How Do You Get Pregnant Naturally?
You may be asking this question because you want to know how pregnancy happens, but more than likely you are wanting to know how to conceive naturally. You are probably looking for the quickest and easiest way to get pregnant without interventions. You may be interested in getting pregnant naturally because of philosophical or religious reasons, health concerns, or just because you prefer not to use interventions.
The first thing you can do to get pregnant and to have a healthy pregnancy is to be physically healthy. It is important to not be over or underweight, both of which have negative effects on fertility and healthy pregnancies.
You also want to make sure you are exercising 3 to 4 times a week. Aerobic exercise is essential because it helps blood circulation and improves lung capacity. Incorporating weight-bearing exercises helps you gain muscle strength and lose weight easier, while yoga exercises help you work on posture and balance. This all contributes to a healthier you, which increase your chances of conception and healthy pregnancy.
Physical health starts with how you treat your body. While exercising during pregnancy is an essential step towards a healthy you, it is more important you are not doing anything counter-productive for fertility and healthy pregnancy. It is imperative you remove any unhealthy habits or practices that limit or decrease your physical health.
For maximum health you should eliminate or reduce the following:
You may also want to talk to your healthcare provider regarding any prescription medication you are taking. Some medications are harmful to take during pregnancy. It is possible that your provider may want to forego or alter the medications you are taking to help increase your chances of conception and having a healthy pregnancy.
Additionally, eating healthy, well-balanced meals, along with ensuring daily consumption of certain nutrients and vitamins, is directly related to your health and wellness. Check out our article on preconception nutrition and health for men and women for other helpful ideas.
One of the keys to easy conception is knowing when ovulation is occurring. You can track ovulation with a fertility monitor or ovulation predictor kits. However, you can track your and predict your ovulation naturally without using these types of kits.
If you have a regular cycle that occurs every 28 to 32 days, you should be able to track your ovulation using the calendar method. This is simply recording the first day of your last menstrual period on the calendar and finding the corresponding next menstrual period day. Once you have that, you can count back 8 to 18 days and know that ovulation will occur on one of those days. With an average 28 day cycle, ovulation will occur on one day between the 11th and 21st cycle days (29-day cycle, 12-22 days; 30-day cycle, 13-23 days; and so on).
A second way to track ovulation is through monitoring the changes in your cervical mucus. As you get closer to ovulation, your mucus will become wetter, more slippery, and stretchier. It is often compared to egg whites. Ovulation is directly related to this change and the day that you notice the most of this egg white discharge is the day you are expected to ovulate.
You can also use a basal thermometer to track your basal body temperature. Your basal body temperature will spike right after ovulation.
These techniques for tracking your ovulation naturally are part of a family planning method called fertility awareness or natural family planning (NFP). You can learn more about the calendar method, cervical mucus, and basal body temperatures in the article, Fertility Awareness.
Some people try to time sex so that it is during or right before ovulation. While this can work, there is a better approach to your sex schedule for those trying to conceive. If you have a regular cycle occurring every 28 to 32 days, then you should be able to leverage a typical fertility window for planning sex.
For the above mentioned regular cycles, you should know ovulation typically occurs between day 11 and day 21 of your cycle. What most people don’t know is sperm can live inside you from 2 to 5 days following intercourse. You can use our free Ovulation Calendar to help identify your fertility window.
The best chances for conception occur if the sperm (semen) is already inside waiting for the egg to be released. To maximize your efforts to try to conceive based on this information here is how to approach your sex schedule and increase your efforts to conceive.
Count out 10 days from the first day of your last menstrual period. Have sex this day and then every other day, for the next 10 days. Having sex every other day helps ensure you have healthy mature sperm delivered with each intercourse. This schedule will place semen inside waiting for the egg to be released, while also adding sperm during ovulation.
Nutrition is directly related to your physical health. However, nutrition is also tied to conception and healthy pregnancies. It is essential to eat well-balanced meals full of the recommended nutrients and vitamins that are tied to your health and wellness. Combined with exercise, this is one of the most important steps for a healthy you, and which is directly related to your fertility health.
