10 Things You Should Do When Trying to Conceive - and 3 You Shouldn't

In theory, getting pregnant is easy.  After all, most of us spend a good many years aiming to not get pregnant, so we assume that when we want to it will all happen easily and quickly.  Right time of the month, no contraception and Bob's your uncle, or something like that.  In reality, it will take most couples 6 months or longer to get pregnant.  But there are plenty of things you can do to boost your chances of getting pregnant - beyond the obvious!  Here are 10 things you should do when trying to conceive - and 3 you shouldn't.

Clean up your act

Before you even think about trying to conceive it is best to start preparing your body, and your mind, for this amazing process.  A diet of junk food, unpredictable meal times and minimal fruit and veg, coupled with stress, alcohol, smoking and drugs is not going to give you the best chance of conceiving, or give your baby the best chances in life.

It's time to clean up your act, and your partner's.  In fact, his is the most important as it takes 3 months or more to improve sperm health.  Ditch the cigarettes and drugs, prescription or other, and stop drinking alcohol.  Cut out over the counter drugs like aspirin and paracetamol, and schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss reducing or stopping any prescribed medication.

Read on for how to improve your diet to boost your fertility...

Try at the right time

Ideally, you should be having sex regularly throughout the month, every 2-3 days is ideal.  Ovulation, when an egg is released, is your most fertile time and usually occurs 12 to 14 days before the start of your next period.   Intercourse every other day at this time will increase your chances of conceiving.  To find out exactly when you are ovulating, try mapping your basal body temperature or buy a good quality ovulation testing kit.

We recommend the Clearblue Advanced Digital Ovulation Test Kit

Start a new eating regime

This is not the time to go on a diet, although reaching your ideal body weight before trying to conceive will certainly help.  But it is time to start a new way of eating.  Eat more fruit and vegetables; whole grain bread, pasta and cereals; brown rice; beans and pulses; and healthy oils in olives, avocados and nuts.

Eat less meat, mercury-rich fish, liver, and raw or under-cooked eggs, meat or fish.  Cut back as much as possible on sugar, and start cooking all meals from scratch so you know exactly what's in them.  Additives and chemicals are best avoided, as well as saturated trans fats in things like cakes, biscuits and other processed foods.  Take up baking instead and make a new treat each week using natural, real ingredients.

It's advisable to take a good quality supplement. While it is ideal to get all of your nutrients from your food, it is almost impossible to cover every possibility every day, so a good quality pro-conception supplement is a must.

Eat a rainbow

Forget five a day, aim for at least 10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.  One of these should be beans or pulses, such as a handful of chickpeas or beans, and two should be leafy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower or cabbage.

Aim to eat all the colours of the rainbow during the day.  A fruit platter at breakfast and an everything in salad for lunch or dinner is a great way to do it, then anything else you have for your other meal or snacks is a bonus.

Eating folate-rich foods in addition to a supplement is also recommended.  So stock up on foods such as avocados, citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables like cabbage, kale and broccoli, and beans.

Eat more but less

Try to eat 5-6 small meals a day of equal sizes, rather than a heavy meal in the evening and sporadic eating during the day.  Your body will be better nourished and your energy levels will be more easily maintained.

Focus on high quality foods with the biggest nutritional punch and base your meals around those rather than the usual approach of carbs or meat first then everything else.  For example, cucumbers are an excellent source of B-vitamins and antioxidants which can help boost cell health and improve egg quality.

While beetroot has been shown in several studies to combat infertility by helping to improve uterine lining and blood flow, as well as containing high levels of folate, and antioxidant-rich pomegranate juice has been shown to boost fertility by increasing blood flow to the uterus, promoting uterine lining, and even boosting sperm quality in men.

Improve sperm quality

Fertility is often seen as a women's issue and  her responsibility, but it really does take two to tango!  Encourage your partner to do his bit, cutting out smoking, recreational drugs, prescription and over the counter medications, and alcohol.

He can also eat better, especially zinc-rich foods such as pumpkin seeds, nuts, beans and lentils and whole grains.  A rich variety of fruit and vegetables are key for him too.  For example, carrots are a rich source of beta carotene, found in one study to improve sperm motility by 6.5% to 8%.

He should also avoid hot baths, wear loose underwear, take trousers off at home (David Beckham sarong anyone?), and get that darn mobile phone out of his trouser pocket at all times.


Don't suddenly take up marathon running, but maintaining your usual exercise regime or starting a gentle one is recommended.  A daily 2 mile walk, in nature, will improve your fitness, help reduce stress, and improve your breathing, all beneficial for a healthy pregnancy.  There are lots of easy ways to boost your daily step count for better all round fitness.

Get your vitamin N

Spend more time in nature, whether woodland, forest, beach or park.  Get away from pollution and get out into the fresh air at least once a day to breathe deeply and change your perspective.  Spend a few minutes being grateful for everything good in your life and letting go of negativity and worry.  This will help reduce stress and tension, and relax your body and mind to leave them open to pregnancy.

Embrace fertility

There's a reason our ancestors made so many fertility symbols.  The everyday miracle of conception and birth is pretty mind-blowing and celebrating it and embracing its wonder is key to preparing ourselves for our own miracle.  Surround yourself with images of fertility and newness and abundance.  Create a mood board with images that inspire you.

And 3 things not to do...


Despite what the media tells us, most people do get pregnant when they want to.  And if it doesn't work out for you, there are other options and means of assistance out there.  To give yourself the best chance, prepare your body and mind for pregnancy, and do everything you possibly can to make it happen.

Worry is such negative energy and almost entirely pointless.  If there is something you can do about a problem, do it.  If not, don't waste your energy worrying about it.

Try to step away from daily stresses and to keep the small stuff in perspective.  You have more important things to concern yourself with so rise above and retain your cool, composed self.

Practicing meditation or consciously adopting a more mindful approach to all aspects of life will help.  Find time every day for your 'me time' and simple self-care rituals that will make you calmer, happier and stronger.  If you have problems sleeping, start practicing some clean sleeping techniques.

Drink alcohol

Over the years the recommendation son drinking during pregnancy have changed often, but the only really safe amount of alcohol is zero.  Drinking can harm your baby when pregnant, and drinking while trying for a baby can seriously hamper your chances of conceiving.

Drink caffeine

Experts are divided on this one, saying that X, Y or Z amount is OK butt, in all honesty, wouldn't it be better to ditch it altogether for a while?  You shouldn't have caffeine when breastfeeding anyway, so make the switch to decaff tea or coffee now, and encourage your partner to do the same.  Taste-wise it is hard to tell the difference these days.  And don't forget the caffeine in cola drinks too, which are a big no-no for all sorts of reasons: caffeine, sugar, additives.

Proceive supplements are available online.
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