Q&A: What Can I Do To Get Pregnant?

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QUESTION: I’ve been trying to get pregnant but it hasn’t worked yet. So, what should I do to get pregnant?

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Pregnant-Belly

Photo: Roberto Carlos Pecino (flickr.com)

Some research suggests that certain aspects of a woman’s diet can help her to increase the chances of becoming pregnant.

Most women and men want to become parents one day. And though about half of pregnancies are unplanned, that means that about half are planned pregnancies that women and men try to figure out how to make happen.

Health First

If you would like to become pregnant, the first step I would recommend is to check in with a healthcare provider, such as a gynecologist. Your doctor or nurse can examine you and test you for any health problems that may make it more difficult for you to become pregnant.

For example, untreated sexually transmissible infections, also called STIs, such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause scarring of a woman’s reproductive tract and make it more difficult for her to become pregnant. Other health conditions, such as some thyroid problems or hormonal problems, can also make it more difficult to become pregnant.

Many health problems can be treated so that a woman and her partner can more easily conceive. Your partner would also benefit from visiting his healthcare provider for a wellness exam as well.

Changes to Your Lifestyle

I would also encourage you to ask your healthcare provider about any lifestyle behaviors you may be able to modify that could help you to become pregnant more easily or could help you to sustain a healthier pregnancy should you become pregnant.

For example, your doctor or nurse may advise you to stop drinking alcohol and to stop smoking during this time. He or she may also advise you on exercise or eating.

Men tend to have higher sperm quality when they are of a healthy weight and are non-smokers. Women also tend to have healthier pregnancies and lower risk deliveries when they are of a healthy weight. What a healthy weight is for you, though, is something that only you and your healthcare provider can know as everyone’s bodies are built a little differently.

Stick to a Schedule

Couples who are trying to become pregnant sometimes find it helpful to start tracking the timing of a woman’s ovulation so that they know when she is most likely to become pregnant.

Having sex frequently, such as every 2 days or more often, may be recommended as well.

Some research suggests that certain aspects of a woman’s diet can help her to increase the chances of becoming pregnant; for example, whole milk products may be preferable to nonfat milk products for women who would like to become pregnant. Relaxation can also be an important part of becoming pregnant.

More Information

To learn more about healthy pregnancy and fertility issues, check in with your healthcare provider. You may also find it helpful to read The Fertility Diet and Our Bodies, Ourselves: Pregnancy and Birth.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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