PARENTS

Boost Your Chances Of Having A Baby

12/04/2011 11:52 | Updated 22 May 2015

boost your chances of having a babyFrom what you eat to how often you have sex, here's the latest on how you can increase your chances of getting pregnant...

Look at your diet

A healthy, balanced diet is especially important to keep your body's hormone levels normal. Aim for one portion of full-fat dairy (believed to improve ovarian function) and eight glasses of water a day (for plump egg follicles and to create a strong blood supply to the womb lining). Go for fresh as often as possible – choose fruit like oranges and peaches and veg like carrots to help produce the female sex hormones needed for ovulation. And chicken boosts egg production.

Men could boost their sperm count by eating less red meat and fat, and more fruit and veg. And between one and four portions of oily fish a week is good for sperm development, quality and

mobility.

Check your weight

Too much or too little body fat can make your periods irregular which can make conceiving difficult. And too much weight around the stomach can affect your hormone balance and impair fertility. Aim to keep your BMI under 25.

Consider your lifestyle

"Today's modern lifestyle can be detrimental to conceiving," says fertility expert Zita West. "Over-the-counter medicines and antihistamines can deplete the body of vital nutrients, and being on the Pill for many years can have an impact on women understanding their natural cycle."

Avoid drinking alcohol, cut back on caffeine and stop smoking. And have a general sexual health check-up as STIs can hinder conception.

Watch out for stress

As well as being a passion-killer, excessive stress can hinder your chances of getting pregnant as your body goes into "emergency mode" and puts ovulation and conception on the back burner.

Get active

Couples who exercise regularly not only find it easier to conceive but are more likely to carry a healthy pregnancy to full term, experiencing fewer complications. Also, the happy hormones released when you exercise relax you and equip you to cope with the stresses of trying for a baby.

Have sex every day

Researchers at a Sydney IVF clinic claim having sex every day in the week leading up to ovulation can boost not only the quality of your partner's sperm but its ability to move about.

watch your lifestyle

But don't get hung up on it

Says Zita: "While you can try to increase your likelihood of getting pregnant by pinpointing when you ovulate, my advice would be not to get hung up on technical details and just enjoy having regular sex."

Take supplements

"Opt for a good-quality preconception multi-vitamin containing folic acid," suggests Zita. "And take essential fatty acids."

Other useful supplements include B and E vitamins and zinc.

Nothing happening?

Nine out of 10 couples conceive within a year of trying but if it's taking longer, don't fret.

"Making love 15 times a month, most women will take around three months to conceive," says Zita. "But the older you are the longer it can take. If you're 35 or over and nothing's happened after six months, I'd suggest you seek advice from your doctor. If you're younger, you could wait up to a year."

Body-clocks and fertility

Your 20s

Experts say the average woman's fertility peaks around 24. Your chances of conceiving within a year of trying are about 98 by your late 20s.

Your 30s

In your 30s you've around a 15 in your early 30s, dropping to 65. At 40 your chance of conceiving within a year is about 40 to 50% - but Cherie Blair had her fourth child, Leo, at 45!

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