Are you one of those people who are thinking of starting to have children within the next few months or a year? Have you perhaps thought about whether you and your partner could in some way support the body and optimize your fertility before a possible future pregnancy? There are parts of our lifestyle that can actually affect us in different ways. Among other things, how nutrition, food supplements, sleep, stress, recovery, exercise and emotional parts can have a connection to our fertility. We will dive into all that and a little more now.
What is Trimester Zero?
When you talk about optimizing your chances of getting pregnant, you often talk about something called Trimester Zero, which characterizes the three months before you get pregnant. What Trimester Zero is about as a concept is how to prepare the body for a future pregnancy. It basically means strengthening ovulation (and health), that is, giving yourself and your body the best conditions and resources to cope with a possible pregnancy. Trimester Zero is not only for the woman but for the man it is about strengthening their sperm quality.
A pregnancy is divided into 3 different trimesters which are 3 months each, month 1-3, 4-6, 7-9. Trimester 0 = the 3 months before you get pregnant. It takes 3 months for an egg to mature and during this time our lifestyle can affect egg quality and ovulation. There is a myth that egg quality cannot be influenced, but this is not the case! It is therefore possible in many cases to influence the quality of your eggs through different parts of your lifestyle.
In Trimester 0, you can therefore work on strengthening your ovulation and egg quality; and if you strengthen your ovulation, you strengthen your health. So it's really about health in general, feeling as good as possible as it is reflected in egg quality. By stocking up on resources in trimester 0, it can also help us feel as good as possible before, during and after pregnancy.
For us women, it can for example be about making sure that you have enough resources so that the body prioritizes ovulation over survival, but also so that we can feel as good as we can before, during and after a pregnancy. Preparing for a pregnancy is absolutely nothing you need to do, of course it is fine to get pregnant without preparation!
Remember that 50% of a successful pregnancy is about the man's sperm, this means that as a woman you do not take on all the "responsibility", but the man also needs to review his health and how they live their life to influence sperm quality.
Below we go into some areas that can be beneficial on the journey towards a future pregnancy.
Get to know your bike
Many of us have grown up believing that if we do NOT protect ourselves, we will get pregnant right away, no matter what day of the month it is. Once we decide we're ready, we learn pretty quickly that the process isn't all that quick or so obvious. An important part of the journey to getting pregnant is therefore identifying your fertile window and ovulation (and thus when it is best to have sex).
Track the bike
To get to know your bike, it's good to start tracking it in an app or calendar. Exactly when you ovulate differs from woman to woman and depends on how long your cycle is and can be affected by a number of factors in your lifestyle such as stress, too little sleep, nutritional deficiencies, overtraining or eating too little food.
Measure your temp
In addition to tracking the cycle in an app, a tip is to measure your basal body temperature. By measuring your basal body temperature, you can identify when you HAVE Ovulated. In other words, you cannot predict when ovulation will occur, but you can CONFIRM that it has occurred. The temperature rises after ovulation, which then confirms when it happened, however, you still have to have sex before or during ovulation to increase your chances. By knowing approximately which day you ovulate from month to month, it becomes easier to time your fertile window
Another indication that you are fertile is the absence or presence of secretions, the closer you are to ovulation, the more secretions you tend to produce. So an important part of getting a handle on your cycle is learning how your secretions change throughout the month.
Give the body enough resources
In order for the body to function in the best way, it is important that there are enough resources for the body to cope with a pregnancy. A pregnancy is a cost for the body and if we cannot afford it because we eat too little, over-exercise, stress too much or sleep too little, pregnancy is not what the body will prioritize. One of the most important factors in being able to get pregnant is that there is enough energy and nutrition.
Nursing a child in the womb is a type of "cost" for the body, therefore one wants to give the body what it needs by replenishing the resources. You can replenish your resources by providing the body with proper nutrition and recovery and reducing stress.
Any dietary supplements
Something that can sometimes be an aspect that stands in the way of a pregnancy is if you have nutritional deficiencies. To find out if you suffer from nutritional deficiencies, you can do a nutrition test via a blood test. If you have a deficiency, dietary supplements can help increase those values, but remember that dietary supplements are only a supplement to a varied diet.
Reduce exposure to chemicals in your lifestyle
In many products we use in our everyday life, the presence of chemicals that are endocrine disruptors in the form of, for example, xenoestrogens has been discovered. Xenoestrogens are similar to our own estrogen and can upset the balance of our own hormones. Other chemicals such as phthalates, BPA and Pfas have also been shown to have several links to fertility in both women, men and children. Connections have been seen, among other things, to reduced sperm quality, egg quality, increased PMS, larger breasts in men and premature development of breasts in girls. These hormone-disrupting substances appear in many of our everyday products such as skin care, make-up and plastics.
To reduce your exposure to these substances, there are many small things you can do and gradually replace:
- choose makeup and skin care that is produced within the EU and does not contain PFAS and sulfates
- choose products that are perfume-free, as perfume is a collective term that can mean hundreds of different substances
– choose stainless steel or glass water bottles
- choose disposable products made from natural materials
- choose kitchen utensils and food boxes in wood or stainless steel
Prioritize recovery and sleep
Another important factor for pregnancy is security, and this is where recovery and sleep come into play. In order for the body to prioritize ovulation (and fertility) over survival, the body needs to feel safe. Recovery needs to be in relation to load.
Give yourself plenty of time to try
To avoid the stress and pressure that many people experience when they decide to try, is to have plenty of time to get pregnant. Few couples get pregnant on the first try, which is completely normal. It is natural that it can take up to a year before you become pregnant. A tip is therefore to have a large time span to try, avoid stress, pressure and not to set expectations around specific bikes or dates.
How often and when should you have sex to get pregnant?
As women, we are fertile in total up to 6 days each month, these are the days before and during ovulation. This is usually called our fertile window. When ovulation has taken place, it is usually said that the egg can live for 14-24 hours (and we can also get pregnant during this time). We cannot get pregnant for a large part of the cycle, therefore it is important to understand one's cycle in order to know when the fertile window occurs.
If you don't want to track your cycle to time ovulation, it is also possible to have sex regularly enough that you will meet one of the fertile days. As our expert Maria at @livakliniken says, if you have sex every three days, you will get pregnant sooner or later, when the window comes in.
How long does it normally take to get pregnant?
It is completely normal for it to take 6-8 months up to a year to get pregnant. Even if it takes more than a year, it doesn't mean that something has to be wrong, but after a year it might be good to check that everything looks good. That it takes more than a year is therefore not abnormal either.
Once you have decided, it is easy to have the expectation that it will work on the first try, and that somehow it would be "better". But exactly when a pregnancy will happen is not something you can decide or control, but it will come when it comes, when the body is ready.
For those of you who are thinking about pregnancy or are in the process of trying to conceive, it is completely normal and natural that it may take more than a couple of months! There are many parameters that have to work, how our body feels, how our living situation and lifestyle looks like, which in turn can have an impact on both egg quality, sperm quality and ovulation. It is also important to have sex at the right time during each cycle in order for it to occur on the days we are fertile.
- You are fertile and can get pregnant up to 6 days each month, during your fertile window
- Get to know your cycle so you know when during the cycle you have your fertile window
- Have six days before ovulation and during the day of ovulation
- Have sex every third day to meet a fertile day each month
- Reduce your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals
- Boost the body properly with nutritious food
- Give the body proper recovery and sleep
If you find this interesting, we recommend you listen to our episodes of the Womensync Podcast where we dive deep into Trimester Zero:
Episode #27 Trimester 0 to support the body before a pregnancy
Episode #28 Q&A Trimester 0 with Maria Särén