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Knowing how to increase fertility makes all the difference if you've been trying to get pregnant for a while. We've looked into the best ways to boost your fertility and increase your chances of getting pregnant.
How to increase fertility (male and female) is a question with lots of answers. Luckily, loads of the options that you can try to boost fertility and help you conceive are simple to introduce into your everyday life.
If you’re trying for a baby and not having much luck, don’t despair. Around 84 per cent of couples having regular sex will get pregnant within a year. But we understand a year can feel like a really long time, so to maximise your chances of getting pregnant quickly, read through over 40 ways to boost your fertility to see what simple changes you could make to your lifestyle that could increase your chances of getting pregnant.
From diet and exercise to understanding your ovulation cycle and dispelling the myths, our guide to increasing your fertility will give you really useful information to help you get your body in the best possible shape to conceive. You can even try using our ovulation calculator to work out when you are most fertile.
It’s important not to forget it takes two people to make a baby, which is why we’ve also got tips for boosting male fertility in our round-up as well.
We’ve also got some advice on the best sex positions for conception, which will hopefully introduce a little bit of fun into what can be a pretty stressful time in a couple’s life.
Trying to get pregnant can be a challenge, but remember, no matter what path you ultimately take to parenthood, there’s lots of professional and personal help available to support you if you’re struggling.
Your fertility is affected by lots of different factors, including age, lifestyle and biology, so don’t be afraid to reach out to your doctor and ask for advice to give yourself the best possible chance.
They’ll be able to reassure you and talk you through potential options for your fertility problems, including medication and IVF.
Don’t jump up and immediately go to the bathroom (or start doing the housework!) just after you’ve had sex. Take your time to relax your body for a minute whilst his sperm is still in you and give those little guys a chance to get swimming!
Some fertility experts think that by lying down for a few minutes, or putting your legs in the air, you’ll help the sperm on their journey towards the egg. Worth a try!
2. Know when you ovulate
Many women have no idea what a normal menstrual cycle is – especially after years of regulated periods on the Pill. Few women have a 28-day cycle with some having a short one (25 days) or a particularly long one (35 days). The fertility cycle starts on the first day of your period but ovulation does not necessarily start mid-cycle.
If you have a regular 28-day cycle then ovulation occurs halfway through, around day 14, if it’s 25 days then ovulation occurs around day 11 and if it’s a 35-day cycle ovulation occurs around day 21.
Once you have worked out when you start ovulating be sure to plan in some bedroom fun for that time as you are most likely to get pregnant at this time.
Use our ovulation date calculator to work out when you’re most fertile.
3. Try reflexology
Reflexology is based on the idea that specific areas on your hands and feet link to different organs in your body and that by putting pressure on these points will stimulate the energy flow to those organs.
Reflexology practitioner Jane Holt says: ‘By massaging specific areas on the feet you can help to regulate your menstrual cycle, improve ovulation and promote relaxation.’
Reflexology is a very relaxing, natural treatment and many people get pregnant when they’re in this state – so that’s why alternative therapies like reflexology are worth trying if you want to boost your fertility.
4. Use a basal thermometer
A basal thermometer is another way to track your most fertile days.
Your basal body temperature is a measure of your regular temperature upon waking, which rises as a result of the hormonal changes during
Using a sensitive basal thermometer you can track even the smallest basal temperature changes in your body which means you can pin point when you’re ovulating and most fertile. If you’re struggling to work out when you’re most fertile and want to be super precise, this is an easy and simple method to find out.
5. Deal with stress
Stress affects everyone differently – but it can affect your ovulation or put you off having sex, which can make it difficult for you to conceive.
Take some time for yourself and make sure that you focus on winding down after work. Allow yourself half an hour every evening to relax your body and mind, whether that be a bath, reading a good book or exercise.
Maybe you could have a think about the things in your life that make you stressed and how you could tackle them – could you make changes at work? Change your commute? Sort out some money problems?
6. Stay away from chemicals
Avoid scented tampons and vaginal sprays as they can cause a pH imbalance in your vagina. Artificial lubricants, arousal oils and douches should also be avoided as these alter the normal acidity of the vagina, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and can affect the cervical mucus that transports the sperm.
7. Eat some zinc
Zinc is an all-round essential nutrient to boost fertility. It ensures the production of good-quality sperm and can reduce the chance of miscarriage later on, so is helpful for both male and female fertility.
Zinc can be found in oysters, cashew nuts, pumpkin seeds and crab meat – the daily requirement is 30mg.
8. Come off the pill four months beforehand
It’s generally recommended that ideally you should come off the pill four months, or at least one month, before you attempt to conceive.
However, some research has shown that a woman actually has more chance of conceiving when she first comes off the pill, so it might be worth seizing this opportunity.
9. Give up the booze
It may be boring, but if you’re serious about trying for a baby it’s time to end your alcohol consumption.
