Pinpoint Your Fertile Window
— As you might already know, in order for conception to take place, you must ovulate and at least one vital sperm needs to fertilize the egg within 12-24 hours of the egg being released from the ovary. Because sperm can only live for 5-6 days in the female reproductive tract and only a small number of sperm will even survive the long journey, it is recommended that couples plan to have intercourse several times in the days leading up to ovulation as well as on the day of ovulation. To do this optimally requires that you have a good idea of when you will ovulate each cycle. Ovulation Predictor Kits are a popular method for predicting ovulation. OPKs detect the presence of luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine. Approximately 12-36 hours before ovulation occurs, the amount of LH in your body "surges". By testing with OPKs, you can identify this LH surge, which allows you to know that ovulation is just around the corner and that you are in your fertile window.
Restore Your Hormonal Balance
— If you have irregular periods, your path to parenthood might end up being a long, tiresome journey. For women with chronic irregularity, it is likely that there is an underlying hormonal imbalance that is impacting the frequency of ovulation and/or menstruation. The herb commonly known as Chasteberry (Vitex agnus-castus), included in the fertility-enhancing supplement FertilAid for Women, is frequently used to help women restore hormonal balance and cycle regularity. The active compounds found in Chasteberry help to promote fertility by decreasing prolactin levels in the body.
Check His Swimmers
— Did you know that up to 40 percent of males suffer from low sperm count? Now, if the idea of heading to the urologist for a sperm count test is a bit intimidating to your partner, you might suggest that he get an at-home sperm test, like SpermCheck Fertility. SpermCheck, is a fast, accurate, affordable and simple method for determining if his sperm count is within "normal" range (above 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen is the accepted standard for "normal" sperm count) in the privacy of your own home.
Transform Your Diet
— Leave those junk foods on the shelf, and try to incorporate more whole grains, vegetables, colorful fruits (for the antioxidant compounds found in these foods) and lean sources of protein in your diet.
Shed Those Extra Pounds
— Your optimal BMI (body mass index) is between 18.5 and 25. A BMI above 25 decreases your chances of getting pregnant and increases pregnancy complications. It is best to lose the unwanted pounds before actively trying to conceive, as weight loss causes toxins (that had been stored in your fat cells) to be released into your body. To ensure the healthiest pregnancy possible, you will want to achieve your optimal weight before becoming pregnant.
— Quit using tobacco and drink alcohol only in moderation.
Exercise But Don’t Overdo It
— A healthy lifestyle definitely includes regular exercise, so if you are more couch potato than marathon runner, stepping up your exercise habits will go a long way in improving your overall health and enhancing your fertility.
— According to many fertility experts, chronic stress can certainly be a fertility buster, as it causes the body to be in "fight or flight" mode constantly, which suppresses reproductive hormones. Again, yoga is your friend here, as is acupressure or acupuncture.
Dr. Amos Grunebaum is double board certified in obstetrics/gynecology and maternal-fetal medicine (high-risk pregnancy). He is recognized as one of New York's foremost Ob/GYNs as evidenced by his regular inclusion in Castle Connolly's "Top Doctors: New York." Dr. Grunebaum is the former director of WebMD's Fertility Center and is one of the Internet's leading authorities on fertility and pregnancy.