For busy Brits, successfully conceiving a baby can be easier said than done. With so many of us working long hours powered by caffeine, as well as dealing with issues like cost of living, we’re boiling over with stress and lack of sleep. Not great for fertility.
But don’t despair if you’re dreaming of starting a family and you’re struggling to find the time or energy, as the perfect time to “get jiggy” is just around the corner.
Lara Solomon, founder of Hoopsy which makes eco 99% paper pregnancy tests, says “Twixmas”, otherwise known as the period between Christmas and New Year, is the best time to jump in the (Santa!) sack. She looks at why here:
1) Make the most of ninja sperm – A combination of improved sperm quality and ovum receptivity, in addition to a rise in sexual activity during the winter months helps explain why more babies are conceived around Christmas than at any other time. There’s a study which proves a correlation between changes in the seasons and conception which shows sperm quality often deteriorates during the summer months. It also affects female fertility with changes in daylight length impacting anterior pituitary-ovarian function, the variation in quality of the ovum or endometrial receptivity. So make the most of Santa’s little helpers and hook up.
2) Get brighter kids – There’s some evidence from the US that children born in September perform better at school, so you need to pull more than just a cracker this Christmas if you want to breed a brain box! Researchers analysed data of approximately one million public school children born in Florida from 1994 to 2000 and their findings showed that those few extra months of development prove to be academically beneficial for September-born babies.
3) You have more time to relax – High stress levels can affect fertility, and, understandably, having fertility problems can then lead to further stress. It’s a vicious cycle, but the good news is it’s one that can be broken. Dr Alice McGee, Hoopsy’s clinical content advisor, commented: “Stress hormones can disrupt ovulation as they can affect the communication pathways between the brain and ovaries. The effect of disrupted ovulation can be noticed as difficulty falling pregnant or taking a longer time to conceive. Thankfully, there are ways to keep stress levels in check and under control.
“Being in a relaxed state can help increase your chances of falling pregnant, with one study demonstrating that women involved in a mind-body program compared to their counterparts had a 35% higher chance. So make the most of that golden period between Christmas and the New Year and take some time to relax.”
4) Mindful under the mistletoe – Despite this period being the perfect time to switch off and enjoy all the merriment, this can be easier said than done for some people. If you’re more jittery than jolly at this time of year, try making a plan to kick-start your mindfulness practice. Fertility nurse, Andreia Trigo, founder of Enhanced Fertility, said: “Mindfulness can help people be fully aware of the present moment, and relate to their journey of trying to conceive in a new way. This is beneficial for promoting self-compassion, managing emotions and engaging in fertility-friendly behaviours like eating healthy, being active or feeling sexy which, in turn, may influence quality of life and pregnancy rates.
“Try starting your morning with a three-minute mindfulness meditation, recalling one thing/someone you feel blessed about and one thing you envision working towards in your life. Also, save time for yourself, to do the things you enjoy doing. Between normal life, preparing for Christmas and meeting family and friends, we can easily forget to do this. Finally, express gratitude. At the end of each day, write down three things you feel grateful for that day. This strategy can be helpful all year round but is certainly a must-do during the busy Christmas season.”
5) More time to focus on your goals – Simple fertility practices like tracking your cycle can fall by the wayside when you’re in the throes of everyday life. So use that golden “Twixmas” period to start charting when you ovulate, to really boost your chances of falling pregnant naturally. When your body ovulates an egg is released from one of your ovaries and moves along a fallopian tube towards your uterus ready to be fertilised. Ovulation in most women usually happens once each month, in between your periods and can last from 16 to 32 hours.
There’s a free online ovulation calculator on the Hoopsy website which helps you to work out when you will next be ovulating. It does this by using the first day of your last period and the average length of your cycle. To know 100% for sure when you are ovulating, take your temperature daily and record it on Hoopsy’s fertility tracker sheets which are available free to download.
Suzannah Ross from North Yorkshire, found that trying for a baby during “Twixmas” worked for her. She said: “I really believe being able to switch off and be mindful during that lovely cosy period between Christmas and New Year helped us conceive our second child who is now three. I only started trying in December and it was very easy – I know it would have been down to the fact that I was off work as well as surrounded by family magic and joy. My first wasn’t as easy at all to conceive – she was a totally different story!”
So if you’re looking to try and conceive, make sure you plan in some time to “Christmas and chill”. Crucially, don’t let yourself get too booked up with post-Christmas parties and social gatherings.
To help you with your fertility journey, make sure you stock up on Hoopsy eco pregnancy tests. Made of 99% paper, you can rest assured that when you test to see if you have a little Christmas pud in the oven, you will have reduced your impact on the environment.