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We've branched out quite a bit since we started blogging, tackling related topics like pregnancy, birth control, and caring for your baby. If you are currently trying to conceive your first baby, we hope that you'll soon want to read all about pregnancy.

Before you start trying to conceive

The typical couple might dive in to trying for a baby by discussing their relationship, finances, and how suitable their home is for little ones. You may also look into folic acid and other vitamin supplements, and decide whether to "go with the flow" or to actively boost your chances of conceiving by using an ovulation calendar (like the one on our site!) and ovulation tests. Those are all great steps. We'd also, however, encourage you to look at some other things. Besides the obvious things like quitting smoking before trying to conceive, you may also like to take a critical look at your weight and eating habits.

The healthier you are physically, the larger your chances of conceiving. Testing for sexually transmitted diseases is not very romantic, but the circumstances through which you can end up with an STD are wide enough to make testing common sense for everyone. Remember, STDs are often symptomless. If you have never been tested, or not recently, doing so before you get pregnant is a good idea.

Knowing your monthly cycle

Because the female fertility window is so short, everyone making an active effort to get pregnant benefits from having information about the menstrual cycle. This can be as approximate as writing down the dates of your menstrual periods and remembering to have sex roughly in the middle, or can be approached more scientifically with ovulation tests (which respond to hormones). Sperm can survive inside a woman's body for around five days, so the fertile window starts at five days before ovulation. With an ovulation calendar or charting to conceive, women will gain insights into the start of their fertile window as well as when the actual ovulation takes place.

Men's health matters just as much in the process of trying to conceive. Healthier men men who take care to answer the questions above just as diligently as their female partners and make positive changes where needed are bound to be more fertile. Sperm count is affected by the frequency of ejaculation. Most experts advise men to "have sex naturally, when they feel like it". The optimal number is around three times weekly. Having sex once a day will lower a man's sperm count and not having sex for longer than a week also causes fewer swimmers.

What if you are not pregnant after a while?

Most couples who are actively trying to get pregnant conceive within a year. Half will conceive within four months. If you are under 35, you should contact your doctor for fertility screening after two years of trying to conceive. Those who are over 35 years of age can already take that step after a year. Of course, if you have any specific concerns that you know of, like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or endometriosis, you should feel free to contact your doctor about fertility worries at the start of your baby-making efforts.

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