Trying to Conceive: Help & Advice

Information and support to improve your chances of becoming a parent

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What can you do to increase your chances of pregnancy?  

Track ovulation. Having sex at the right time in your cycle will dramatically increase your chances of a conception.

Stop drinking and smoking! Both have been shown to damage the quality of egg and sperm cells and can cause fatigue and weight gain.

Having a balanced diet. A balanced diet will provide key nutrients necessary to optimise sperm and egg production.

Achieve a healthy weight. Research has shown that being overweight negatively affects fertility. Equally, being underweight is also associated with infertility.

Take the right supplement. It can be difficult to get everything you need from your diet so supplementing with the right balance of micronutrients ensures you and your partner’s egg or sperm are of the best quality to conceive. With most high street conception vitamins lacking clinical evidence, choosing a supplement that has clinical evidence of effectiveness will give you the best chance of success.

Exercise regularly. Just doing some physical exercise for 30 minutes between three and five times per week – little and often will not only make you make feel better, but a study has also shown that regular moderate exercise led to earlier conception.

How does age affect fertility?

Women are most fertile between 20 and 35 years of age. The odds of conceiving start to decline quite quickly after the age of 35 and by the time a woman reaches their forties it can become more difficult. As a women approaches the later fertile years, not only do pregnancy rates drop but the incidence of miscarriage (early pregnancy loss) increases. When women go through the menopause, usually around the age of 50-55, it then becomes impossible for them to conceive naturally. Men, can often still father a child when they are older. However, male fertility does decline with age and sperm quality does reduce as you get older. 

Starting or growing your family is one of the biggest decisions you’ll make in your life so you shouldn’t try to conceive until you feel ready. However it is important to be aware of the ‘biological clock’ and your life plan. Some women consider freezing/banking high quality eggs from their most fertile years for potential use when they are a little older due to career or because they have not found the right partner. However, it is important to remember that egg freezing/banking is not a guarantee of becoming pregnant or having a baby.

Warning signs for difficulty conceiving?

For couples

Struggling to conceive is defined as those couples who have been trying for over a year without success despite having regular unprotected sex. If this could be you, it is likely you may have a fertility problem and we recommend you speak to a specialist. If you are over the age of 35 it is suggested to take action sooner, after around 6 months of trying without success. Infertility is just as common in men and women so it is important that both you and your partner undergo infertility investigations at the same time. 

Obesity – many studies have shown that women who are obese are less likely to conceive and more likely to experience complications if they do get pregnant. For men, being obese has been shown to reduce sperm quality and cause infertility. 

For women

If you are having regular periods its likely that you are also ovulating regularly, however this may not always be the case.

No Periods – Women who are not having periods will not ovulate. This can be due to various hormonal issues or being significantly underweight.

Irregular periods – This can mean you are only ovulating once every few months, if at all, reducing your chances of pregnancy. Many women with irregular periods will have PCOS.

Pain during sex – This can be an indicator of an underlying health condition like endometriosis or the presence of an infection, it is important to speak to your doctor immediately if you experience pain during intercourse.

For men 

Erectile dysfunction – this can be related to psychological or physical factors. If you or your partner are struggling to get or maintain an erection it could be a major obstacle in your efforts when trying to conceive. 

Sperm issues – a noticeable change in the volume of semen can be a sign of reduced sperm count. Also any changes in the colour or odour of your semen can be a sign of infection.

If you or your partner are experiencing any of the signs listed above you should speak to your healthcare professional as soon as possible.

woman sat on sofa worried about chances of pregnancy after miscarriage
couple with hands clasped nervously waiting for IVF results

How does nutrition impact ovulation?

Because a woman is born with every egg she will ever have, when it comes to trying to conceive many mechanisms within the body must function correctly even before ovulation. A good quality egg can take 3 to 4 months to fully mature to the stage of ovulation so taking the right nutrients to support this development process is crucial. Impryl’ s activated micronutrient formula helps support this process fully so your body can release the best quality egg.

However in some cases some women do not ovulate, this is called anovulation and is common in PCOS women. Many PCOS women are deficient in myo-inositol but will be unaware of it. Inofolic Alpha contains myo-inositol and alpha-lactalbumin, this combination has been shown to restore ovulation in 95% of PCOS women.

Additional nutrients/vitamins that can help prepare your body for ovulation and pregnancy, which is why a healthy balanced diet is recommended. If you are deficient in any specific vitamin or mineral it is wise to supplement.

It is well known that supplementing with folic acid (vitamin B9) is important when already pregnant. However, it’s important that you take folic acid tablets for two to three months before you conceive. This allows it to build up in your body to a level that gives the most protection to your future baby against neural tube defects, such as spina bifida.

Most fertility supplements promote the use of strong antioxidants to combat oxidative stress, however the latest Cochrane review shows that there is very little improvement in pregnancy rates from taking oral antioxidants. These antioxidants can upset the delicate metabolic balance necessary for optimal sperm production. Therefore strong antioxidants could be doing more harm than good, so it is important to choose a supplement that maintains this vital balance such as Impryl.

Trying to Conceive FAQs

How long does it take the average couple to conceive?

Most couples will get pregnant within 12 months of trying if they are having sex regularly and are not using contraception. For women, the chances of success fall quite sharply each year once they reach the age of 35 but It is important to remember that both men and women become less fertile as they get older and the causes of infertility are almost equally spread between men and women.

What makes conception difficult?

Fertility Specialist Dr Gill Lockwood say’s “human beings are actually not very fertile even young couples have a one in four chance of getting pregnant each month they try and by the women’s mid-thirties this chance has dropped to one in eight.”. On top of this, modern lifestyle is often not conducive to having good fertile health. The truth is that, even if you are lucky and have perfect fertile health, there are things that can go wrong at every stage which make successful conception unlikely.

What not to do while trying to conceive?

Try to not put yourself under too much pressure. It is very natural to feel stressed and anxious if you have been trying to conceive for a while with no success. Try to maintain relaxed, make manageable changes to your lifestyle to give yourself the best possible chance. If you have been trying to conceive for over 1 year without success, make an appointment to see your doctor for further investigation.

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