In order to give yourself the best chance at getting pregnant you should get your body in the best shape possible, which means zero alcohol. You’ll have to do it when you get pregnant, so starting now will be good practise!
10. Begin a supplement programme
Although a healthy diet is the best way to gain nutrients, a basic vitamin supplement programme can help ensure you’re getting what you need.
The three best supplements for you consist of a daily ante-natal multi-vitamin and mineral formula containing at least 400mcg of folic acid, capsules of Vitamin C (1000mg) and an essential fatty acid formula containing 400mg EPA, 200mg, DHA and 20mg of GLA, which doesn’t contain cod liver oil.
11. Go to the doctors
It’s a good idea to book an appointment with your doctor to have a genito-urinary check-up when you decide to try for a baby.
This will be able to rule out any major factors affecting fertility, like sexually transmitted diseases which show no symptoms, and flag up any other potential problems to ensure that you get the correct help.
Check your weight before trying to conceive. Women who are underweight have difficulty conceiving as their periods may stop.
However, the same applies to women who are overweight, as this can prevent ovulation. Talk to your GP for advice on healthy ways to lose or gain weight.
13. Stock up on Vitamin E
Vitamin E increases sperm mobility and ability to penetrate the egg. It can also reduce age-related ovulation decline.
Both you and your partner can increase your intake by eating more nuts and seeds, dark leafy greens and avocado.
14. Start healthy eating
Diet plays a major part in helping you conceive and healthy eating throughout pregnancy will help you give birth to a healthy baby too.
Our guide to fertility boosting foods will give you plenty of information about the best things to put into your body.
Yes, this means giving up smoking even before you’re pregnant…
You should also avoid xenoestrogens which are synthetic hormones found in pesticides and plastics and can affect hormone balance.
16. Boost your B12 intake
This is needed to cellular reproduction and is a good one for your partner as it can increase sperm count.
Good sources of B12 includes clams, sardines, lamb, egg yolk and cheddar cheese.
17. Exercise more
Stress can affect fertility and trying to conceive can be very stressful. Try to reduce it by exercising, or give meditation or yoga a go.
Exercise helps boost endorphins to make you feel happy, reduces excess weight, increases heart function and lowers cholesterol.
A new study recently found that four hours vigorous exercise a week could boost your chances of getting pregnant.
18. Use an ovulation predictor or fertility monitor
These test kits will record surges in your hormone levels which will be able to tell you when is best to try for a baby.
You can opt for a well-know brand like Clear Blue, or visit a pharmacy like Boots, who have a similar range.
19. Go organic
It’s definitely worth spending a little extra cash to give your body the best food possible.
If you can, you should eat eight portions of organic fruit and veg daily – these contain low levels of pesticides and have higher nutritional content than non-organic.
20. Switch from white to brown
Switch all white refined foods to brown wholefoods.
It’s estimated than 80% of zinc, a fertility-boosting mineral, is removed from wheat to make white bread last longer. And this is as important for him as it is for you!
21. Drink up!
You should drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water or herbal/fruit tea per day. This will help flush out excess toxins.
The benefits of drinking water are useful for everyone, but especially those who are trying to conceive.
22. Eat honey
Honey has been regarded as a natural fertility booster for generations.
The word ‘honeymoon’ is said to have come from the age-old tradition of newlyweds eating a spoonful of honey each night in order to speed up the baby-making process.
23. Eat good fats
Fats are fine as long as you eat the good ones. These include oily fish (mackerel, salmon etc) as well as sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
See a selection of easy and delicious salmon recipes here.
24. Get some sun
According to new research, increasing your chances of conceiving could be as simple as going on a sunny holiday.
Experts say that getting more vitamin D from the sun, can boost your female sex hormone levels and help regulate your menstrual cycle making conception more likely. In men, it can improve his sperm count, since vitamin D helps with nucleus development, and it’ll raise his libido and testosterone levels too.
25. Buy B6
This nutrient is good to balance hormones. It can be easily found in sunflower seeds, tinned salmon, bananas and lentils.
The daily requirement is 50mg.
26. Cheat Vitamin D
If you’re not about to go on a sunny holiday, you can boost your vitamin D levels by taking a vitamin supplement, or eating vitamin D foods.
Vitamin D has not only been shown to boost your chance of natural conception but also to improve the sucess of IVF.
27. One for the men…
The nutrient selenium is good for males as it’s an antioxidant that has been shown to increase male fertility, it’s good for females, too – it
can prevent chromosome breakage which can cause miscarriage.
You can find selenium in Brazil nuts, lobster and tinned tuna. The daily requirement is 100mcg each.
28. Think ahead
In order to boost your fertility, you should start to make changes at least four months before you start trying to conceive, as this is how long it takes the body to register change, or 18 months between children, in order for a woman’s nutrient stores to be replenished.
Our guide to the best time of year to have a baby could also be helpful…
29. Fill up on fibre
It’s essential for fertility as it keeps the bowels regular.
