More and more women today can seen asking, ‘how to get pregnant naturally!’ Infertility is a rising problem of present day. When a woman is not being able to conceive naturally even after months of trying, it tells that something is not right inside her body and she needs to work upon this. In fact, sometimes, it is not infertility that stops a woman from getting pregnant. It is the lack of correct resources or nutrition that is not provided to her body.
Why a woman can’t conceive- the causes of infertility
There are many causes that lead to infertility in a woman. To name a few, hormonal imbalance, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Endometriosis, Anovulatory Cycles, physical blockage, inadequate hormone production, short luteal phase, lack of lutenizing hormone, high levels or prolactin, etc. All these factors come in between a woman and her wish to have her own child, naturally!
Apart from the bodily and medical conditions mentioned above, there are certain other factors that lead to problems in getting pregnant. These include poor nutrition, environmental toxins, and certain lifestyle habits. Age is not that big a constraint when a woman wants to conceive before menopause. However, old school of thought does say that it is difficult for a woman to conceive after mid 30s but women these days are getting pregnant even at the age of 45! And that too naturally!
If you did not know, some changes in diet and lifestyle can prove to be a boon when it comes to fertility. The below home remedies for getting pregnant naturally are not only useful for conceiving but also for addressing such issues as PMS, cramps, fatigue, heavy menstrual periods and other hormone related problems in women.
Diet Remedies to Conceive Naturally
1. Get Proper Nutrition to Conceive Naturally
Your body knows best when you should get pregnant. And if it lacks the required nutrition, your body will never allow you to get pregnant! If you don’t get proper nourishment from the right dietary sources, you’ll remain under-nourished. This means you will not get the essential fats and proteins that are required to conceive naturally. Often, in an attempt to lose weight, women start having low fat, high fiber diet. You need everything- carbs, protein, fats, minerals, vitamins- so that your body gets all that is essential to produce hormones essential for a pregnant woman.
2. Eat good sources of carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are not bad at all. They are one of the essential foods your body needs, not only for conceiving but also for basic functioning of the body. Just that you need to separate good from bad. Don’t have bad sources of carbohydrates like sugar, grains and processed foods. Have it from vegetables, fruits and starchy sources.
- Sweet potatoes
- Taro root
- Other vegetables
- Bananas and mangoes
- Other fruits (all fruits are sources of carbohydrates too)
3. Have Healthy Fats
Fat is also not all bad like the image it has! Our body needs fats, especially saturated fat. This is essential for body to keep functioning. Sufficient saturated fat means reduces levels of lipoprotein that may otherwise, give rise to heart disease. Good fat is also needed to keep our bones healthy because saturated fat is essential for calcium absorption. Liver, lungs, brain, nerves, immune system, all need fats to function.
When it is about a woman who wants to conceive, fatty acids are required to regulate hormones, increase the blood flow towards uterus, reduce sensitivity to a hormone called prolactin (it suppresses ovulation), increase egg white cervical mucus (it assists the sperm reach the egg) and to keep ovulation cycle normal.
Have fat from good sources though, such as from the following:
- Coconuts and coconut oil
- Olives and olive oil
- Grass-fed meats
In an attempt to have fats, don’t start eating fried and junk foods or the refined oils. Keep it natural and get your share of essential fats from natural and healthy sources like those described in the above list.
4. Get Adequate Protein
Protein is needed for conception, it’s an essential requisition. In a research report presented to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a diet rich in proteins was said to have positive effects on fertility of women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. When they consumed high proteins and low carbohydrates, they had better quality eggs and embryos. So, when trying to get pregnant, consume more protein and less carbohydrates, at least from three months before when you plan to conceive. Get your protein from these sources:
- Lean meat
- Nuts and seeds
5. Eat lots of Vegetables
In normal conditions, eating up to three servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily is important for all of us. It becomes more important to have lots of vegetables and fruits when you try to conceive. Eat these vegetables more if you want to get pregnant naturally:
- Dark leafy greens like spinach, romaine, arugula, and broccoli. They are rich sources of folate, a B vitamin which improves ovulation. Leafy greens also increase libido naturally.
- Maca root is said to increase fertility in both, men and women by boosting energy and immune system. It provides vital minerals and nutrients that your body needs for conception such as iron and iodine.
- Yams have a substance that stimulate ovulation and thus improves fertility.
6. Drink enough Water to help yourself Conceive
Water is the basic substance essential for our survival and lack of water in your body can hamper its normal functioning. This may also lead to difficulties in conceiving. Adequate water inside your body ensures that your uterus stays healthy. It also increase your cervical mucus. The sperm attaches itself to cervical mucus when they are on their journey towards egg. By drinking enough water throughout the day, you can improve your chances of getting pregnant. Your urine should be clear or lightly colored. If not, it means you are not drinking enough water!
