When it comes to conception, there is no one size fits all set of tips that I can offer for getting pregnant.

As a Maternal Fetal Specialist, I spend a lot of time talking through some of the most well studied recommendations for getting pregnant.

It is important to mention that each person is different and advice should be individualized. I strongly recommend seeing an Ob-Gyn or maternal fetal medicine specialist for a “preconception” visit to review what you can do to optimize your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy outcome.

For those who are starting this journey, I want this article to serve as a starting point to better understanding your fertility.


Frequently Asked Questions


How can I increase my chances of getting pregnant?
What is the biggest barrier for women getting pregnant today?
What is the most common cause of infertility?
How long does it take to get pregnant?
Dr. Christen Maren tells her story


How can I increase my chances of getting pregnant?


There are numerous steps that you can take to increase your chances of getting pregnant that include your age, weight, nutrition, lifestyle and of course, timing.

Some of my recommendations for increasing your chance of getting pregnant include:

  • Try to achieve and maintain a healthy weight prior to conception. Obese women have a higher risk of complications (a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal)
  • Start taking a prenatal vitamin at least a month before trying to conceive.
  • Monitor ovulation and have sex at least every other day during the fertile window

Two other important elements that you should bear in mind include your age and daily nutrition.


Age


Age plays a very large role in a woman’s ability to conceive.

Fertility naturally declines with age. A healthy, fertile 30-year-old woman has a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month she tries. By age 40, a woman’s chance is less than 5% per cycle.

For women in their 20s, the chances of getting pregnant within 1 year is 78-86 percent.


Nutrition


There is good evidence that preconception dietary patterns among both men and women have effects on fertility.

Diets with high consumption of whole grains, monounsaturated or polyunsaturated oils, vegetables, fruits, and fish, have been associated with improved fertility in women and higher semen quality in men. Conversely, diets high in saturated fats and sugar have been linked to poorer fertility outcomes.

Women should aim to eat diets high in the "big 5" nutrients: folate, calcium, iron, zinc, and fiber. Ideally, these nutrients should come from freshly cooked and prepared foods.

Women trying to conceive should:

  • Limit alcohol. Heavy drinking is associated with ovulation disorders.
  • Limit caffeine. Caffeine should be limited to less than 200 mg per day, which equates to one or two 6- to 8-ounce cups of coffee a day.
  • Avoid exposure to toxins such as mercury which is found in shark, mackerel and tuna.

What is the biggest barrier for women getting pregnant today?


Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. There are many causes of infertility.

Approximately 1/3 of cases are due to male factors, 1/3 are due to female factors, and the remaining 1/3 are due to multiple factors, or unidentified factors.

In females, ovulation disorders are the most common underlying cause of infertility, accounting for approximately 80% of anovulatory infertility cases. Women with ovulation disorders may ovulate infrequently or not all.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that causes women to not ovulate, or to ovulate irregularly. PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.


What is the biggest barrier in women getting pregnant today?


In today’s society, age-related infertility is increasingly common because more women are waiting until their 30s and 40s to have children.

In fact, about 20% of women in the United States now have their first child after age 35. Reasons for delayed childbearing include not having a partner, wanting to achieve financial security, or wanting to accomplish certain career goals.

Delayed childbearing is not always a conscious choice, and many women are unaware that age is a major factor in female infertility. As a woman ages, the quantity and quality of her eggs decline, and she is more likely to have difficulty conceiving.


How long does it take to get pregnant?


I think many women expect that conception will occur quickly. It’s important to set reasonable expectations when attempting to conceive.

For most healthy couples trying to conceive, the chance that a woman will become pregnant are 15% to 25% in any particular month.

The majority of couples will successfully conceive within 3 months of trying.

Amongst all couples trying to conceive:

~ 30 percent will conceive on the first attempt
~ 60 percent will conceive within 3 months
~ 80 percent will conceive within six months
~ 85 percent will conceive within 1 year
~ 91 percent will conceive within 3 years

There are many factors or variables that can influence one’s ability to conceive and should be avoided if you are hoping to get pregnant in the future.

Some of these variables include:

  • Being over or underweight
  • Using tobacco or alcohol
  • Being exposed to occupational or environmental hazards
  • Taking illegal drugs

Dr. Christen Maren tells her story


This week, LetsGetChecked speaks with Christine Maren D.O. about her top tips for getting pregnant.

Christine Maren D.O. is a functional medicine physician with a background in family medicine. She is the founder of a high-tech, innovative medical practice. Dr. Maren’s personal health challenges with chronic digestive issues, autoimmunity, hypothyroidism, gluten intolerance and recurrent pregnancy loss motivated her to study functional medicine which is a form of integrative medicine. Dr. Maren speaks to LetsGetChecked about the fundamentals of pregnancy and motherhood, having recently welcomed a baby girl to the family.

picture-of-dr-christine-maren

There are so many women struggling with infertility or pregnancy loss. I think we can support each-other and learn from one another. Sometimes it’s just nice to know you’re not the only one.

What I learned very intimately was that miscarriage is something many women have experienced but tend not to talk about it.

My health issues took centre stage when my husband and I tried for a second child and suffered from recurrent miscarriages. At one point, I was seeing an internist gastroenterologist, endocrinologist, dermatologist, gynaecologist and fertility specialist.

I felt heartbroken and scared because recurrent pregnancy loss reinforced to me that something was wrong with my body.

I was motivated more than ever to make some drastic changes and my family was 100% behind me.

picture-of-dr-christen-maren-and-her-family

For people who are having issues with pregnancy loss or infertility, it’s ideal to work with someone who can help identify underlying problems.

I think of a healthy diet as a foundation for everything, it's important to eat whole, organic, fresh foods, clean protein, and healthy fats. However, a proper diet alone can’t overcome other issues like over and underactive thyroid function.

Despite my struggles with infertility, I now have a beautiful baby girl, and my advice to new mothers is to take a nap!

When it comes to overcoming infertility issues, my advice is to get to know your body as much as possible.

Monitor Your Health With LetsGetChecked

Becoming a mother is a different experience for everyone. At LetsGetChecked, we want to help you, every step of the way.

At LetsGetChecked, we offer a range of fertility tests to suit your needs.

If you would like to find out more about our fertility testing options, you can contact us via live chat where we will explain the full process of testing.

From your heart to your hormones and your vitamins to your vitality, LetsGetChecked offers convenient and confidential health tests to everybody, for every body. Using your personalized online profile, you can monitor every aspect of your well-being. Simply order your test online. Self-collect your sample at home. Return your sample to our accredited laboratories in a pre-paid self-addressed envelope.

Receive your results in 2-5 days. LetsGetChecked will support you, every step of the way. If your results are positive or outside a normal range, a fully certified doctor or nurse from the LetsGetChecked medical team will guide you through a personalized treatment program.

It’s good to know.


Read: Getting Pregnant After 40: Facts And Tips


Written by Dr. Kelly Orzechowski | Edited by Hannah Kingston