Ways to optimize your fertility to get pregnant

Ways to optimize your fertility to get pregnant
Fertility is a top concern for women trying to conceive. According to the CDC, over 10 percent of American women have fertility issues. Here’s a quick guide to increasing your chances of getting pregnant — a checklist of things to keep in mind before conceiving.
Written by Orchid Team 
Medically reviewed by Cristina Vidal, RN
  • Cristina Vidal, RN, is the IVF-Donor-Surrogate nurse coordinator at Stanford Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility with over 20 years of experience in the fertility and reproductive clinic.

Visit your OBGYN for preconception care

Your OBGYN doctor will advise and order the testing necessary to improve your chances of getting pregnant. If needed, they may also recommend a follow-up with a fertility specialist, maternal-fetal specialist doctor, or any other specialist.

Here are some general guidelines:

Hormone testing

One of the greatest roadblocks to fertility is imbalanced hormones. A baseline hormone levels test can identify underlying issues such as PCOS, thyroid dysfunction, hyperprolactinemia, diminished ovarian reserve, among others.


Review your vaccination history for Measles, Varicella, and Rubella. If any vaccinations are needed, live virus vaccines will need to be completed 4-8 weeks before getting pregnant since they are contraindicated during pregnancy.


Cigarette smoking has been shown to have adverse effects on fertility in both men and women. In men, smoking can decrease sperm density, motility and morphology. In women, smoking can increase the risk of miscarriages and health problems (even with second-hand exposure to smoking) for the developing baby during pregnancy. Menopause also occurs 1-4 years earlier in women who regularly smoke.


While the effects of alcohol consumption on female fertility are not clear, some studies have shown that higher consumption decreases the chances of conception. The CDC and ACOG recommend that women who are trying to conceive or are currently pregnant to abstain from alcohol.


Very high levels of caffeine consumption (more than 5 cups of coffee/day) can decrease fertility. It’s recommended to limit to one cup a day of caffeine during pregnancy.

Focus on Nutrition

By incorporating more whole and nutrient-dense foods, you’ll notice a balance in your energy levels and menstrual cycle. An important exception is to avoid foods rich in mercury given its association with infertility. Also avoid fish high in mercury during pregnancy.

It also helps to take prenatal vitamins and supplements. Specifically, 400mcg of folic acid before and during pregnancy helps increase the chances of achieving and maintaining a pregnancy. Vitamin D is another essential vitamin that supports fertility and the endocrine system.

Reduce Stress

Supporting your emotional health during your fertility journey is very important. The pillars of stress reduction include:

Breathing Exercises. One of the best ways to reduce excess cortisol and adrenaline in the body is through exhalation. When you’re feeling stressed, take a few moments to take slow steady breaths.

Yoga. Restorative yoga helps balance the mind and body, and it releases stress-reducing hormones, like endorphins.

Sleep. With too little sleep, your body produces more cortisol. Therefore, aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

Acupuncture. Acupuncture therapy can stimulate the central nervous system and prompts your body to release chemicals that cause you to feel relaxed. It also has the power to reduce pain and inflammation.

While studies on acupuncture’s ability to improve fertility are not sufficiently large to indicate a proven benefit, a decrease in stress can be immensely beneficial for patients going through fertility treatments. It’s recommended to find an acupuncturist who specializes in fertility and is certified by the National Certified Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or the American Board of Medicine Acupuncture and also by the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.

Plan Intercourse

Determining your “fertility window” by monitoring your menstrual cycle can help you optimize your chance of getting pregnant. We recommend engaging in intercourse every day, or every other day during your ovulation window.

You have a variety of ways to help you identify when your 6 day fertility window happens. You can use ovulation predictor kits to know when ovulation occurred and as well as apps to help you identify the days when you’re most fertile.

Fertility treatment and reproductive medicine have come a long way since IVF was first introduced over 40 years ago. If you are planning on starting or growing your family, check out our expert guides on all things genetics and fertility. Today, advanced genetic screening is now available to couples who want their child to have the best shot of a healthy life. Explore how Orchid helps you conceive with confidence.
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