9 Helpful Tips for Beginners Looking to Get Pregnant

9 Helpful Tips for Beginners Looking to Get Pregnant

So you recently decided that you’re ready to start a family. Congrats! However, you might realize that getting pregnant is not as easy as it seems. If you just started trying to conceive, here are ten helpful tips that could jumpstart the process.

  1. Okay, so stopping the pill is common sense. If you never took the pill in the first place, skip this step. If you took the pill regularly for even a couple months, your body still may need time to adjust. If you used the pill for less than a year, try three months. If more, try six months.
  2. Figure out when your ovulation cycle is to maximize efficiency. Between 33 and 66 percent of women under 35 who track their fertility windows are able to conceive within their first month of trying. Some ways to find your fertility window include fertility monitors, ovulation predictor kits, charting or by using all three. Calendar apps might be something you want to try too.
  3. So you’re off the pill and having ovulation-aware sex for three months… What if it’s your guy? Try not to be accusatory. Simply ask if he could get a sperm analysis. Male factors are responsible for almost half of all fertility issues.
  4. Try to eat fertility-boosting foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, soy foods and olive oil. Even better, try to avoid processed foods in general. It’s best to avoid trans fats and partially hydrogenated oil–the FDA just banned them for a reason!
  5. Prenatal vitamins are specially made vitamins to increase your fertility. They contain folic acid, vitamin B6 and DHA, and other essential vitamins that optimize your body for fertilization and mother-ready health. But guessing which over-the-counter vitamin would be best for you could be confusing, so consult your healthcare provider if possible.
  6. No, having sex every day doesn’t lower sperm count. You do you. Also, maybe try Pre-Seed. It’s specially made for couples trying to conceive. pH is balanced and isotonic so that it mimics a woman’s fertile fluids and the pH of sperm, so it’s like they’re in their natural habitat.
  7. No caffeine. Non-smoking women who drink 2 to 5 cups of coffee a day lower their fertility by 12 percent. It’s even worse for guys–5 drinks a day will cut his fertility in half. Instead of caffeinated beverages, consider a full eight hours of sleep. Sleep not only charges you with energy, but could also enhance your mood and health.
  8. Soak up the sun for 15 to 30 minutes in the afternoon without sunscreen. Sunlight causes your skin to generate vitamin D, which boosts fertility. Plus, it’ll help you sleep (sorry, caffeine).
  9. Get an effective first response kit so that when you finally think you’ve done it, you’ll know as soon as possible. The sooner you know you’re pregnant, the sooner you could make healthy choices for you and your baby.
Follow These Expert Tips to Help You Conceive

Follow These Expert Tips to Help You Conceive

Family with baby

For many women, the journey of trying to become pregnant can be one of the most nerve-wracking and frustrating experiences of your life.

If you’ve been struggling to conceive a baby or you’re thinking about starting the process, keep reading. We’re here with Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D to give you some empowering tips for conceiving.

1. Get off the pill a decent amount of time before trying to conceive.

The longer you’ve been off birth control, the greater chance you have of getting pregnant. A good rule of thumb is to stop taking it for three months if you’ve been on it for less than a year, and six months if you’ve been on it for over a year.

2. Track your ovulation cycle.

Figuring out your fertile window is super beneficial. About two-thirds of women under 35 who are aware of their five-day window have success in their first month of trying to have a baby. Try checking out different trackers, monitors, or ovulation predictor kits.

3. Have your male partner get a sperm analysis.

The sperm factor of conceiving comprises nearly half of all fertility issues, so it could be worth checking out.

4. Adjust your diet.

Incorporating fertility-boosting foods into your diet such as veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, soy foods, and olive oil could help you see results. Take care of your body and avoid trans-fats and hydrogenated oil.

5. Take vitamins.

Many studies have proven that taking prenatal vitamins with crucial nutrients like folic acid, vitamin B6, and omega 3 fatty acids increase your chances of achieving pregnancy. They are also linked to developing better embryos in IVF, and decreasing the risk of birth defects in babies.