Eat plenty of wholegrains, fruit and vegetables to keep your digestive system functioning properly.
30. Ban caffeine
It’ll be tough, but you should cut it out in all its forms, these include coffee, strong tea and chocolate.
Caffeine has been linked to low fertility, so it’s goodbye to the morning cuppa, we’re afraid!
31. Stack of pillows
Although there is little concrete proof that fertility pillows actually help sperm get to the right places, many women invest in them all the same….
A fertility pillow is a glorified pillow that helps prop your body in a way that encourages the sperm to swim straight to your egg. You pop it underneath your pelvis and should lie still for about half an hour to let gravity do it’s work and help the sperm to find their mark.
32. The right ‘sex days’
It not only matters how often you have sex but making sure you have it during the right days in your cycle.
Research shows that even if you have sex six days prior to ovulation you stand a good chance of conceiving. If you want to have sex only on the day you ovulate, you may miss your chance of pregnancy altogether. Our ovulation guide will tell you everything you need to know.
33. Start a menstrual diary
Note the date when your period starts, the number of days it lasts, and anything else your doctor might want to know about.
This information can be helpful to pinpoint the best dates for conception as well as being helpful if you experience any problems conceiving.
34. Take a break
Lots of women get pregnant during a getaway so pack up your bags, grab your man and head off somewhere nice.
We’re not sure whether it’s because you’re less stressed or just getting more sex, but holidays really do seem to boost fertility.
This method is quite often used to help couples undergoing IVF but it could also help when trying to conceive naturally.
Acupuncture might have the best effects on your man as it’s been thought to increase the male sperm count but it’s also a good stress reliever, which will help your fertility levels too.
35. Check for thyroid problems
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant with no positive results it may be worth checking to see if you have a thyroid problem.
36. Try hypnotherapy
This is a very beneficial way to increase fertility as it helps you to breathe properly and de-stress.
It teaches you to let go of any emotional blocks or worries you may have that can create infertility issues.
You can take some of the methods and learnings away with you and use them at home if you need to de-stress.
37. Use a lubricant
Even if you haven’t needed it before, you may now. Having lots of sex can make you very dry, but it’s not advisable to use chemical-based lubricants as they can hurt sperm.
Try egg whites instead – they are sperm friendly and fragrance free.
38. Don’t give up
If you’ve been trying for a baby for a while with no success don’t worry – 1 in 7 couples don’t conceive within a year of trying.
This number increases dramatically during the next year with more than half of these successfully conceiving without any medical treatment so don’t loose hope!
Remember, the more stress and pressure you put on it, the less likely it is to happen so keep positive and optimistic as it can be lot harder than you would have initially thought.
39. Have fun in bed
There’s no evidence that some sex positions are better than others for conceiving, but having more sex helps!
To keep you both interested and excited to have as much sex as possible, especially when you’re ovulating, it’s a good idea to switch things up, trying new positions and even places!
If you’re trying for a baby, don’t let sex become a chore – bring back the fun by trying one of our sex positions for conception which help you get deep penetration to encourage your mans sperm to reach your egg.
40. Watch your medicines
If you’re taking any medication (prescription or not), have a chat with your doctor about how these could affect your fertility.
It is said that steroids, depression medications, hormone-based hair and skin treatments and cancer treatment, amongst others, can all have an impact.
41. Get a good nights sleep
To improve your chances of getting pregnant it’s important to keep yourself as healthy and your body as happy as possible – and lots of sleep is a big part of this!
If you become severely fatigued lack of sleep can even disrupt your periods, which you need to be working properly to get pregnant – so make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye.
Recent research suggests that the secret to a good night’s sleep is to turn off all your electronics an hour before you go to bed – so switch off the TV and your mobile phone and step away from the computer!
42. Have lots of sex
This one seems a little obvious – but bear with us!
Clearly, having sex is what you might call essential to getting pregnant, but some couples can worry that having too much sex might weaken the mans sperm.
However, we can confirm that contrary to popular belief, having sex often does not weaken sperm. In fact, research has shown that the more a couple have sex, the more fertility is improved.
So considering every time you get busy it’s another chance at having a child, we suggest you go for it!
43. Be romantic
Sometimes you can get too bogged down with ovulation and temperature charts to make trying to conceive a fun thing. Every now and again take a break and inject some joy and romance back into your relationship.
Go for a walk, have a nice meal or a seductive massage. Making a family takes time, energy, a sense of humour and love.
44. Keep talking
When couples are trying to conceive, sex can sometimes become a bit mechanical, especially with so much focus on doing it at the right time.
If you find yourself just going through the motions and forcing yourselves to schedule it in you may loose the fun in having that intimate time together – which ultimately may mean you want to have sex less.
Make sure you keep it fun and flirty with lots of talking. Focus on re-living your honeymoon period, not making a baby to avoid the subject becoming related to stress instead of pleasure