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Seven Tips for Conceiving Quickly at Home

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A blog by Art Castelbaum, MD, Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia & Central PA, January 27, 2016

As a reproductive endocrinologist, I am frequently asked whether there are steps individuals and couples can take to increase their chance of conceiving without seeing a fertility specialist. Here are some thoughts.

1. Consider talking to your gynecologist about preconception testing before attempting pregnancy. These tests include childhood immunizations, cystic fibrosis mutations, and infectious disease screening. Preconception testing helps ensure a good pregnancy and healthy baby.

2. Speaking of a healthy baby, all women attempting pregnancy should take at least 400 mcg of folic acid daily. Multivitamins such as Centrum or Women’s One A Day or even two Flintstones Complete vitamins work well.

3. There is no difference in pregnancy rates based on sexual position. Within a few minutes after intercourse, sperm are already in the fallopian tube where the egg is waiting. There is no benefit to prolonged rest after intercourse.

4. Dietary and lifestyle changes can improve your chances of conceiving quickly. Stop smoking! It damages your eggs. Several studies show better pregnancy rates if you drink less than three cups of coffee daily. Drink alcohol in moderation.

5. Ovulation typically happens 14 days prior to the onset of your next period. Eggs only live for 12-24 hours so timing intercourse is important. For most women with regular periods, starting an ovulation predictor kit on cycle day 12 works well (day one is first day of period). You should have intercourse the day the kit turns positive and the following day as well. For women with longer cycles (for instance 35 days), start the ovulation predictor kit 18 days before your expected period.

6. The frequency of intercourse matters. Men that do not ejaculate for five days typically have slower moving sperm. Slightly higher pregnancy rates are seen in couples that have intercourse daily at the time of ovulation. Some couples prefer a more natural approach. Intercourse every day to every other day between cycle days 12 and 18 works well for women with regular periods.

7. If you are under age 35, it is reasonable to wait for one year prior to evaluation by a fertility specialist. For women over age 35 you should be evaluated by a fertility specialist after trying for six months. Testing for infertility is simple and cost effective. Infertility treatments are highly successful! A single healthy baby is always the goal.