6. Cut caffeine.

Consuming 2-5 cups of coffee a day drops your fertility by 12 percent! Instead of relying on caffeine to give you energy throughout the day, make sure you get a full eight hours of sleep instead. This will enhance your mood and your health.

7. Soak up sunshine

Sunlight causes your body to generate vitamin D, which has been linked to fertility. Soaking up the rays for just 15 minutes a day could do wonders for you.

8. If you think you’re pregnant, don’t wait to take a test.

The earlier you know you’re having a baby the better, so don’t hesitate to take a test. Once you know, you can begin making the healthiest pregnancy choices possible for yourself and your future baby.

Natural Cycles vs. the Pill: the “Anti-Hormone” Campaign

Natural Cycles vs. the Pill: the “Anti-Hormone” Campaign

Is there such a thing as “clean” birth control?

It isn’t uncommon for companies to use influencers to promote products. That basically means that advertisers pay celebrities to promote their product on social media. However, this advertising tactic has spread to birth control. Natural Cycles is an app that promotes hormone free birth control by using their app.

 

This method (also known as the calendar method) requires users to take their basal temperature every morning (it gets higher when you’re ovulating) and cervical mucus tests. Then the user will record those results in the app and the app will tell you which days it is safe to have unprotected sex. Since the pill came out in 1960, it was the key to really taking control of your sex life. Now there seems to be a movement going against the thing that gave us the sexual freedom and fertility control in the first place.

 

For those women who aren’t interested in the pill, an IUD or any other form of hormone birth control, this app is something they’ve been waiting for. “Clean living” has become a lifestyle choice–things like gluten free, fat free and now hormone free.

 

The pill doesn’t work for everyone, and that is okay. Every woman is different and we shouldn’t judge them based on what birth control method they use. Women should be informed that this method requires a lot more maintenance on their part. For example, you need to make sure that your temperature and mucus tests are accurate. Those results are key in managing your sex life. Of course, there isn’t a guarantee that the results from the app are 100% accurate, however Natural Cycle did perform a prospective study that got published in the journal Contraception. This prospective study looked at the overall effectiveness if the app, and there is 93% accuracy!

There is a slight disclaimer though. The app is only 93% accurate with perfect use. That means you need to wake up every day at the exact same time to take your temperature. It also recommends that you stick to one partner, rather than multiple. It is also recommended that you get formal training, sometimes the mucus tests can get a little gross, so it’s good to be informed about things like the color, consistency, etc. Natural Cycles researcher Kristina Gemzell Danielsson suggests they should be prepared for the possibility that they’ll still get pregnant, pointing out “that it’s not a good option for women who absolutely want to avoid a pregnancy”.

There are multiple forms of birth control, and this is just one of them. Please talk to a gynecologist and see what works best for you.          

Teen Mom Maci Opens Up About Fertility

Teen Mom Maci Opens Up About Fertility

 

Women everywhere struggle with infertility. As women, having a child is the one thing we “expect” to be able to do. When an issue gets in the way of that, it can be devastating. Maci Bookout McKinney is no exception. During this past season of Teen Mom OG, she opened up about a miscarriage of a baby girl. She has always been a fighter and her openness and sincerity just show how strong she really is.

Maci not only opened up about her miscarriage but also about more obstacles. She was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). PCOS causes your ovaries to mass produce cysts, which can be painful and cause a lot of issues when trying to get pregnant. It also messes with your menstrual cycle. Women can have their period for a month straight and then not have one for months at a time.

Maci and women with PCOS also suffer with symptoms such as weight gain, unwanted hair growth or hair loss, acne, oily skin and dark splotches on skin. It is a very common problem and it can develop any time after puberty. It is caused by high levels of insulin and androgens (male hormones). There is no cure.

Even though there are many different treatment options for PCOS, Maci still feels trapped. There are medications you can take, however it switches a symptom for a side effect. She tells the story about how her medication causes her to be irritable with her children, and she wonders if she could be negatively affecting them.

