A healthy living blog from Marshfield Clinic

Trying to conceive: 6 tips to make it easier

Younger couple laying on the couch together

If you and your partner are trying to conceive, taking some simple steps to improve your health can increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

You’ve been trying to conceive a child for months and it’s becoming more and more frustrating. What can you do?

First of all, realize that conception can be delayed. However, there is a lot that can be done to help a couple trying to conceive, said Dr. Peter Johnson, a Marshfield Clinic obstetrician/gynecologist.

Ask questions

Couples can go for a full year or more of trying to conceive before infertility is identified. But that doesn’t mean you should take that long to discuss it with a physician.

“It’s never the wrong time for couples to ask what they can do. The majority of people simply need to be checked over and get reassurance that things are OK, but nature is just taking its time,” he said.

About 12 percent of couples have difficulty conceiving.

Take action before trying to conceive

You can help yourselves by following these six tips BEFORE trying to conceive:

  • The female should start taking a prenatal vitamin containing folic acid, a B vitamin that helps produce and maintain new cells.
  • If you’re a smoker, quit. Smoking raises the risk of infertility and miscarriage.
  • Limit, or better yet, stop drinking alcohol.
  • If you’re obese, make a commitment to a weight-loss program before becoming pregnant. Obesity is a major risk factor for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), one of the most common causes of infertility.
  • If you have any chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, get them under control.
  • If you are taking any medications, discuss with your doctor which ones are safe in pregnancy. These include prescription medications to control seizures, blood pressure and blood clot formation.

Johnson said difficulty conceiving is not necessarily because of a problem with the female’s reproductive system. One-third of cases are actually due to factors with the male, while another one-third are factors tied to the female. In the remaining one-third of cases, both spouses have factors contributing.

Don’t be shy

Sometimes couples are reluctant to discuss their apparent infertility, particularly when it comes to factors tied to the male. But it’s important couples be open about their concerns.

“People don’t understand there are things we can do to help them become pregnant,” he said. “And it’s not just about getting pregnant but having a healthy pregnancy without a major complication.”

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