Everything You Need When Trying to Get Pregnant

Everything You Need to Buy When Trying to Get Pregnant

fertility chart
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In some ways, getting pregnant should be a no-brainer. After all, most of us spend years trying not to get pregnant, so you’d think that when it came time to actually accomplish a pregnancy, all we’d have to do is stop using birth control. While getting pregnant can be as simple as that for some couples, it takes most couples at least a few months to conceive — and up to a year or more may be normal.

Along the way, it can be very helpful to have some resources and tools to increase your chances of getting pregnant. These products can help you learn how your reproductive system works, figure out when your fertile times are, discover when to have intercourse for optimal conception, and best prepare your body for a healthy pregnancy.

You may be feeling confused and overwhelmed by all the choices and products out there; and the truth is, not all fertility products are necessary or useful. For example, most herbs and teas that promise to increase your fertility are no regulated by the FDA or recommended by doctors. However, there are some products that can make conceiving happen faster and more seamlessly. Here are our top 6 picks.

Ovulation Predictor Kits

Ovulation Predictor kits (OPKs) are a simple way to predict when you are going to ovulate. They work by measuring the amount of luteinizing (LH) hormone in your urine. About 24-48 hours before you ovulate, you have an LH hormone surge. Ovulation predictor kids alert you to when that surge occurs, so that you can plan intercourse in the following day or two to optimize your chances of getting pregnant.

OPKs range in price and quality depending on what kind you purchase. Digital OPKs are usually more accurate and the results are often easier to read, but they are more expensive. On the other hand, you can buy ovulation predictor paper test strips in bulk and have many at your disposal (although these tend to be more difficult to read, and don’t contain instructions for test interpretation results).

What You Need

At first, it can be useful to have several OPKs on hand as you are getting to know your fertility signs and as you try out the kits. After that, it isn’t strictly necessary to have more than one kit available each month for testing. OPK kits generally need to be used within 30 days if they have been taken out of their packaging; unopened kits last about a year, depending on the manufacturer.

Charting Tools

Keeping track of your fertility signs — which may include recording your LH surge, cervical mucus, and basal body temperature — is probably the best way to increase your chances of getting pregnant. It’s also a wonderful way to get to know how your body and reproductive system works.

These days, there are many options for charting your fertility signs and cycle. You can go old-school and use a regular calendar to chart your signs; you can also print out a fertility chart and fill it in manually. Many of us prefer to use apps or online charting systems, most of which offer helpful tips and guidance along the way as you chart your data.

What You Need

There is no one best option here for charting. All of the options will get the job done; it really all depends on what suits your style. You really only need one chart. In fact, charting in more than one place might get a little confusing.

Basal Body Thermometer

After ovulation occurs and progesterone levels begin to surge, your basal body temperature (your temperature at rest) rises about four-tenths of a degree. Such small rises can only be detected by a basal body thermometer. If you take your basal body temperature first thing upon waking, you will be able to chart the incremental temperature rise that signals that ovulation has taken place.

This piece of data, along with other fertility signs, can help you understand when ovulation generally occurs for you, and it can alert you to the fact that ovulation has already taken place. Many women find the use of a basal body temperature an essential tool in successfully charting their fertility and maximizing their chances of conception.

What You Need

There are several options for basal body thermometers. Most are digital these days, and some even have “smart” options with the ability to share data with your digital devices. One basic basal body thermometer will do just fine but keep replacement batteries around if you’ve been using yours for a while.

Fertility Books And Resources

Learning about how your reproductive system and fertility works can be useful, interesting, and empowering, but it can get complicated and confusing, especially as you are first starting out. Investing in a book or two (hard or digital copy) as you begin your journey can really help.

In addition, there are many comprehensive websites and apps that can walk you through everything you need to know. Your healthcare provider may have resources to recommend, and friends who have recently had babies or are trying to conceive can share their favorites resources with you.

What You Need

Just a few solid books or resources are all you need to begin learning about getting pregnant. Perhaps the best known book about fertility is Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. You can’t really go wrong with this book—some moms refer to it as the "fertility bible". Still, it makes sense to research resources that feel encouraging and user-friendly to you.

Prenatal Vitamins

While good overall nutrition is vital to support a healthy pregnancy, it is advised that all women take prenatal vitamins, because there are some essential nutrients (such as folic acid) that most women simply do not consume enough of on a regular basis. Doctors and midwives recommend that you begin taking prenatal vitamins a few months before you start trying to conceive and certainly while you are actively trying. 

There tons of prenatal vitamins on the market, so it can get a little daunting to make a selection. Your doctor or midwife may even want to prescribe prenatal vitamins for you. Despite all the choices out there, most are pretty similar and focus on a combination of basic nutritional essentials as well as vitamins and mineral specific to the needs of pregnant women.

What You Need

The prenatal vitamin you feel comfortable taking while trying to conceive may actually differ from the one you wish to take once you become pregnant (hello morning sickness!) so no need to invest in too many bottles of prenatals at once. That said, make sure you have enough available to take your vitamins daily and regularly.

Pregnancy Tests

When the day comes that you think you’ve missed your period, you’ll want to have a pregnancy test or two available so you can find out right away what’s going on. Many women will opt to take pregnancy tests before they’ve even missed their periods, using an early detector test. Although home pregnancy tests are not as accurate at tests performed by doctors, most do a more than adequate job of telling you what you are aching to know.

A word of warning: Taking pregnancy tests can become addictive while you trying to conceive, and sometimes lead to anxiety and undue stress. While there is no harm in taking pregnancy tests often while you are trying to get pregnant, be mindful of the fact that they are only really necessary when there are signs that you may be pregnant, such as a late period.

What You Need

Basic pregnancy tests are only $20 or so and usually come in packages of two. If you think you might need to take frequent tests, you can buy pregnancy test strips in bulk. You can also opt for a digital test if you're concerned about reading the results on your own. Pregnancy tests do expire, so there's really no need to have more than one or two on hand at a time.

A Word from Verywell

Patience — a whole lotta patience — is probably the most vital thing you’ll need to get through these next few months of trying, waiting, wishing, and hoping. But amassing a tool kit of key products and resources can really speed things along and help you get that positive pregnancy test you’ve been dreaming of.

The months when you are trying to conceive can be a very exciting time in life, but they also can be full of fear and stress, especially if the process is taking longer than expected. Remember that it can take many months to conceive, and there is nothing wrong with you if your journey is a little longer other women you know.

Everyone’s fertility profile is unique and much of the timing of it has to do with luck. You should connect with your doctor at any point during the process if you have questions or concerns.

By Wendy Wisner
Wendy Wisner is a lactation consultant and writer covering maternal/child health, parenting, general health and wellness, and mental health. She has worked with breastfeeding parents for over a decade, and is a mom to two boys.