Top tips for conception

If you've decided you're ready to start a family, find out more about getting your pregnancy off to the best start.

There are things you can do now before you try for a baby that will affect your fertility and the health of your pregnancy and baby.

1. Be ready for pregnancy

Around 1 in 3 women get pregnant within 1 month so be ready for pregnancy. Your health before pregnancy sets the foundation for the lifelong health of your baby. By following the advice below you can:

  • protect your baby’s development and future health
  • improve your fertility
  • reduce your risk of complications in pregnancy.

Once you start trying for a baby (stopped contraception) you won't know you're pregnant for the first few weeks. So making healthy lifestyle changes sooner rather than later will give you peace of mind when you get a positive pregnancy test.

Are you ready to conceive? Use our tool to find out.

Things to stop doing

These are harmful to both fertility and baby:

Things to do

These will all improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby:

2. Keep track of your menstrual cycle

Some women know to the day when their period will start, but many will not be sure after years taking hormonal contraception.

Make a note of your first day of your periods.Your full cycle begins on this day until the next day you start to bleed. This will give you a good indication of how long your cycle is and you can work out when you might be ovulating, which is when an egg will be released to be fertilised.

Find out more about how to get pregnant here

Go digital

There are also apps available that can help you track your menstrual cycle and ovulation dates.

Give your body time to adjust

If you’ve stopped taking hormone contraceptives (the Pill) your periods may be a bit irregular for the first few months while your body adjusts to the change in hormone levels. See our advice on stopping contraception.

3. Don't stop taking medication without talking to your doctor

If you take medication for a physical or mental health condition, talk to your doctor or specialist about it before you start trying for a baby. Don't stop taking it as your symptoms could come back or get worse. Your doctor will talk to you about the safest treatment for pregnancy.

4. Try not to get anxious

Trying for a baby can be an anxious time for many reasons. Taking care of your mental wellbeing is important now and during pregnancy.

5. Know when to look for help with fertility

If you have not become pregnant within a year of regular unprotected sex (sex every 2-3 days), see your GP. If you have a condition like endometriosis or PCOS or if you are 36 or over, talk to your GP after 6 months. Find out more about infertility here.

Sources

  1. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Fertility: assessment for people with fertility problems, London NICE, 2013
  2. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, Routine antenatal care for healthy pregnant women, clinical guideline 62, London NICE, 2008
  3. Judith Stephenson, Nicola Heslehurst et al (2018) Before the beginning: nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period and its importance for future health The Lancet, Vol. 391, No. 10132 Published: April 16, 2018
  4. Gnoth et al. (2003) Time to pregnancy: result of the German prospective study and impact on the management of infertility. Human Reproduction

 

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Last reviewed on June 13th, 2017. Next review date June 13th, 2020.

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 7 Feb 2018 - 03:28

    Very useful

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