Trying to get pregnant should, theoretically, be THE MOST FUN THING EVER. At the start of the COVID19 pandemic, many women delayed child bearing plans, and many infertility clinics were shuttered. But, as the COVID19 pandemic now drags on, thousands of women across the country are trying to figure out how best to protect themselves and their chances of conceiving. Trying to get pregnant is, in fact, valuable training for parenthood. When it comes to having kids, you will never have complete control again (much like everything about living through a global pandemic).
At ART Compass, we guide the “TTC” (trying to conceive) journey, so we decided to put together the top fertility tips from our experts. Once couples decide it’s time to have a baby, having to wait is quite frustrating, whether you have lost a job, income, health insurance related to COVID19, or you’ve been trying for a year or for a month and you’re still not pregnant yet.
1. Take your Prenatals, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, and CoQ10
Folic Acid is the single most recommended substance, because it prevents major birth defects in the developing brain and spine of your baby. Many different studies have pointed out the ability of Coenzyme Q10 supplementation, 600 mg/day for 60 days, to improve the ovarian response to stimulation. Although the data for vitamin D and fertility is not entirely conclusive, several studies have found that vitamin D blood levels of 30 ng/mL or higher are associated with higher pregnancy rates.
2. Track Your Ovulation like a Stalker
Recently, Harper et. al. looked at over half a million ovulation cycles worth of data collected via the FDA Approved Natural Cycles app to enhance our understanding of the key stages of ovulation. The results demonstrated that few women have that textbook 28 day cycle, with some experiencing very short or very long cycles. The findings show that an average cycle lasts for 29.3 days and only approximately 13% of cycles are 28 days in length! In the entire study, only 65% of women had cycles that lasted between 25 and 30 days. It is very important to time your intercourse correctly when TTC. Knowing your fertile days is the first step!
3. Have a Preconception Check Up
Have a complete physical, including a pap smear and breast exam, because it’s much easier to diagnose and treat problems before getting pregnant. You can have your fallopian tubes checked to make sure they are “open”, your uterus checked to make sure you don’t have fibroids, scar tissue or ovarian cysts. A semen analysis will tell you the health of your partner’s sperm. You may even have the three hormones that regulate fertility, FSH, Estrogen and AMH checked! Antimüllerian hormone (AMH) is an indicator of how many eggs you may have left. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is produced by your pituitary gland and signals your ovaries to release an egg every month. Estradiol (E2) is another female sex hormone produced in the ovaries that rises around ovulation.
4. De-Stress with Yoga, Meditation and Mind-Body Work
Does stress lead to infertility? Probably not but stress leads to binge eating and weight gain, drinking more, using nicotine and THC, and poor sleep and many other things that DO affect fertility. Recent research on women diagnosed with infertility, and if they take part in stress and relaxation methods—like mindfulness, some forms of yoga and other mind-body exercises— have demonstrated an actual difference in the time it takes them to conceive.
5. Know that it Can Take Up to One Year…
Focusing too much on what you don’t have (yet!) can become an obsession, and the more you dwell on the negative, the more you open yourself up to the possibility of depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, unworthiness and more. In general, a fertile couple has a good chance of getting pregnant within a year, as out of 100 couples trying to conceive naturally:
20 will conceive within one month;
70 will conceive within six months;
85 will conceive within one year;
90 will conceive within 18 months;
95 will conceive within two years.
About The Author
Dr. Carol Lynn Curchoe is the founder of the ART Compass App. She is also a reproductive biologist practicing clinical embryology.
Her PhD. research focused on animal cloning at the University of Connecticut and her postdoctoral fellowship (The Burnham Institute) focused on human embryonic stem cell research.
Her active research interests span reproductive biology, from basic embryology to cutting edge artificial intelligence applications for IVF.