Trying to get pregnant and looking for tips to stack the odds in your favour? If you want to conceive, these fertility-boosting tricks might speed the process up.
1. Have sex!
"How else am I going to do it?" we hear you cry. Yes, no-one needs telling that sex is the vital element when it comes to making babies, but how you go about it might make a difference.
Use an ovulation calendar to identify your most fertile times (although don't get bogged down with timing it to the hour!). You could also research different positions - missionary has long been said to be best for conceiving, though there is no definitive proof that one position is better than another. 2. Lie on your back after sex
Bear with us, because the science on this one is a bit iffy. After all, lying on your back to help the sperm doesn't exactly sound like sophisticated science - but research indicates there might be something to it.
A study conducted in 2009 showed that artificial insemination was more likely to be successful if the woman remained lying down for a while after the procedure. That doesn't necessarily prove the same applies to actual intercourse, but it can't hurt to try it.
Some women swear by raising their legs, or even 'bicycling' in the air for a minute or two. If nothing else, it'll be good for your muscle tone!
3. Stay calm
The jury is still out on whether stress impacts on a woman's fertility - a 2014 study in the US purported to show that it did, but the difference between conception rates for highly stressed and less stressed women was very slight.
But even if the science is inconclusive, there's a very good non-biological reason to stay as chilled out as possible - stress is proven to decrease your sex drive.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Obesity can reduce chances of conception, so if you are overweight consider cutting down on fattening foods and getting your running trainers out. Being overweight can also impact on male fertility, so you might want to get your partner on the treadmill with you.
Don't overdo it, though - being underweight is also a risk factor for infertility. If you are severely underweight, you may not ovulate at all. Consult your GP if you're concerned that your weight might be an issue.
5. Eat the right foods
If you want to get pregnant, it makes sense to boost the nutrients and vitamins that influence your ovulation cycle. These include folic acid, vitamin B6 and zinc, found in foods from asparagus to mackerel. Check out our article on fertility superfoods - a few of them might surprise you!
6. Don't smoke
Smoking, especially if you're on over 10 a day, has been found to reduce your chances of conception. The chemicals in cigarettes can damage your eggs and cause problems with your fallopian tubes, among other medical risks.
Once you're pregnant, you'll be cutting out the ciggies anyway, so you might as well practice now.
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7. Don't drink
Heavy drinking can lead to serious ovulating problems - you might even stop ovulating altogether - but even light consumption can cause imbalances in your cycle.
Once that pregnancy test comes up positive, you'll be drinking an occasional glass of wine or not at all, so you might as well get a head start.
8. Cut down on caffeine
It's starting to sound like the best way to become pregnant is to lead a very dull life, we know, but if you're a caffeine junkie, now might be the time to kick the habit. Women who consume high levels of caffeine take longer to get pregnant on average than those who don't.
How much is too much? Most experts recommend no more than two cups of coffee per day. Keep an eye on your fizzy drink consumption, too - particularly energy drinks, which often contain high levels of caffeine.
9. Take folic acid
It is recommended for pregnant women to take supplements of folic acid, but it can also be beneficial before you conceive.
Taking 4000 micrograms daily in the three months before pregnancy increases the chances of a healthy conception by lowering the risk of defects such as spina bifida. Beans, pulses and leafy greens all contain natural folic acid for an extra boost.
10. Don't forget to get your man involved!
It isn't all on you when it comes to increasing your chances of conception. Your partner should be taking care of his fertility, too.
A healthy body weight, plenty of zinc (found in eggs and seafood, among other things) and keeping the testicles from getting overheated (yes, really, avoid those laptops!) will all guarantee maximised fertility.
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