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From having sex on the penis of a chalk giant to ensuring your partner doesn't put his laptop on his lap (lest he harm his little swimmers), theories abound on ways you can improve your chances of conception. Most couples want to conceive sooner than later, but what measures can you take together to increase the chances of seeing those two blue lines appear in the window?
Here, we look at the practical, the strange, and the bizarre ideas that could help you increase your chances of conceiving.
Have more sex
Research has shown a 15% chance of conception for couples who have sex once a week rises to a whopping 50% chance of conception for couples who have sex four times a week. More sex equals higher quality sperm. Its quality starts to drop after three sex-free days. Normally, that doesn't matter. But it might make all the difference if you're trying to conceive.
Work out Your Fertile Window
If it isn't practical for you to be at it like a pair of jackrabbits throughout your cycle, work out your fertile window. The fertile window is the six-day period when conception is most likely to occur and ends on the day of ovulation. You are most likely to get pregnant three days before you ovulate.
You can work out your fertile window by calculating that ovulation occurs fourteen days before your period, or track ovulation using the ovulation tests available in every pharmacy.
Be a Healthy Weight
Both men and women should be a healthy weight if they want to conceive. Research has shown a twofold increase in time taken to conceive in women with a BMI above 25. Even worse, underweight women (with a BMI of below 19) took four times longer to conceive. Overweight men also have lower-quality sperm, meaning it may take their partner longer to conceive.
Protect His Swimmers
Male sperm quality could be affected by keeping a cell phone in his pant pocket and by using a computer on his lap. The increased heat could harm the long-term motility of his sperm. So make him use a table for his laptop, and have him keep his phone in a shirt pocket.
Men and women should both restrict caffeine consumption to just 250mg a day (one cappuccino, in some coffee shops). Higher levels of caffeine (just 500mg) are enough to reduce your chance of conception.
Swedish researchers have discovered that just two alcoholic beverages a day reduced fertility by 60%. So cut down the booze. Heck, you'll have to give it up anyway, when you're pregnant.
Give up Smoking
Smoking damages the uterus' receptivity to the egg, and reduces sperm production. Smoking also damages the DNA in your partner's sperm. So it's recommended that you quit smoking. You'll have to give it up when you're pregnant, anyway; smoking while pregnant increases the risk of miscarriage and of giving birth to an unhealthy, low birth-weight baby.
While we all know we should eat right when we're pregnant, the evidence suggests that eating the following foods could boost the chances of conception:
- Beans: boosting zinc levels, which may be responsible for low fertility and poor egg-health
- Bananas: full of hormone-regulating Vitamin B6
- Citrus fruits: full of Vitamin C, necessary for sperm motility
- Spinach: full of Folate, which improves dysfunctional ovulation and makes sperm healthier
- Salmon: full of Omega-3 Fatty-Acids, necessary for sperm maturation
- Ice cream: Full-fat ice-cream protects against ovulatory infertility (where you don't ovulate)
These methods are all aimed at putting your body (and your partner's) in the best physical condition it can be before you conceive a child. Some of the upcoming methods are a little unconventional, but - if you have tried everything else - they may be just what you're looking for.