Boost your odds of having a baby with these 10 tested tips.
Step 1: Relax! Learn a relaxation technique, like deep breathing or meditation, and practice it twice daily for 20 minutes. Fifty-four women with fertility problems did just that for 10 weeks, and within a few months a third of them were pregnant.
Step 2: Get in shape Determine your body fat percentage. Having too much or too little body fat can hinder conception. Twenty to 25 percent is considered healthy, so if you fall out of that range, consult your doctor for a program to correct it through diet and exercise.
TIP: Full-fat dairy like whole milk may increase a woman’s chances of getting pregnant.
Step 3: Eat selectively Favor foods that are believed to boost fertility, like whole grains over simple carbohydrates and plant-based protein like beans and nuts rather than animal protein.
TIP: Eat organic vegetables when possible. Pesticides can affect hormone balance, which in turn affects fertility.
Step 4: Limit alcohol Limit your alcohol consumption. According to a major Danish study, just five drinks a week lowers fertility rates in women. Also, you’ve no doubt heard this, but it bears repeating: Stop smoking! It lowers your odds of getting pregnant.
TIP: It takes two to make a baby! Ask your guy to cut down on booze and, if he smokes, to quit the cigs. If he’s taking steroids or bodybuilding supplements, he should stop those too.
Step 5: Reduce caffeine Reduce your caffeine intake, or consider eliminating it altogether. The jury is still out, but some studies suggest that high caffeine intake reduces female fertility.
Step 6: Don’t use an electric blanket Don’t use an electric blanket, which has been associated with a risk of miscarriage in the first month of pregnancy.
Step 7: Get moving Exert yourself for at least 30 minutes every day. Research shows that daily exercise can help women conceive, possibly by making hormone levels more conducive to procreation.
Step 8: Take folic acid Many doctors advise pregnant women to take folic acid to prevent birth defects, but research shows the supplement can help them conceive, too. In one study, women who took a daily multivitamin that contained folic acid had a 40 percent lower risk of ovulation problems than those who did not.
Step 9: Limit pain relievers Limit your use of over-the-counter pain medications, which can interfere with ovulation.
Step 10: Try acupuncture If you are trying in vitro fertilization, go for acupuncture. Two studies show it boosts IVF success rates.
Step 11: Have lots of sex in the winter, when sperm counts Have lots of sex in the winter, when sperm counts are higher.
FACT: One-third of fertility problems can be attributed to women, another third are related to men, and the remaining third are due to either a combination of both partners or an unknown cause.