If you suspect you may have PCOS, please go to your gynecologist. The earlier the diagnosis, the better.          

What Happens if I Miss Taking a Birth Control Pill?

What Happens if I Miss Taking a Birth Control Pill?

Birth control is widely used to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But what happens if you miss a pill? What are the odds that you’ll actually become pregnant because of it?

If you aren’t aware of what missing a birth control pill could do, keep reading. We’re here to explain what these pills are and give you answers as to how they work.

Dr. Rita Bakshi, a chairperson of the International Fertility Centre, believes birth control pills are one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy because they are safe and a reliable method. Birth control pills are usually taken starting from the second day of the period through twenty-one days. She explains you must remember to take one pill every day. If you forget, there is an immediate risk of pregnancy, and the longer you go without taking it the greater the chances of becoming pregnant become.

Dr. Bakshi suggests incorporating pill consumption so it coincides with your daily rituals. For example, you could fit it in with your morning routine and ingest it with breakfast, or before brushing your teeth. This will help ensure you remember to take it and take it at the same time every day.

As for the side effects of birth control, Dr. Bakshi says, “Some women may experience nausea or diarrhea due to these pills. There is a risk of weight gain as well.” She cautions that the majority of weight gain cases are only temporary and shouldn’t act as a deterrent from taking such an effective birth control solution. “Weight gain isn’t really that big a problem compared to an unwanted pregnancy. So, ladies, it’s better to be safe than be sorry.”

Taking birth control can be a great option to prevent pregnancy. Just remember to swallow your pill every day! If you’re still concerned or have questions about birth control, consult a specialist or doctor for more information.

 

Which Sex Position Can Help You Get Pregnant?

Which Sex Position Can Help You Get Pregnant?

So you want to conceive a baby. Maybe you’ve been trying for a while or you’re new to the game, but either way, some questions have been popping up in your mind. You can’t help but wonder… what’s the most efficient way to get pregnant? Is there a sex position that can help you make a baby?

“The bottom line is that position doesn’t matter when you’re trying to get pregnant, and there’s never been any scientific evidence to show it makes a difference,” says Lauren Streicher, M.D., an ob-gyn and medical director of the Center for Sexual Medicine and Menopause at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever.

There’s no proof that missionary, doggy style, or any other sex position is more effective than the others. However, there was a single study done by the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy that analyzed the variations of doggy style, but it didn’t address pregnancy chances at all.

Should you elevate your feet?

Streicher explains in the past, doctors used to recommend elevating your feet after intrauterine insemination and not moving for at least ten minutes. The goal of this practice was to increase the number of sperm that reached the fallopian tubes, thus increasing the chances of fertilization. Unfortunately, that doesn’t accomplish anything. Streicher says putting your feet up won’t increase rates of fertility just like standing up after sex won’t decrease your chances of becoming pregnant.

But what is the best way to make a baby?

The bottom line is, the best way to conceive is to have fun. Have the type of sex you want because the position really doesn’t matter.

Streicher says the number one factor affecting fertility is age. “Biologically, women were meant to get pregnant in their twenties,” she explains. Of course, no one is automatically doomed if they don’t, just that their odds of becoming pregnant decrease with age.

If you’re serious about increasing your chances of achieving pregnancy, Streicher suggests using an ovulation kit for three months to track when you’re ovulating. If you still aren’t having luck after that, try seeing a fertility specialist just in case you need additional testing to find out what’s taking so long. If the kit indicates you aren’t ovulating at all, then you should definitely consult a specialist to see what’s going on. If you are ovulating, then great! Use the kit to time intercourse right and do it often.

10 Tips to Improve Your Diet While Trying to Conceive

10 Tips to Improve Your Diet While Trying to Conceive

Studies show ‘fertility diets’ can have a positive impact

For many couples who are trying to conceive (TTC), the period before pregnancy can sometimes be the most stressful. Many women often wonder if their daily habits can help or hinder their chances of getting pregnant. According to experts of the Nurses’ Health Study, the commonly discussed “fertility diet” can be effective -if you follow 10 easy-to-follow tips for enhancing your chances of fertility. While the diet is not guaranteed to help everyone— women experience infertility due to a wide variety of reasons—it has been proven to help boost their chances in small ways, making it ranked as the 10th best overall diet by U.S. News and World Report.