Foods to Avoid when trying to Conceive
You not only need to concentrate on healthy foods but also on avoiding certain foods that can reduce your chances of getting pregnant.
7. Avoid Sugar
Refined sugar is the most dangerous form of carbohydrates. It makes it difficult for your body to keep insulin levels under control even when you do not suffer from diabetes. A high carbohydrate diet often leads to some level of insulin resistance and thus it is a complete ‘NO’ for women who are trying to conceive. The healthy foods discussed in the earlier section help your body become more sensitive to insulin. This further helps production of other hormones as well as proper functioning of your body.
- Don’t have foods and drinks having high fructose corn syrup
- Avoid desserts made with refined sugar.
- Don’t use sugar in your beverages like tea etc. If needed, use honey or jaggery, the safer and natural sweeteners.
8. Avoid too much Caffeine
Have no more than 2 cups of caffeinated beverages in a day. Excessive caffeine consumption leads to fertility problems. Caffeine hampers your body’s ability to absorb iron. It can also lead to dehydration. All these can collectively either make it impossible for you to conceive or can increase the risks of miscarriage and preterm birth.
9. Avoid Alcohol
If you don’t want to altogether avoid drinking, limit your consumption of alcohol. Not more than a drink or two is what you must aim for. Heavy drinking leads to irregular periods, problems in ovulation, and abnormal levels of estrogen and progesterone hormones. All this makes it harder for you to conceive.
10. Avoid Fish rich in mercury
While fish is a good source of protein, many fish are not for those who are trying to get pregnant because of their high content of mercury in them. When there is high level of mercury in your blood, it affects your fertility. In fact, high mercury levels affect the fertility of men too. Even if you are successful in conceiving, the mercury will stay in your system for more than a year and may cause harm to the development of brain and nervous system of you unborn baby. So, avoid eating the following fish high in mercury:
- Orange roughy
- King mackerel
- Ahi and Bigeye Tuna.
11. Avoid Soy
Soy contains a compound which is similar to estrogen, the female hormone. High levels of estrogen may negatively affect fertility. The phytoestrogens present in soy have been shown to interfere with endocrine function. This leads to various fertility problems. Even the processed soy foods have large amounts of aluminum gathered from the high pressure processing system. It is toxic to the nervous system. Soy, thus, is not at all good for women who want to conceive.
Lifestyle Remedies to Conceive Naturally
12. Quit Smoking
There are at least two reasons why you would immediately like to quit smoking:
- Smokers take longer to conceive
- A smoking woman’s eggs are more prone to genetic abnormalities
These are the findings of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Apart from the two specific reasons for stopping smoking to get pregnant, there are some more ill effects of smoking on a pregnant woman and her fetus. Smoking puts you at a higher risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. Not only the mother-to-be, even father-to-be has to quit smoking otherwise he would have lower sperm count and motility (swimming speed) as well as more sperm abnormalities.
13. Get enough Sleep
Sleep is essential for proper functioning of our body and all its internal organs as well as systems. It has a crucial role to play in the production of hormones. Many studies have found out that women having low melatonin and serotonin levels also have a shorter luteal phase. This phase can be defined as the time between ovulation and menstruation. A shorter luteal phase means lesser chances of getting pregnant.
Not only his, when you are deprived of sleep, your body cannot properly regulate adrenaline, cortisol and insulin. This makes conception even more difficult.
So, take every necessary step to get a good night’s sleep. If needed, take nap during the day too.
14. Do Adequate amount of Exercise
Neither too much nor too little! Do just the right amount of exercise every day. If you are obese, you need to lose weight because this can help you in conceiving. However, you must also have some fat in your body. Having too little body fat may make your body go into an anovulatory state. Your BMI should be between 18 and 30. BMI less than or more than this range can lead to irregular or missed periods which is certainly not good when you want to get pregnant. When you are abnormally underweight, you run the risk of not ovulating altogether. On the other hand, being extremely overweight can further lead to such pregnancy complications as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, birth defects and even a c-section.
If you cannot think of ways to moderately exercise and keep your weight at optimal levels, get help of your doctor, nutritionist or expert yoga or physical trainer who can deal with the weight issues of a woman trying to conceive. The key to optimal weight for a woman who wants to get pregnant, however, lies in the following factors:
- Eat right
- Have plenty of nutrients through healthy sources
- Exercise moderately
- Drink plenty of water
15. Keep away from Stress
If you are too stressed or trying too hard, your chances for conception gets lesser. Stress affects your system in many ways. Stress not only affects the functioning of the gland hypothalamus which regulates your appetite and emotions, it also negatively impacts those hormones that are responsible for releasing eggs from your ovary. Too much stress delays ovulation or does not let you ovulate. This will certainly not help you get pregnant. Stress may, in fact, affect your partner’s fertility too!
