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Must-Haves for Trying To Conceive

Okay, I have to be honest. I wasn't completely sure I wanted to share this post. I even had to ask a few of my blog friends if it was weird. But the truth is, trying to conceive, although super exciting, is also super scary and not as easy as we sometimes think. So while this info may not be fitting for all of my readers, I'm sharing it in hopes that it might help someone out there or might be something worth saving for those who plan on trying soon.

I also plan on doing a little series of must haves. We'll cover trying to conceive as well as each trimester! Remember that these are things that worked for me and may not be perfect for everyone. You'll find links to some great resources and websites I found helpful as well links to items I purchased and recommend.


So you're trying to conceive or starting to do your research? Yay! How exciting! Such a fun time for you and your partner! Also a super awkward time that you'll laugh about later (Have you seen this Buzzfeed video? We can totally relate over here!).  For some, getting pregnant comes easily or even accidentally. For others, it takes a little bit more time and effort, and for some it takes the assistance of medical specialists.

When you get that first negative test after the first month of trying, it's so easy to fall into thinking "what's wrong with me?" It's so easy to become afraid and worried. Don't become discouraged yet. The data is out there. It takes many normal healthy couples six months to a year to conceive naturally (if you've been trying for over a year, you should speak with your doctor). So don't get worried right away. I have a theory on why it seems to take so long which I'll share in the resources below. 

I'm not going to give you a lesson on how to make a baby, but here are the things I found helpful during the exciting and stressful time of trying to conceive our first kiddo! Here we go...

Great resources- Check out americanpregnancy.org. It's full of great information about your cycle and trying to conceive. (It also has great weekly updates for pregnancy!). Also, browse around other sites and join some forums. The Bump and Baby Center are the two big ones. I personally found the forums at Baby Center to be a much more positive environment, but both contain great information. It's helpful to learn from real women who have been through it all and can give real life advice.

What To Expect Before You're Expecting*- Another great resource full of information about the conception process as well as steps you should take before you actually get started. It contains info for getting you and your partner in good pre-conception health to increase your chances of getting pregnant and also teaches you the basics of ovulation and conception.



Prenatal vitamins*- We all know the importance of prenatal vitamins that contain folic acid, but did you know that you actually have to build up your supply of folic acid before you even start trying? Better get to work! Look for a prenatal that contains at least 400 mcg of folic acid. Read more about folic acid and its benefits here.



The Fertility Diet*- I stumbled across this book because I participate in the Nurse's Health Study, an ongoing research study that surveys nurses. They use data about nurse's health for multiple different research projects, but one of them a few years back was on how diet affects fertility in women. The results were printed in this book. The Fertility Diet* contains some things you already knew you needed in your diet when trying to conceive as well as a few things you may not have thought of. For instance, did you know that full fat milk is important because it contains more estrogren hormones from cows? I certainly didn't go crazy revamping my diet, but I took more than a few pointers from this book. It never hurts to eat healthy, and if small changes mean more of a chance at conceiving, why not try?



A great app- My theory on why it can take so long to get pregnant is that most women don't actually know their cycles as well as they think they do. The average cycle is 28 days with ovulation occurring on the 14th day. That's just the average. That's not your cycle. We wasted the first few months trying at the wrong time and didn't realize it until later. It's normal to spend the first few months figuring out when ovulation is actually occurring. So when you think you've been trying for six months, have you really actually been trying at the right time for that whole six months? The best way to learn your cycle is to keep track. I tried multiple different apps but found Fertility Friend to be the most useful. It's not super pretty, but it contains everything you need. If you get the full paid version, it will analyze your symptoms and give you an estimate of ovulation based on that. It graphs your daily temperature and points out important changes. It also is one of the only apps that actually learns your cycle and makes accurate predictions for the months ahead! I highly recommend this app!!!

Thermometer*- If you do any research about trying to conceive or if you've taken a natural family planning class, you'll learn about tracking basal body temperature. At first I didn't believe this would actually work, but it does. Your body temperature spikes after you ovulate. Keeping track each month will help you find patterns in your cycle. Use a thermometer* meant for basal body temperature to detect slight changes in temperature (they read to the hundredths place), and take your temperature orally every morning as soon as you wake up. This is the one I used...



Ovulation strips*- You'll want a big stash of these. While a basal body thermometer can tell you once ovulation has passed, ovulation strips can tell you when its close. A positive ovulation test indicates that luteinizing hormone has surged and ovulation will occur within 12-24 hours. Ovulation tests are super expensive if you buy them at your local store. I bought these Wondfo strips* in bulk for super cheap, and they worked just fine!


Pregnancy tests*- If you're like me, you'll be wanting to pee on sticks every day! That might be a little excessive, but seriously, the anticipation and excitement is killer! Pregnancy tests are also super expensive, so I bought these Wondfo tests* in bulk too, and then when I had what I thought might be a positive, I used a more expensive and reliable First Response Early Response* test. 



Relaxation- This might seem silly, but I can't stress how important it is! If trying to get pregnant is taking longer than you thought or you find out that something is actually wrong, it can be stressful! Stress takes a huge toll on the body and does in fact impede your ability to get pregnant. Do something nice for yourself. Do something relaxing. Take a stroll through the neighborhood together. Take a yoga class. Go on a trip. Whatever relaxes you and clears your mind, do it. We found out we were pregnant shortly after going on vacation, and I firmly believe that just getting away and not thinking about it at all for a week was what did the trick!

Patience- Remember that it takes time. Not everyone gets pregnant on the first try. I'm telling you, join a forum. Even if you don't participate and only read, you will be so encouraged by seeing so many couples who don't get pregnant immediately. You'll find plenty of people going through exactly what you are going through, and you'll learn a thing or two while you are there!

I also want to take a moment to say that trying to conceive is a private thing. While some people are very open about it, most couples keep the details between the two of them. While asking "when are you going to start having kids" might seem like an innocent question, for many its too personal or could be a painful reminder of loss or infertility. Be gentle with the subject and remember that it's really not everyone's business. Here's a great article I saw shared on Facebook recently about why fertility is not small talk. And here's one where a blogger interviewed her friends on the subject. It might give you a new perspective if this isn't something you've ever thought about before. Think twice before asking people about having kids! You might not realize you are actually asking about their fertility!

I hope these resources are helpful for you. Let me know if you have anything to add to the list! Good luck on your journey, and remember that every couple's journey to familyhood is different!

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3 comments

  1. I love this and am so glad you shared! My hubby and I are just in the beginning of this whole process and I love the tips and honesty from someone who's been there. Congrats to you and your husband on your little one! :)

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