In-vitro experiments have shown an alteration in sperm mobility in 60-100% of cases over 60 minutes of incubation. Using canola oil, mineral oil or hydroxyethylcellulose-based lubricants has no negative effect.
Diet and lifestyle. Fertility rates are lower in both very thin and obese women because most of them often have some ovulatory dysfunction. A healthy lifestyle and normal weight can improve fertility in these women. There is very little scientific evidence that dietary variations such as vegetarian diets, low-fat diets, vitamin supplements, antioxidants or herbal medicines increase fertility. In fact, low-fat diets have been linked to infertility. Other risk factors include high levels of mercury in the blood from eating large amounts of seafood and fish, smoking (of course), alcohol (of course) and even drinking too much coffee.
While there are many factors influencing your chances of a successful planned pregnancy, Dr. Sasaoka’s insights show that there is a lot you can do to positively enhance them. As ever, if in doubt or if you are experiencing anxiety, always consult an appropriately trained medical practitioner or counselor.
Photo Credits: Unsplash, Shutterstock
Elzanaty S, 2005 = Elzanaty, S., Malm, J., & Giwercman, A. (2005). Duration of sexual abstinence: epididymal and accessory sex gland secretions and their relationship to sperm
Wilcox AJ, 1995 = Wilcox, A. J., Weinberg, C. R., & Baird, D. D. (1995). Timing of Sexual Intercourse in Relation to Ovulation — Effects on the Probability of Conception, Survival of the Pregnancy, and Sex of the Baby. New England Journal of Medicine, 333(23), 1517–1521. doi:10.1056/nejm199512073332301
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Choy CM, 2002 = Choy, C. M. Y., Lam, C. W. K., Cheung, L. T. F., Briton-Jones, C. M., Cheung, L. P., & Haines, C. J. (2002). Infertility, blood mercury concentrations and dietary seafood consumption: a case-control study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 109(10), 1121–1125. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2002.02084.x
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