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Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after 12 months of actively trying. Many couples start being worried before reaching that one-year mark, while others are not sure whether to see a doctor even after they have been TTC for longer.

Women who are older than 35 should never wait too long before discussing their fertility with a medical professional. But, there are a few steps that may help you conceive naturally when you thought you may have to turn to artificial reproductive techniques. 

Taking care of your health

Every woman who is trying to get pregnant is told that she should be taking folic acid. Folic acid is the only nutritional supplement that has been proven to prevent birth defects. The stores of this B vitamin take around three months to build up in your body; folic acid has an accumulative effect. Most couples who would like to have a baby are aware of these things, and also of the recommended dose 400 mg daily. What is less frequently talked about is the fact that both men and women who want to conceive need to be in good health to reach their optimum fertility. You can take all the folic acid you want, but that will not do you any good if you are suffering from other nutritional deficiencies.

A good diet is the single most important thing you can do yourself to influence your fertility. Remember that taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement is a good step, but that artificial forms of vitamins and minerals are never as easily absorbed as natural sources. Vitamins B6, C and E play especially important roles in fertility, by supporting a healthy reproductive system and a proper hormonal balance. Vitamin C, which builds a good immune system, is particularly essential to men. Zinc, calcium and iron are essential minerals for anyone who is trying to conceive. Omega 3 fatty acids found in cod liver oil, for instance have been proven to influence fertility positively and may even reduce the symptoms of reproductive conditions such as endometriosis. And remember, men are just as crucial for the reproductive process as women. Men do need to focus on their diet as much as women do!

Exercise regularly

A healthy and balanced diet should always be supported by a regime of moderate exercise. Exercising for 30 minutes to an hour on most days will do the trick. You don't have to hit the gym; walking to work will do the trick just fine. If you are overweight, that is another good reason to engage in an exercise program. Of course, exercise alone may not help you to lose weight, but it may contribute (depending on the causes of being overweight). Being either overweight or underweight will negatively influence every individual's fertility to some extent and this is especially true when you are extremely overweight or underweight.

Knowing your menstrual cycle

Two people who are healthy and fertile will get pregnant within the year if they have regular sex, including during the woman's fertile window. It is still worth mentioning that it is possible to fail to get pregnant even if you are completely fertile, if you have sex at the wrong times of the month. There are two possible approaches to avoiding this problem. The first approach is having sex nearly every day, throughout the month perhaps excluding the time of your menstruation, when you probably don't feel like doing the deed and can safely assume that you are not ovulating. Sperm has the ability to survive within the female reproductive system for approximately five days. Having sex every two or three days should, therefore, cover you completely. The second and probably more popular approach is to monitor your menstrual cycle to determine with certainty when you ovulate. There are a few possibilities if you want to take this approach and have not already tried it. I personally recommend using ovulation predictor kits for their ease. Fertility charting using basal body temperature, or monitoring cervical mucus, will work too.

And... Captain Obvious

Just because it is important, I will talk about it. You know, those things you will be insulted to see mentioned. Don't smoke, don't drink, don't do drugs. Try to keep stress to a minimum, because it will definitely make you feel better and may even do your fertility some good.

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