  • The research behind the report includes staggering percentages proving the benefits of switching to the diet when trying to conceive.
  • The recommendations include a wide variety of healthy tips, ranging from dietary changes, weight control, and exercise habits.
  • The results can include a decrease in infertility, along with other benefits for giving birth to a healthy baby.

The Research

Delving into the Nurses’ Health Study

The main benefit of the “fertility diet” is increased ovulation, which coincides with increased chances of pregnancy. Overall, the study relayed that a 66% lower risk of anovulatory infertility, along with a 28% lower risk of various other instances of infertility, correlated to women following the “fertility diet.”

According to Christy Brissette, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition, “This was a cohort study, meaning the women were followed over time and links were made between what they reported eating and their fertility. As such, the findings aren’t cause-and-effect, but they are healthy recommendations that could be helpful in boosting fertility.”

Overall, the recommendations of switching your daily diet to one consisting of whole grains, healthy fats, full-fat dairy, and a higher amount of fruits and vegetables has its proven benefits to improving and maintaining chances of a successful pregnancy.

 

The Recommendations

10 tips for increased fertility

Among the ten top tips, the number one recommendation is to avoid trans fats while consuming more unsaturated vegetable oils instead.  Vegetables can also provide protein and iron in place of unhealthy red meats.  Other swaps when TTC include switching to whole milk to enrich your body with whole-fat dairy, and eating slow carbs instead of refined carbs such as white bread. General advice from the study includes taking a multivitamin, drinking lots of water, managing a healthy weight (maintaining a 20 to 24 BMI), and staying active to keep both your menstrual cycle and fertility odds on track.

 

The Results

Will the diet work for you?

Successful results from the diet include a decrease in refined carbs reducing ovulatory infertility, along with a multivitamin decreasing chances of birth defects.  However, due to the countless reasons for a woman’s infertility, the diet may not cover all aspects.  The diet has been proven to help boost fertility amongst disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome, but will remain ineffective for other reasons, such as sperm defects.

Regardless of your fertility situation, these simple steps can help put you on the right track for a healthy pregnancy!

Watch What You Eat if You’re Trying to Conceive

Watch What You Eat if You’re Trying to Conceive

food-healthy-vegetables-potatoes

Science now suggests that eating organic and avoiding pesticides may result in a healthy pregnancy.

If you’re trying to get pregnant, you may want to think less about what you’re doing in the bedroom and more about what you’re doing in the kitchen. Recent scientific research suggests that a diet that favors organic foods over one’s contaminated with pesticides may make a difference.

  • Studies have shown that women who consume organic foods have fewer fertility issues
  • Pesticides may be harming you in more ways than one
  • What we can do to protect ourselves and our family’s health

 

It’s Time to Shop Organic

An organic diet may truly be the way to go

It turns out, you should watch what you eat! A recent study by Harvard researchers have shown that women who consume organic foods have fewer fertility issues. Published in the Journals of the American Medical Association, these scientists looked at 325 women at a fertility clinic who regularly ate pesticide-infested foods. The results? Compared to the women who ate organically, the pesticide consumers experienced lower success rates with IVF treatments. The organic eaters found benefits of increased fertility overall and a lower risk of pregnancy loss. Pediatricians like Dr. Phillip Landrigan find this new research to be very helpful, insisting educating and taking political action is the necessary next step. “Encourage our patients to eat organic,” Dr. Landrigan said,  “and educate elected officials and other policymakers about the hazards of pesticides.”

