How to survive Christmas if you’re trying to conceive

Fertility expert Zita West answers your question on surviving Christmas if you’re trying for a baby

Christmas can be a challenging time for those who find themselves desperately wanting a child but spending the season without one. Many couples dread this time of year, and even dealing with family and friends can be tough at times. Here are my tips for getting through it:

Be prepared
In the coming weeks, you may have to deal with unwanted questions about children, or have to cope with insensitive comments. To avoid an uncomfortable situation, rehearse a few lines you can say if someone enquires about this sensitive topic. Take control of the situation, be friendly and change the subject.

Take time if you need it
Set aside some time each day to build up your mental and emotional strength. Include things that give you pleasure: listen to music, go for a walk, meditate, but also begin to use positive affirmations using the present tense.

Nurture your relationship
Dedicate some time to your relationship as well. Your partner is probably feeling the same anxious feelings as you, and you should use each other for support.

Have more sex
The truth is, many couples simply do not have sex frequently enough. And although sex tends to become more stressful than enjoyable for many couples who are trying to conceive, it’s absolutely essential that you are having sex at least three times weekly during your fertile period. Sperm can live up to a week inside you, so regular sex helps you ensure a constant flow of sperm for ovulation.

Eat well
Although Christmas and New Year is a time to indulge, remember that nutrition plays an important role. Eat a range of foods such as green leafy vegetables, eggs, nuts, yoghurt and beta-carotene-rich foods such as tomatoes, carrots and red peppers. Of course, it’s OK to indulge, but it’s important to also consume nutrient-dense foods in order to create healthy eggs and healthy sperm.

Reduce alcohol
Research shows us that, on average, the more alcohol you drink, the longer it will take you to get pregnant. For some women, alcohol may contribute to irregular periods, irregular ovulation and luteal phase defects, and for men, alcohol can affect sperm morphology and motility (their shape and ability). Although it’s hard at this time of year, I recommend you cut out, or at least cut down, on alcohol to boost your chances.

Make a plan
An action plan for the new year can help you take back control over things you feel you have no control over. Is your body baby-ready? Are you having enough sex? Do you need to make a step to discuss IVF options? Despair is easier to feel than hope, but I have so often seen hope return once couples begin to take back control through planning.

Want more? Why it’s normal to feel anxious about being pregnant