8 Reasons you may not be getting pregnant
Let’s assume you and your partner are both healthy, with no underlying reproductive issues. There are certainly steps you can take to increase your chances at, and speed of, conception. Speaking to a professional for pre-conception planning is also a good idea, and your doctor can consult with you on specific ways to address your road to conception. If you’re 35 years or younger and have been trying for more than a year, 35 years or older and have been trying for more than 6 months, or have irregular menstrual cycles, it is suggested you reach out to your doctor to discuss potential underlying fertility issues.
1. Not tracking ovulation
Let’s revisit sex-ed for just a minute here to illustrate a point: 1) ovulation (the release of the female egg) occurs once with most dying within the 72-hour mark). All this to say that there are roughly 3-6 days every month when you CAN get pregnant, referred to as the “fertile window”. If you are having sex ~2-4 times each week, you’re likely covered, but if you’re on the lower end of the spectrum or otherwise having trouble making time for the baby dance, knowing when you’re ovulating can help. There are some intensive methods, and also some very simple ones (read more on how to track your ovulation here).
2. Not timing intercourse correctly
If you followed #1 above, you realize how the “fertile window” works. For your best chances at getting pregnant, several experts recommend having sex every 24-48 hours WITHIN your fertile window. If you’re waiting to have sex until you ovulate, you’ve missed a significant portion of the fertile window. Also, if you’re “saving” up sperm for the occasion, you’re better off not.
3. Not being sperm friendly
Many people are unaware that the majority of water-based lubricants that are available on the market can interfere with conception. That’s right, using these lubricants create a difficult environment within the vagina for sperm to pass through. Directly before and during ovulation, your cervical mucus will change to an egg-white like, slippery substance, which allows sperm to travel more easily. If you opt for a lubricant, try one that more closely mimics your natural sperm-friendly mucus, such as this one here (Preseed Personal Lubricant + 2 additional three packs of applicators).
4. Getting your ZZZs
Recent studies have shown that sleep is linked to fertility, and getting either too little or too much can have an impact on fertility. Aim for an ideal range of 7-8 hours of sleep per night. (source)
While not enough research has been done to specify the amount, most experts agree that alcohol consumption definitely has an impact on fertility. This Danish study (source) showed that drinking two units of alcohol/day can decrease fertility by up to 60%! Additionally, some studies have shown that alcohol also impacts male fertility by decreasing male sperm count (source). You and your partner certainly don’t need to cut alcohol out completely, but moderation is key here.
Most women know that smoking isn’t a good idea during pregnancy and that it can lead to miscarriage and low-birth weight babies, but smoking also has a serious impact on fertility. Looking at the analysis of numerous studies comparing fertility rates of smokers and non-smokers, it shows that smokers are anywhere from 40-60% more likely to be infertile, and that smoking can lead to delays in conception when conception does occur. Smoking can also contribute to egg depletion and an earlier onset of menopause, decreasing a woman’s fertile years. As if that weren’t enough, studies have also shown that smoking BEFORE conception can lead to higher chances of miscarriage. The bottom line here is that it’s a good idea to cut the smoking habit if you are in the process of trying to conceive (source).
7. Partner with lower sperm count
Society tends to think of conception and fertility as female-only issues, but men can also have issues that are impacting a couple’s fertility. Sperm count can be linked to several activities, including smoking, hot baths or hot tubs, and sitting for extended periods with a computer on their lap to name a few. A lower-than-normal sperm count can certainly contribute to difficulties trying to conceive, especially if there are other hurdles to overcome.
8. Not paying attention to BMI
For women, being either underweight or overweight (according to BMI) can lead to fertility trouble, by causing hormonal issues which interfere with regular ovulation. Additionally for men, being severely overweight can interfere with sperm production. The good news here is that small changes (gaining a bit of weight for underweight individuals or small weight loss for overweight individuals) can have significant impact on fertility.
Lynndavis http://www.parent.comAugust 06, 2015, 04:05 am | 0 likes
Lynndavis parentAugust 06, 2015, 04:04 am | 0 likes
Abusse86 I never really thought about your BMI being a factor in pregnancy, but it does make sense!October 10, 2014, 11:54 am | 0 likes
Crystal00713 I think the smoking thing made it harder for us to get pregnant.. Never really knew that was true, always thought it was a mythSeptember 04, 2014, 09:09 am | 0 likes
Debcaudill007 I actually had to gain 5 lbs. before I could get pregnant. That is hard to believe now because I never lost all of the weight I gained, but my son is worth it. I loved being pregnant, but had a very difficult birth, so I was advised not to have anymore children.September 04, 2014, 09:09 am | 0 likes
Amyorvin I am still smoking so maybe that's why. I am trying to quit.September 02, 2014, 11:14 am | 0 likes
Kohlenblakesmom... I was actually told it was because of me being Overweight. It took over 2 years, but it happened 7 i am now the proud mommy of two boys. :)September 02, 2014, 11:14 am | 0 likes
Pjgurganus This was a very interesting read and honestly, a few of these items I really hadn't considered. Thank you for the information!September 02, 2014, 11:14 am | 0 likes