 

The Dangers of Pesticides

Infertility, cancer, and more

As humans become more and more accustomed to various chemicals in their lives, scientists have begun to look into the effects they may be causing. Since the introduction of genetically modified organisms or GMOs, humans have been exposed to glyphosate (a chemical most commonly found in weed killers) by an increase of over 500%. What does this mean? A study in Time magazine linked glyphosate to liver disease in rats– and people have over 100 times that amount in their own bloodstream. Unfortunately, that’s not all. It is likely that glyphosate is a carcinogen, or at least the World Health Organization thinks so. Their International Agency for Research on Cancer recently found a link between advanced levels of glyphosate and acute myeloid leukemia.

 

How to Protect the One’s You Love

Put yourself and your family first

Now you know, but what can you do? The first step is to begin a diet of organic fruits and vegetables and turn it into a lifestyle. The second is to take steps towards a solution: demanding regulation of the pesticide industry and political representatives who agree. It is no secret that more regulation is needed to protect ourselves and our loved ones from potentially dangerous chemicals in our environment. Health comes first, and pesticides currently threaten that, thanks to these recent scientific discoveries.

Whether you are only just finding out about the potential dangers of chemicals and pesticides or have known about them for awhile, science is helping us discover the truth about what we are actually putting into our bodies. The search doesn’t stop here!

Donor’s eggs: A Personal Story

Donor’s eggs: A Personal Story

When Julie Schlomer got the news that she was finally pregnant at the age of 43, her thoughts went to the other mothers she had come to know. There were three of them in all, and they shared an extraordinary bond made possible by 21st century medicine and marketing.

All the mothers were carrying half-siblings.

Under a cost-saving program offered by Rockville, Md.-based Shady Grove Fertility, the women split 21 eggs harvested from a single donor who had blue eyes, was dark-haired, and had a master’s degree in teaching. Each of the women had the eggs fertilized with her partner’s sperm and then transferred to her womb. Schlomer gave birth to twins, a son and daughter, now 3. She hopes her children will one day connect with their genetic half-siblings. “I would love to see pictures of the other kids, to talk to them,” Schlomer said.

The multibillion-dollar fertility industry is booming, and their experiments with business models are changing the American family in new ways. Would-be parents seeking donor eggs and sperm can pick and choose from long checklists of physical and intellectual characteristics. Clinics now offer volume discounts, package deals and 100 percent guarantees for babymaking that are raising complicated ethical and legal questions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 percent of American women 15 to 55 — 7.3 million — have used some sort of fertility service, and because of that the use of assisted reproductive fertility technologies has doubled in the past decade. In 2015, these procedures resulted in nearly 73,000 babies — 1.6 percent of all U.S. births.

Most couples use their own eggs and sperm, turning to doctors to facilitate pregnancy through techniques such as in vitro fertilization. But the use of donor gametes is on the rise. The donor-egg industry, in particular, has taken off in the past decade with the development of a safe and reliable egg-freezing process. The number of attempted pregnancies with donor eggs has soared from 1,800 in 1992 to almost 21,200 in 2015.

In the United States, the industry remains largely self-regulated, and because of that a group of donor-conceived adults documented numerous ethical lapses in the industry, including donors who lied to prospective parents about their health histories and other qualifications. They called on the Food and Drug Administration to provide more oversight of the “cryobanks” that gather, store and sell the precious sperm and eggs used.

The Food and Drug Administration said it is reviewing the matter, but cannot predict when it will have a response in the near future because of other FDA priorities. In the meantime, the business of assisted reproduction remains a mostly unregulated frontier. Shady Grove Fertility, the nation’s largest clinic, offers refunds if couples don’t go home with a baby. New Hope Fertility in New York City held a lottery earlier this year that awarded 30 couples a $30,000 round of IVF. And the California IVF Fertility Center is pioneering what some refer to as the “Costco model” of babymaking, creating batches of embryos using donor eggs and sperm that can be shared among several different families. Prospective parents can filter and sort potential donors by race and ethnic background, hair and eye color, and education level. They also can get much more personal information such as audio of the donor’s voice, photos of the donor as a child and as an adult, and written responses to questions that read like college-application essays.

