Trying to Conceive in the New Year The holidays are over along with the parties that included pregnancy announcements, young nieces and nephews running about, and newborns getting passed from one doting family member or friend to another. For many couples, the new year represents a perfect time to start planning an addition to their family. And for some couples, who have been trying to conceive, the holidays may have been a difficult time. If you have just decided to conceive or if the new year represents a deepening commitment to your efforts, Laura Tyree, M.D., shares advice here that can help. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology. Limit the spirits Holiday drinking may have lowered your fertility. Heavy drinking can affect fertility in both women and men. And, it can be dangerous for women who might become pregnant. Schedule? What schedule? After the holidays is a great time to get on a regular schedule. For couples trying to conceive, getting the timing right becomes a huge focus. A woman has the best chance of getting pregnant during her fertile window in the menstrual cycle, which is the day an egg gets released from the ovary (ovulation) and the five days beforehand. Ovulation typically happens about 14 days before the start of a menstrual cycle. Personal diaries, ovulation predictor kits and period-tracker apps are some of the ways couples keep track of the woman’s most fertile days. Stay organized with your tracking so you have a sense of control over the conception process. More is more and less may be more, too You may have heard that having sex every other day during a women’s fertile window is more effective for fertility than having sex every day. On average, having sex every day during this window increases fertility slightly. However, it depends on a man’s actual sperm count which naturally goes down with age. There’s no way of knowing for sure without doing a semen analysis. Outside the window of fertility, all couples trying to have a baby should engage in regular intercourse to increase the woman’s chances of getting pregnant—even during so-called ‘non-fertile’ periods sexual activity may cause the body to support conception. Coping with jealousy and pressure Don’t feel obligated to get into details with nosy family, and don’t feel guilty if you excuse yourself or take a break from a room full of baby overload. Turn to your partner and trusted support system. Success rates of infertility treatments have increased over past generations. Medical professionals can help with both the physical and emotional impact of challenges you may face in growing your family.