In a research report published in the journal, Human Reproduction, it was stated that conception is much more likely to occur during the period when couples felt good, happy and relaxed.
So, if you want to conceive, avoid stress. Try to be happy with your partner. While there can be different ways for you as a couple for being happy, you may also consider the following tips to get rid of stress:
- Massage. It works to decrease your body’s physical signals of stress like heart rate and brain waves.
- Acupuncture. It was experimented in an in vitro fertilization procedure. Those women who got an acupuncture treatment just prior to and just after an embryo transfer into the uterus, had a good success rate.
While it is not true for everyone but reducing stress is a good idea when you want to conceive. In fact, reducing stress is good for overall health. It makes you feel good and enjoy your life.
16. Reduce exposure to Toxins
You have to safeguard yourself against all types of toxins- environmental as well as those you consume, knowingly or unknowingly! Exposure to toxins is surfacing as one of the major causes for infertility, both among men and women.
- Quit smoking, including tobacco and marijuana smoking
- Avoid alcohol
- Avoid caffeine (or limit its consumption)
- Reduce exposure to plastic products. Avoid canned foods and use metal bottles instead of plastic ones. Even aluminum containers have plastic lining inside them.
- Reduce exposure to toxic metals like lead and mercury
- Reduce exposure to chemicals at workplace as well as household chemicals
- Stop using conventional cosmetic and beauty products. Go for those that don’t have toxic materials in them or don’t use cosmetics at all!
Removing toxins from your life is not only essential to help you conceive but also for healthy pregnancy and your baby’s health.
17. Change Medications that impair fertility
There are many medicines that affect fertility. Check with your doctor and see if you are taking such medicines that are stopping you from conceiving. Some of such medicines and drugs include the following:
- Certain hormones
- Some pain-relieving medicines
- Chronic use of narcotics impact fertility of men
Ask your doctor to change the medicines if he finds them coming in your way of conception.
Herbal Remedies to Get Pregnant
Most of the women will successfully conceive once they take care of their diet, nutrition and lifestyle habits. However, some women may need to use further home and herbal remedies to conceive. Sometimes, certain supplements too can help you get pregnant.
18. Raspberry Leaves
Containing flavonoids, tannins, and elagic acid in them, raspberry leaves are pleasant-tasting herb. They taste more or less like black tea. However, you are saved from all the caffeine that black tea contains. Raspberry leaves have been used as fertility herb traditionally due to their high nutrient value. It is a good source of calcium and is a good tonic for uterus. While it is available in capsule form, you can make a delicious tea with raspberry leaves.
- Raspberry leaf (dried) – 1-2 tsp
- Water- 1 cup
- Honey (optional)
- Pour hot water over dried raspberry leaves.
- Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes
- Add honey if using and stir well
- Have it warm.
- You can have 2 to 3 cups of raspberry leaves tea daily even during pregnancy.
However, it is always recommended to consult your doctor before taking any herb or supplement to avoid any complication in pregnancy that might be exclusive in nature for you.
19. Nettle Leaf
Stinging nettle leaves are highly nutritious with a number of minerals in them. It has plenty of chlorophyll which can nourish adrenals and kidneys. What more, a warm cup of tea made with nettle leaves is a great stress buster. As you now know, stress can stop you from getting pregnant. So, this uterine tonic can be had for its added advantage of reducing stress. You can steam and eat these leaves in salads and pastas, add them in soups or stews, or get them in form of extract and capsule. But nettle leaves tea is what will make you stress-free in a major way.
- Fresh nettle leaves- 1 cup OR dried leaves- 1 tsp
- Water- 1-2 cups
- Honey (optional)
- Wash the fresh leaves properly
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil
- Add a cup of fresh leaves to this
- Boil for about 5-10 minutes
- Then simmer for another couple of minutes.
- Put off the flame and cover the pot
- Let it steep for a few minutes if you want it a little more stronger
- Strain and add honey if using
- If using dried leaves, simply pour hot water over them, cover and steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain, add honey or have it as it is
- Have 2-3 cups of nettle leaves tea a day before conception and during pregnancy
Consult you doctor anyways before you begin drinking any herbal tea during pregnancy.
Alfalfa is a great herb for conception. It can be said a herb with high vitamin value due to the presence of vitamins A, D, E and K as well as 8 digestive enzymes in it. Alfalfa also contains trace minerals. It is a phytoestrogen which balances the estrogen present in your body. When estrogen is high, phytoestrogens that bind the receptors work to block the estrogen from binding. On the other hand, when estrogen is low, phytoestrogens bind with enough potency to help boost activity, however, not as much as real estrogen would. Phytoestrogens are useful to treat PMS, one of the causes due to which you cannot conceive. However, don’t eat a lots of alfalfa as they sometimes lead to depletion of essential minerals like calcium and magnesium.
Add alfalfa sprouts to your salads to have all its benefits and help you conceive.