A prescreened vial of sperm sells for as little as $400 and can be shipped via FedEx. A set of donor eggs (as many as 30, depending on the donor) can cost $10,000 or more to compensate for the risky and invasive medical procedure required to harvest eggs from the donor’s ovaries.

For Schlomer and her husband, before they decided to use donor eggs, they had been trying to have a baby for two years. Their insurance paid for early infertility treatments, but nothing worked. The couple, from Lexington Park, Md., about 60 miles east of Washington on the Chesapeake Bay, was psychologically ready to take the next step. But a set of eggs and up to six attempts at embryo transfers cost $55,000–none of it covered by insurance.

But as they studied the material from Shady Grove Fertility, the Schlomers discovered that the clinic offered a huge range of payment options. If Schlomer split the eggs with one other mother, the cost would go down to $39,000. If she split the eggs with two other mothers, the cost would be $30,500. Schlomer’s husband noticed that they could cut the cost even more, to $24,500, if they agreed to use only one set of eggs and forgo the right to ask for more. After the Schlomers drained their savings account, borrowed $10,000 from their 401(k) retirement fund and sold a Toyota Prius, they set aside a quiet weekend to look for a donor. Schlomer had two main criteria: One, the donor had to have blue eyes. Second, the donor had to have a graduate degree. She found 12 matches and looked at their profiles. They went with the one whose personality spoke most to Julie.

The donor said she was a “homebody” who loves taking pictures and being with family on the beach. Her personal goals, she wrote, include being “the best possible mom I can be for my children. I want to be ‘present’ when I am with them and invest into their lives. I want my life to matter.”

Schlomer put in the order, and it wasn’t long before the clinic found two more women to join her group. Within a few weeks, the eggs were harvested from the donor, fertilized and implanted.

Alyssa and Logan were born in 2013. Both have very blue eyes and have been very healthy. Julie is grateful that there’s no chance they inherited lupus, a serious autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks its own organs and tissue, that she inherited from her mom.

When the time is right, Schlomer thinks she will explain to her children that they are “high-tech babies” and impress on them the importance of memorizing their donor number, in case they happen to “run into another donor-egg kid.”

How Getting Pregnant the Second Time is Different Than the First

How Getting Pregnant the Second Time is Different Than the First

pregnant woman holds belly with heart

  1. To put it simply, pregnancy does a lot to a woman’s body, and those changes might affect getting pregnant again. From cycle issues to previous hypertension problems, the first pregnancy could cause some damage.
  2. Many times, trying to get pregnant the second time is more difficult because the mother is older, and age is associated to difficulties getting pregnant.
    1. While it’s true that it’s healthiest for women’s bodies to maintain a wide age gap between children, they should know that they could be simultaneously risking being able to have a second in the first place.
    2. What also complicates things is the fact that if a woman had a cesarean delivery, then she should wait at least nine to 12 months before getting pregnant again to ensure the scar in the uterus has adequately healed.

All in all, when considering age and general health, it is even more important the second time around to take care of yourself. When trying to get pregnant for the second time, a woman has to take her daily prenatal supplement to ensure she takes enough folic acid to prevent fetal malformations. Folic acid, part of the vitamin B family, is very important for a strong pregnancy and healthy fetal development, and it has been shown to not only decrease the risk of neural tube birth defects like spina bifida, but it has also been shown to reduce other birth defects, such as congenital heart conditions.”

What is also important to think about is the health of your partner. A recent study found that sperm count has decreased an estimated 50 percent in Western men. And half of couples with fertility issues have a significant male issue. To facilitate their fertility health, supplements are tight is as well.

Besides age, women breastfeeding longer can also have a serious impact on the body, because breastfeeding affects fertility by delaying ovulation. It is important to note, though, that if a woman ovulates regularly and has regular menstrual periods, concerns about breastfeeding and fertility decrease.

In the end, prospective second-time moms should talk to their health professionals when trying to conceive, even if it was easy the first time. This is especially true for women who may have had any issues before or during their first pregnancies.

In addition, women under 35 should see a specialist after one year of trying unsuccessfully, while women over 35 should see a specialist after six months.