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10 Common Baby-making Mistakes

When you're trying to get pregnant, don't let these avoidable mistakes affect your conception goals.

Mistake No. 1: Not Having Enough Sex
Of course you don't want to think you're doing anything wrong when it comes to baby-making, but at least this mistake is fun to fix! You may think that cutting down on sex to "save" your guy's sperm -- or only getting busy when you're ovulating -- will make getting pregnant easier. But many days of not having sex can throw off conception. "It's easy to miss the fertile period if sex is limited only to when you think you're ovulating because many women believe they're ovulating when they actually aren't," says Samuel Wood, M.D., medical director at The Reproductive Sciences Center in La Jolla, CA. So go ahead -- have sex as often as you like, paying special attention to the few days before ovulation.

Best Fertility Gadgets and Apps

From basal thermometers and ovulation tests to fertility watches and apps, we review the top eight high-tech tools to help you get pregnant

Go-Go-Gadget Baby! Okay, so it might not be that easy. But with the latest high-tech tools, getting pregnant can be a whole lot easier. We asked Melissa M. Goist, M.D., Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at The Ohio State University Medical Center, to share her favorite fertility gadgets from basal body thermometers and ovulation tests to fertility watches and smartphone apps.

Bottom line: "Any woman who is trying to conceive should be aware of her own cycle. Not everyone has the classic 28-day menses, where bleeding starts on day one and ends between days five and seven," Goist says. "That's where the gadgets come in."

Are You Maximizing Your Fertility?

Ready to take charge of your own fertility? Take our fertility maximizer quiz to see if you're making all the right moves to get pregnant.

If you're trying to get pregnant, fertility can seem like a mysterious combination of luck and genetics. But while you can't control how old you are right now -- an element that has a big effect on your fertility -- you can take charge of other aspects of your life to maximize your chances of getting pregnant sooner rather than later. Take our fun fertility quiz to find out how fertile you really are and to get tips on what you can do to make it more likely you'll conceive soon.

The Benefits of Folic Acid

Folic acid in early pregnancy can help protect your baby.

What Is Folic Acid?

Whether you're already expecting -- or just planning to be -- taking the right vitamins can help ensure a healthy baby. One of the most important for you and your baby is folic acid. Up to 70 percent of all neural tube defects (NTDs) -- birth defects of the brain and spine -- could be prevented if every woman of childbearing age took folic acid daily, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Folic acid is a member of the B-vitamin family. It occurs naturally in foods as folates, and is available in synthetic form in vitamin pills. Foods that contain folates include orange juice, green leafy vegetables, and beans. Fortified breakfast cereals, enriched grain products, and vitamins contain a synthetic form of folic acid. The synthetic form is more easily absorbed by your body than the natural form.

Health Update: Are You Getting Enough Folic Acid?

Folic acid is a vitamin essential for preventing birth defects and premature births -- and, as new research shows -- it's especially important to take long before you plan to get pregnant.

Why do I need folic acid before I even try to get pregnant?

Sure, you know you need to take prenatal vitamins during pregnancy. But new research from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston reveals that taking folic acid (it's found in multivitamins and prenatal vitamins) for at least a year before conceiving may reduce the risk of preterm birth by 50 to 70 percent. About 13 percent of babies are born prematurely every year.

Fertility-Boosting Yoga Poses

Try this yoga workout to relax, better align your pelvis, and increase blood flow -- all factors that may help promote quicker conception.

Can yoga actually help you get pregnant?! Studies show that yoga can help reduce stress, which can affect fertility. Some experts also believe that specific poses can help promote baby-making by increasing blood flow to your pelvis, stimulating hormone-producing glands, and releasing muscle tension.

Click to the following slides for a series of fertility-boosting yoga poses by Eden Fromberg, D.O, a board-certified gynecologist and yoga teacher in New York City. Do the workout four to five times a week for best results.

Fitness Dos & Don'ts for Getting Pregnant

You may have heard that too much -- or too little -- exercise while you're trying to get pregnant can make it harder to conceive. Here, we separate the myths from the facts on fitness and fertility.

Do Start Exercising
Making exercise a regular habit before trying to conceive can help you feel good throughout your pregnancy, have more stamina for labor and delivery, and shed the baby weight faster. Exercise may even improve your fertility if you're struggling to conceive due to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or are overweight. Learn how to start or maintain a conception-friendly exercise routine and find out which exercises are best to get you in shape before you conceive.

Your Pre-Conception Diet Makeover

What you eat while trying to conceive is as important now as it will be when you're pregnant. Here's what you should -- and shouldn't -- be eating (and drinking) to make sure your pregnancy is in the pink. (Or blue!)

Load Up On Leafy Greens
Greens like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are great sources of folate, a key B vitamin that helps prevent neural tube defects, including spina bifida, during the earliest stages of fetal development. But this doesn't mean you have to eat salads every day. There are plenty of other ways to prepare greens. Tear pieces of kale, sprinkle them with olive oil and kosher salt, and roast on high for crunchy kale crisps. Or toss baby spinach with hot whole wheat pasta or brown rice.

A Preconception Checklist --Lifestyle and Relationship Issues

Lifestyle and Relationship Issues

____ Say good-bye to alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. If you can't kick the habit alone, get help from your doctor, your company's Employee Assistance Program, or support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous.

____ Get some sleep. All-nighters can wreak havoc on your health -- and possibly, your fertility.

____ Minimize stress. If possible, postpone stressful situations such as moving or changing jobs.

____ Confront your demons. Childhood traumas, like losing a parent or being emotionally or physically abused, can profoundly impact your ability to parent. Unpack your emotional baggage now -- preferably with the help of a therapist, clergyman, or other professional -- to avoid passing it on to your kids.

A Preconception Checklist ---Your Finances

Preconception is a big part of babymaking. Find out how to get your body ready for pregnancy.

Your Finances

____ Find out if your insurance covers 100 percent of prenatal care/delivery. You may need to change to an in-network doctor, or choose one local hospital over another.

____ If you don't have insurance, get some now. Depending on your location, individual HMO policies start at around $200 a month -- substantially less than the cost of medical care for a pregnancy from start to finish.

____ See an accountant or financial planner to discuss savings plans, both for baby's college and for other big-ticket items like nannies, day care, private preschools, and unfunded maternity or paternity leave.

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