Many women believe they’ll get pregnant in the first month or two once they start trying to conceive. They’re often surprised when the stick doesn’t turn positive immediately.
It’s common — and normal — for conception to take a few months. If you’re healthy and trying to get pregnant, there are a few things you can do to speed up the process.
Here are seven tips that may help you get pregnant quickly.
1. See your doctor
Most women know how important it is to see their doctor once they’ve gotten the two pink lines on a pregnancy test. But did you know that a preconception visit (before you get pregnant) is just as important?
During this visit, you’ll discuss your general health and weight, and how to prepare for pregnancy. You can go over any other health concerns that may impact your ability to get pregnant or deliver a healthy child.
You can also talk about your current medications and supplements, and if necessary, determine pregnancy-safe alternatives.
2. Get to a healthy weight
Doctors know that being severely overweight or underweight can make it more difficult to get pregnant. It can also put you and your baby at risk for complications. These include:
- gestational diabetes
- high blood pressure
- low or high birth weight
- increased risk for a cesarean delivery
Experts recommend getting to a body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 24 to optimize your chances of a healthy pregnancy.
3. Focus on a healthy lifestyle
During pregnancy, your body needs vitamins and nutrients to sustain a pregnancy and help the baby grow. In addition to keeping you healthy, studies have shown that some foods may be better for your fertility than others.
Recommendations for a healthy fertility diet include:
- avoiding trans fats
- eating more protein from plant sources (tofu, beans, nuts) and less from animals
- eating whole grains
- switching to full-fat dairy products
- drinking water
- avoiding sugary beverages
Diet isn’t the only part of a healthy lifestyle. Moderate, daily exercise might help boost fertility. In addition to its health benefits, exercise can improve sleep and reduce stress. But experts caution against overdoing it. Too much exercise can interfere with ovulation.
4. Give up bad habits
In addition to eating right and exercising more, it’s important to nix bad habits before getting pregnant. Try to avoid excessive alcohol, cigarettes, and recreational drugs. You’ll also want to limit caffeine.
Using these substances can dramatically increase your baby’s risk for health complications, including:
- low birth weight
- premature delivery
- fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
- birth defects
If you’re unable to stop using alcohol, cigarettes, or recreational drugs, speak with your doctor. They can recommend resources to help you quit before becoming pregnant.
5. Have sex at the right time
When you’re trying to conceive, having sex at the wrong time is like not having sex at all. In order for conception to happen, sperm cells have to be in the reproductive tract around the time of ovulation to meet with an egg. Pregnany can’t occur if the sperm cells aren’t there within the 24-hour window that the egg is “good” after ovulation.
Sperm cells can last in the female reproductive tract for up to five days. A few days before you expect to ovulate is usually the best time for baby-making sex.
This, of course, depends on knowing when you ovulate, making it especially important for you to track your cycle.
6. Track your periods
This might be one of the most important things you can do to help increase your chances of a quick pregnancy. Keeping track of your periods for several months can help you recognize irregular cycles and identify other health conditions that you should talk to your doctor about.
Tracking your cycles also helps you identify when you ovulate, or expect to ovulate. Greater awareness of your fertility symptoms can make it easier to time when to have sex. Ovulation usually occurs around 14 days before your next expected period. Timing sex for a few days before this can optimize your chances of conception.
There are also many products and strategies you can use to track ovulation. These include ovulation detectors, basal body temperature measurements, and monitoring cervical fluid and position.
You can also track your fertility on a helpful app.
7. Get the help you need
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, pregnancy just doesn’t happen. Experts generally recommend that you speak with a fertility doctor if you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for a year or more.
If you’re older than 35, you should consider seeing a fertility doctor if you aren’t pregnant within six months.
The above suggestions for getting healthy aren’t just for women. Your partner’s health, weight, and habits all play a role in making and sustaining healthy sperm cells. These can make it easier for you to get pregnant.
Being overweight, or chronic use of alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes can all make it harder to conceive. These unhealthy habits can potentially affect sperm cells.
The best time to make lifestyle changes is in advance of trying to get pregnant. Getting healthy together with your partner is one of the best things you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant, having a healthy pregnancy, and delivering a healthy baby.