Getting Pregnant

Are we doing everything possible to get pregnant?

Aside from enjoying time with each other and dreaming about all that a baby can bring, there are steps you and yours can take to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.

First, it's a good idea for both partners to have a general physical examination and medical history performed by a health practitioner. Medical history can be crucial, because things like previous infections, even dating as far back as childhood, can have later impact on an individual's fertility level.

Then, understanding your menstrual and ovulation cycles is key to timing love-making for conception. At-home techniques to track ovulation - charting your basal body temperature (BBT) and other signs of female fertility, like changes in cervical mucus - can not only help you plan for "productive" sexual relations, daily monitoring of your monthly cycle can give you clues about whether or not you may experience some of the most common fertility problems.

Some people who are trying to get pregnant like the additional guidance provided by at-home ovulation tests and fertility monitors. Ovulation predictors give women a heads-up as to their most fertile time in a given cycle.

There are also now home tests for male fertility, including SpermCheck®, an at-home male fertility test for measuring sperm concentration, to help determine - in only 10 minutes - if sperm count is normal or low.

It's important to understand that none of these tests alone can give a full picture of an individual's or couple's ability to get pregnant. For example, there is no home test available for gauging the morphology or shape of a man's sperm cells, nor one that can assess DNA integrity of either sperm or egg.

Finally, don't underestimate the impact of overall health on your fertility. For both men and women, study after study indicates that our body's systems respond and react to each other.

This means, for example, that health conditions like thyroid disease or diabetes can affect your ability to get pregnant. Make sure you're staying on top of ailments with regular check-ups and following physician recommendations.

Stress, too, whether acute and temporary or ongoing, can create hormonal responses in your body - especially for women - that can work against your baby-making plans.

Making healthful lifestyle changes now to help you conceive will pay off in the end.