If it is taking you too long to conceive, and you have been having unprotected intercourse regularly for about a year, it is worth considering what you can do and how to improve your chances of positive pregnancy.
1. Have your smear and Papanicolau test at your local family planing clinic or your GP, together with the internal examination to check that both your cervix and your uterus are in good shape. It is a quick examination, not overly pleasant, but worth having to rule out physical irregularities.
2. Start observing your ovulation. There are a lot of tests available on the market to help you there, but it is just as good to start observing your cervical mucus, and look for egg white, stretchy consistency to confirm the ovulation is taking place. This will give you an idea when to have an intercourse to maximise your chances of conception.
3. Have a blood test. If you didn’t have your full count blood test recently, do have one to check your full blood count is within all the regular limits, especially iron levels, and especially if you were diagnosed with anaemia in the past.
4. Do you sleep long enough? Make sure that your lifestyle allows for enough hours of a good sleep. Your body regenerates during night time, which in turn ensures good immune system, essential for good health, and always important, especially if you are trying for a family.
5. Stop smoking and reduce alcohol intake to an absolute minimum or stop altogether.
6. Exercise moderately, and ensure a good balance between activities and rest. Excessive exercise is often contraindicated if you are trying to get pregnant, but it will depend on your constitution, so an individual assessment is essential.
7. Have a good look at your diet-it plays an essential role in your conception. Try to have regular and balanced meals, and avoid eating when stressed. Nourish yourself with a diet rich in grains, pulses, fresh vegetables, fruit and some meat.
8. Learn how to deal with stress. Start by working out what stresses you, and how can you find a way to handle it. It is often difficult to avoid stress, so it is best to learn how to process it, and then move on. Oriental medicine favours Tai Chi or Qigong exercises that strengthen the body and calm and focus your mind at the same time. Simple deep breathing exercises are often a good start. Any other way you relax will be just fine.
9. Have sex more often – it seems obvious enough that this is important, but many couples don’t have intercourse often enough, especially around the ovulation, when you should have sex avery 2 days or so. This is why it is important to observe the pattern of ovulation, as it will give you a good indication when you should try with the best chance to conceive.
10. Have acupuncture treatments. This ancient medicine model works really well for a modern mother-to-be and will benefit you in many different ways, from stress reduction, sleep and eating patterns improvement, to regulating your periods and ovulation cycles and improving the blood flow in the pelvic and low abdomen areas.
In my clinical practice, I make sure that every couple is individually assessed according to their lifestyle, diet and general health. We discuss what changes need to be made in either of the above to achieve positive pregnancy. Often minimal changes need to be made, as couples on the road to pregnancy already look after themselves and are having a healthier than average lifestyle. But often, these fine details make the critical difference between just healthy and healthy and pregnant. If you follow the basics on your pregnancy journey, chances are you will get there sooner, and healthier, to the benefit of both you and your baby.