Becoming pregnant and having a baby is often described as one of the most joyous experiences of a woman’s life. It has been said that the love a mother has for her child cannot compare to any other. Many factors come into play when experiencing fertility problems such as genetics, stress, timing, and even something you’d expect to help—lubrication. Some are controllable, while others are not. Here are seven helpful tips to boost your fertility and increase your odds of becoming pregnant.

1. Timing

It will be necessary to stop taking regular birth control prior to that time frame so that your body may adjust and start ovulating regularly to become ready for pregnancy. Once the body has been off of birth control for a few months, the monthly cycle should be regulated with ovulation and menstruation. There are many fertility calculators available and it is very important to keep track of the monthly cycle. Ovulation predictor kits are available at drugstores but are not an absolute necessity when trying to become pregnant.

2. Basal body temperature

Charting basal body temperature helps to determine ovulation as well. This can also confirm the time any fertilized eggs would have to implant. The temperature will need to be taken with the basal thermometer every morning immediately after waking up. The temperature drops just a little bit the day of ovulation and then rises the following days and stays there until the period starts. Tedious at first, tracking your basal body temperature will help in the long run.

3. Have sex prior to ovulating

Sperm can live in the uterus and Fallopian tubes for 2 to 3 days but eggs only last 12 to 24 hours after they’re released. It is vital to have sex before ovulation to boost the chances that there will be sperm around when the eggs are released. Having sex a few times a week as soon as menstruation is over should be sufficient. This ensures that the most optimal time will not be missed, as cycles can vary from month to month.

4. Don’t stress the sex

Achieving orgasm during sex is definitely a plus when it comes to your enjoyment, but it does not impact the chances of becoming pregnant. Let the stress go and do whatever feels good in the moment. Positions don’t increase chances of getting pregnant, so this is all the more reason to simply do what just feels good. Keeping all of this in mind, skip the lube when getting ready for sex. It can be toxic to sperm and may reduce your chances of becoming pregnant.

5. Stop smoking

Along with all of the other reasons to quit smoking, it can negatively impact fertility as well as the fertility of any potential children. Smoking can lead to a higher rate of infertility and a much longer time to conceive by harming a woman’s ovaries. It also speeds up the loss of eggs, causing a woman to enter menopause up to four years early. Smoking can increase the risk of a miscarriage, premature and babies with a low birth weight, and increased incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

6. Fact versus fiction

There are many wives’ tales that describe how women can become pregnant (especially later in life), or affect their chances of having either a boy or a girl, but there are several ways to help ensure that pregnancy has a higher chance of occurring. Those trying to conceive should stay lying on their backs after sex. Because the vagina slopes naturally downward, resting on the back can help sperm to make their way up to the eggs. This can be easily accomplished by having sex just before bed.

7. Test but don’t fret

Ideally, a pregnancy test should be taken the day that the period is expected to come. If the test happens to come back negative, don’t worry. Most couples do not succeed in becoming pregnant the first time, and more than half get pregnant at the six-month mark. Around 85% become pregnant within the year.

Focus on eliminating the outside stress and pressure of becoming pregnant, and enjoy the intimacy with your partner. Preparing to conceive doesn’t have to be a cut and dry process, but taking steps to boost fertility and overall health are important for increasing the chances of becoming pregnant.

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