You should be looking at the appropriate daily intake of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and essential fats. Apart from healthy eating, there are some key nutrients that are tied to your fertility wellness and make it easier to get pregnant naturally.
Folic Acid: Folic acid is tied more to healthy fetal development than conception, but because this vitamin is so essential during the first few weeks of pregnancy, it is important to highlight it now. Make sure you are getting 400 to 800 mcg of folic acid a day, as this helps to prevent neural tube defects.
Nutrients, Vitamins, and Nutritional Facets
Here is a list of some the key nutrients, vitamins, and nutritional facets you need to make sure you are part of your diet regularly:
Water – Drinking water helps support organ function, supports hormonal balance, and helps carry out toxins from the body. Collectively, this helps support your fertility.
Complex Carbohydrates – Eating vegetables, whole grains, and fruits help you get nutrients that support your fertility and provides the fiber that works with water to help remove toxins from your body.
Protein – Eating protein supports your fertility by providing nutrients that contribute to hormone production. However, red meat should be lean and limited. High red meat diets can lead to problems with endometriosis.
Fatty Acids – Eating oily fish like mackerel and salmon, along with nuts and seeds, is a great way to get fatty acids that support your fertility and the development of your baby once you conceive.
Whole Milk – Drinking whole milk is related to your fertility. A study by Chavarro and Rosner found that women who drank 3 or more glasses of whole milk a day were 70% less likely to be infertile due to failed ovulation.
Zinc – Zinc deficiencies have negative effects on fertility for both men and women. Taking 15 mg of zinc daily help both men and women enhance their fertility. Zinc can be found in vegetables, eggs, whole grains, peas, onions, beans and more.
Vitamin B6 – Getting this vitamin daily helps in your production of the female sex hormone while also supporting the regulation of estrogen and progesterone. Vitamin B6 is found in eggs, salmon, peanuts, bananas, and soybeans.
Vitamin C – Vitamin C helps trigger ovulation for women and supports healthy sperm count and mobility for men. Vegetables and fruits like strawberries, oranges, and blueberries all contain Vitamin C.
Vitamin E – Men and women both benefit from Vitamin E consumption. This vitamin affects hormone function for women and enhances sperm quality for men.
Foods to Avoid When Trying Get Pregnant Naturally
Eating healthy directly supports your health and wellness while eating poorly reduces your health and wellness. To maximize your health and wellness and ultimately your fertility wellness, there are nutritional items you should avoid to increase your chances of getting pregnant naturally.
Here is a list of things to avoid or at least limit your consumption:
Caffeine – Caffeine reduces calcium absorption, and some research shows that it lowers your fertility by approximately 27%.
Processed Foods – These contain pesticides, artificial hormones, and preservatives, which collectively have a negative impact on your health and wellness.
Red Meat – High consumption of red meat can lead to endometriosis, which can negatively affect your efforts to conceive.
Soy Products – Soy consumption by men has been connected to lower sperm counts.
Compiled from the following Sources:
Chavarro, Jorge, Toth, Thomas, Sadio, Sonita and Hauser, Russ, “Sou food and isoflavone intake in relation to semen quality parameters among men from an infertility clinic,” Human Reproduction. 2008 November: 23(11): 2584-2590.
Chavarro JE, Rich-Edwards, Rosner B, Willett WC. “A prospective study of dairy foods intake and anovulatory infertility,” Human Reproduction, 2007 May; 22(5): 1340-7. Epub 2007 Feb 28
Imler, B., “The Essential Guide to Getting Pregnant,” American Pregnancy, Irving, TX, 2018.
American Pregnancy Association, Fertility Awareness, https://americanpregnancy.org/preventing-pregnancy/natural-family-planning/ (accessed Oct 2014).
American Pregnancy Association, Pregnancy Nutrition, https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/preconception-nutrition/ (accessed Oct 2014).
American Pregnancy Association, Preconception Health for Women, https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/women-preconception-health/ (accessed Oct 2014)