10 Possible Reasons Why You’re Having Trouble Getting Pregnant And 10 Ways To Increase Your Chances
So you want to get pregnant? You may be wondering what’s taking so long. “Why does it seem so difficult?” you may ask. “Why can’t I seem to get pregnant?”
I had all these questions and more. I wanted to know how to get pregnant fast.
First, let’s talk about the odds of getting pregnant in any given monthly cycle. One study cited a couple’s chance of getting pregnant within the first month of trying at about 25%, while 60% will get pregnant within 6 months, 75% within 9 months, 80% within 1 year, and 90% of couples get pregnant within 18 months of trying.
Now let’s talk about the factors that may be affecting your fertility and your partner’s fertility. In other words, what’s hindering your chances of getting pregnant fast?
Here are the 10 most likely causes of infertility issues followed by some conception tips to help increase your odds of getting pregnant faster.
1. Smoking. If you or your partner smoke cigarettes, this will greatly hinder your trying-to-conceive efforts. Women who smoke are 60% more likely than non-smokers to be infertile. Medical research indicates that egg depletion and sperm damage caused by smoking is the cause for this decrease in fertility. Smoking is very bad for your health anyway, so this should give you a worthwhile incentive to quit for your own health and those around you. An unborn baby is at a high risk for many complications if the mother is a smoker. Also, if your partner smokes around you, you are affected by the second-hand smoke, which is very harmful as well. Remember that with over 2,000 different chemicals in tobacco smoke, not one of them is nutritious or enriching for you or your baby.
2. Illicit Drug Use or Alcohol Use. This may seem like a “no brainer” for most of us, but some women and men need to be reminded that illicit drug use is a no-no for those trying to conceive. Marijuana use specifically suppresses hormone production, which can cause decreased sperm count and possible erectile dysfunction in men and irregular periods in women. Alcohol in moderation may not significantly affect fertility, but if you want to definitely increase your chances of getting pregnant sooner rather than later, it’s best to avoid alcohol completely (both the woman and the man).
3. Caffeine Intake. Caffeine is believed to reduce fertility. It also is believed to be risky during pregnancy with an increased risk of miscarriage with more than very mild use. Caffeine’s effect on fertility and pregnancy is controversial – some believe it to be harmful in even small quantities and others believe it is fine with moderate use (up to three cups of coffee per day). But why take a chance, especially if you want to conceive quickly and avoid a potential miscarriage? Caffeine is in chocolate, coffee, tea, and most sodas. Even decaffeinated coffee and tea (black and green) has a small amount of caffeine, so be aware of this when drinking. If you truly want to get pregnant more quickly, you should give up caffeine altogether for a better chance of increasing fertility. If it’s too hard and you have a caffeine addiction, then wean down gradually in order to make it easier on yourself.
4. Poor Diet. What you eat or don’t eat is crucial to your overall well-being and reproductive health. Getting pregnant is a complex process, one that requires many different body organs and glands to function properly to have proper hormonal balance and functioning. Most people don’t get the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables and water per day. This is very basic, but it’s crucial to pay attention to in order to help increase your fertility and your chances of getting pregnant more quickly. Eat lots of green leafy vegetables (leaf lettuce, kale, collard greens, etc.), whole grains (oatmeal, whole grain breads, brown rice, etc.), raw nuts (almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, cashews, etc.), and a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Organic is best, and fresh is better than canned or processed. (Note that Brazil nuts are especially good for sperm health).
5. Lack of Exercise. If you’re sedentary, get moving. It will help you feel better, lose weight if needed, and will improve your fertility and chance of getting pregnant. Walking, swimming, biking, or aerobics are great forms of exercise. Do something that you enjoy, and it will be easier to keep up. Exercise at least 3 times a week for 20-30 minutes at a time.
6. Obesity or Being Overweight. If your BMI is greater than 25, you are considered overweight and are prone to health risks. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese. Avoid fad diets or skipping meals. It has been proven that starving yourself only makes things worse. Do eat, but eat smaller portions more often, and cut out the junk food. Start slowly if you need to, but definitely start.
7. Stressful Lifestyle. If you have a stressful work environment, consider changing jobs. Stress will not only affect your fertility, it will affect your overall health and place you at greater risk for heart disease and many other health problems. Also, do what you can to relax often (at least once a day). Practice deep breathing to help relieve stress. What I do is inhale as deeply as I can with my mouth closed. Then I exhale slowly through my mouth. This is an instant stress reliever for me. Try it and see what it does for you! Another stress reliever can be a leisurely walk, especially if it’s something you enjoy and is in a beautiful environment. Go with your mate and use it to catch up on events of the day or just to dream of your future together. A warm bath can also be a great stress reliever, just don’t make it too warm, especially for the males, as it could affect sperm quality and quantity.
8. Advanced Age. Advanced age is widely considered to be age 35 and older. Women who are 35 years old and older do have somewhat of a disadvantage when trying to conceive. It is said that a female is born with the total amount of eggs she will have her entire life. Thus, at age 35 and beyond, her eggs are considerably “older” than they were in her 20’s, making it more difficult to conceive. That said, those of us who are older need to be even more diligent to be optimally healthy in order to increase our changes of getting pregnant faster. Men can be affected by age as well, especially as libido tends to decrease with age. I have found maca to be a wonderful libido enhancer and also fertility promoter. It is said to improve the quality of a woman’s eggs as well. I believe it helped me to get pregnant at 39 and carry my beautiful, perfectly health baby boy to full term.
9. Poor Intercourse Timing. In order to conceive, a couple needs to have intercourse near the woman’s ovulation time – the closer the better. If a couple just has intercourse “whenever”, their chances of getting pregnant are not as good. Especially for the older couples in their late 30’s to 40’s, timing is crucial to getting pregnant faster. To get the timing right, you need to determine your ovulation date.
I like to track my cycles by using a basal thermometer. This thermometer is different from the regular thermometer used to determine a fever. A basal thermometer is an ultra-sensitive thermometer that tracks your body’s most minute temperature shift and helps you calculate ovulation. Another means I like for determining ovulation date is an ovulation predictor kit (OPK). There are two kinds – the urine strips and also the fertility monitors. The strips are like a pregnancy test stick, only they measure LH (or luteinizing hormone) instead of the pregnancy hormone. The fertility monitors use saliva to determine your most fertile period by showing a ferning pattern when you’re most likely to conceive.
10. Physical Issues. There are many physical issues that can hinder your chances of getting pregnant. Eating right, exercising, losing weight, and quitting bad habits can greatly help to heal many of these conditions. Sometimes medical intervention is necessary, though. These conditions can include irregular menstrual cycles, anovulation (lack of ovulation), PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), endometriosis, low sperm motility or mobility, low sperm count, or luteal phase defect, among others.
I suggest that you get some prenatal tests done for you and your partner. If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months or more, especially if you’re 35 or older, see a reproductive endocrinologist. He or she will help you to decide which testing is best for you and your partner. Semen analysis will most likely be helpful to determine sperm health. And the woman’s symptoms will help to determine what tests are performed for her. Prenatal testing is very beneficial even if you want to get pregnant naturally. If you know what your condition is, you’re more likely to be able to overcome it.
If this article has helped you, please consider sharing it with someone you know who would benefit also.