Trying To Conceive
How To Treat Your Body After Ovulation When Trying To Conceive
Because you went through a whole lot of sex and now it’s time to relax and eat your veggies.
My husband and I had to try to conceive for almost two years — and they were the longest two years of our entire lives. What we didn’t realize at the beginning, but quickly became acutely aware of, was that it wasn’t just as simple as having sex to get pregnant and to have it “stick,” especially for someone with PCOS like myself. There’s ovulation and fertility tracking, “marathon sex,” and then the dreaded two-week wait — when implantation may or may not occur. So we desperately researched what to do after ovulation to help implantation, because after having sex every other day during my fertile period, we wanted that implantation to happen so badly.
Obviously, the first thing you should do after ovulation — or before and during really — is to have sex. But there are some things you may be able to do to help the implantation process succeed, according to experts.
What Is Implantation Anyway?
To put it super simply, it’s when a fertilized egg “implants” itself into your uterus. But there’s a lot more going on than that, hence why you may be wanting to figure out what to do to help this process along. Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, a double-board certified reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois, tells Romper, “After a sperm fertilizes an egg, the cells begin to divide and grow as the embryo develops. Once the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, roughly five or six days after fertilization, the embryo begins the process of implantation in the uterus.”
Hirshfeld-Cytron says that the implantation process can take anywhere from three to six days to be complete — which leads us to the two-week wait.
What Is The Two-Week Wait?
The two-week wait is a challenging time for couples trying for a baby, Hirshfeld-Cytron says. “The two-week wait is the time period between ovulation and an expected menstrual cycle. Once the two-week waiting period is over, a woman can take a pregnancy test,” she says.
During this two-week wait, experts say there are some things you can do, and things you can avoid, to help assist this process. And while there aren’t really specific ways you can control implantation happening, according to Hirshfeld-Cytron, it’s still important to remain as stress-free and healthy as possible.
What To Do After Ovulation To Help Implantation
Fertility health coach, birth and bereavement doula, and new parent educator Elizabeth King suggests eating lots of green leafy vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and grass-fed butter. This is to control your blood sugar to support implantation and early embryo development, according to conceiveivf.com.
“Look after yourself as much as possible, and avoid any physical and mental stress as much as possible,” King says. “Avoid hot baths, spas, saunas, and steam rooms, because you want to avoid things that can raise your body temperature.”
Hirshfeld-Cytron also suggests exercising and moving your body at least 20 minutes a day, especially if you’re overweight. “Check your BMI goal and aim to be in the normal weight range,” she says. According to reproductivefacts.org, obesity affects your chances of getting pregnant because you have a higher chance of irregular periods and irregular ovulation.
Both experts also suggest eating “the colors of the rainbow” to get natural antioxidants, as well as avoid eating high-risk foods like unpasteurized cheeses and fish associated with heavy metal content. Hirshfeld-Cytron recommends avoiding tobacco or cannabis, alcohol, or excessive caffeine. Mayo Clinic also suggests limiting your drinking, avoiding all tobacco, and having your normal amount of caffeine without overdoing it.
How To Help Implantation During Fertility Treatments — What To Expect
If you’re working through fertility treatments like IVF, Dr. Alan Lindemann, obstetrician and maternal mortality expert, has some other tips that may help with implantation. “Day one of your cycle is the first day of your period. From the third or fourth day of your cycle, follicle-stimulating hormone shots are given daily until about the middle of your cycle,” he says. “Using ultrasound, the egg is measured. When the egg reaches 2.2 centimeters, the FSH shots are discontinued and luteinizing hormone (LH) shots are given daily. Sometimes to prepare the uterus, progesterone suppositories are given during the last half of the cycle as well.”
These are obviously tips to discuss with your healthcare provider, and they’ll be able to answer specific questions for you and help you stay as healthy as possible.
Dr. Jennifer Hirshfeld-Cytron, a double board certified reproductive endocrinologist with Fertility Centers of Illinois.
Dr. Alan Lindemann, obstetrician, maternal mortality expert. and author.
Elizabeth King, fertility health coach, birth and bereavement doula, and new parent educator.