When you’re trying to conceive, consider these simple do’s and don’ts.
* Have sex regularly. If you consistently have sex two or three times a week, you’re almost certain to hit a fertile period at some point. For healthy couples who want to conceive, there’s no such thing as too much sex. For many couples, this may be all it takes.
* Have sex once a day near the time of ovulation. Daily intercourse during the days leading up to ovulation may increase the odds of conception. Although your partner’s sperm concentration will drop slightly each time you have sex, the reduction isn’t usually an issue for healthy men.
* Make healthy lifestyle choices. Maintain a healthy weight, include physical activity in your daily routine, eat a healthy diet, limit caffeine and keep stress under control. The same good habits will serve you and your baby well during pregnancy.
* Consider preconception planning. Your health care provider can assess your overall health and help you identify lifestyle changes that may improve your chances for a healthy pregnancy. Preconception planning is especially helpful if you or your partner have any health issues.
* Take your vitamins. Folic acid (vitamin B-9) plays an essential role in a baby’s development. A daily prenatal vitamin or folic acid supplement beginning a few months before conception significantly reduces the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects.
* Smoke. Tobacco changes the cervical mucus, which may keep sperm from reaching the egg. Smoking may also increase the risk of miscarriage and deprive your developing baby of oxygen and nutrients. If you smoke, ask your health care provider to help you quit before conception. For your family’s sake, vow to quit for good.
* Drink alcohol. Alcohol is off-limits if you’re pregnant — or hope to be.
* Take medication without your health care provider’s OK. Certain medications — even those available without a prescription — can make it difficult to conceive. Others may not be safe once you’re pregnant.
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