Deciding you’re ready to start a family is a big decision for any couple. So once you’ve decided – what are the next steps for both moms and dads-to-be? And what should you know if you’re struggling to conceive? Dr. Myron Bethel, OB/GYN with Renown Women’s Health, offers key insights about fertility.
What’s the first thing couples should do when they decide to start a family?
For the mom-to-be, it’s important to meet with your obstetrician before you get pregnant. This appointment gives you an opportunity to discuss your family medical history, any past or current health problems, immunization history, medications you’re taking and any issues with previous pregnancies.
Your doctor can also provide helpful tips to ensure your body is ready for a healthy pregnancy and help guide you on how to monitor your period, basal resting body temperature and other important factors to help you get pregnant more quickly.
How can couples who are trying to get pregnant make sure they’re healthy to conceive?
Of course it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle all the time, but it’s especially important if you’re trying to get pregnant.
There’s no magic pill or single food, but women should start focusing on nutrients they’ll need during pregnancy. Before trying to conceive, start taking folate and folic acid to help prevent birth defects. You can get good sources of these nutrients from cereal, spinach, beans, asparagus, oranges and peanuts.
Lifestyle changes can also help improve fertility. For both men and women, extra weight can reduce fertility. Both sexes can increase their chances of conception by not smoking, not drinking alcohol and exercising regularly.
And for men specifically, take a daily vitamin containing zinc and selenium to support healthy sperm.
What is the average timeline for conception, and what do you suggest for couples who may be struggling to conceive and start a family?
First, remember getting pregnant can take longer than you expect. Do not to get stressed out about it or place blame. Seventy percent of couples conceive within six months and 85 percent within one year of trying to get pregnant.
To help improve your chances of pregnancy, monitor your ovulation closely. You can do this by tracking your period, watching your body closely and logging symptoms, logging your basal body temperature or using ovulation kits. If you still aren’t sure when you’re ovulating, try to have sex every other day to improve your chances of conception.
If you’ve been trying for nine months to a year, you can talk to your OB about options and discuss meeting with a fertility specialist.