Women with regular periods will have between 11 and 13 menstrual periods in one calendar year, which means that they will have up to 13 chances to conceive each year. On the other hand, women with irregular periods may have far fewer chances to conceive each year, potentially making the path to parenthood for them a longer, more tiresome journey.
If you do have irregular periods, it is certainly possible to become pregnant. Understanding the causes of irregular periods and how you can help to restore cycle regularity can help as you embark on your trying to conceive adventure.
Why does having an irregular period impact my chance of conceiving?
Irregular periods can indicate that you are ovulating inconsistently or, in some cases, not at all. As you already know, it is impossible to conceive without an egg, so the less you ovulate the less opportunities you have to conceive.
If I have irregular periods, what can I do to improve my chances of getting pregnant?
First things first, it will be important to try to restore some regularity to your cycle and increase the frequency of ovulation. Fortunately, making a few simple (easier said than done, of course!) lifestyle changes can help you improve the balance of your hormones and help to make your periods more regular:
- Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet: Step away from the vending machine! Try to incorporate more whole grains, fruits and vegetables and avoid foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and fat.
- Attain a healthy weight: If you are overweight, losing a few pounds through a moderate calorie restriction and moderate exercise can be very beneficial, especially if you have been diagnosed with PCOS. Likewise, if you are underweight, try adding on a few pounds. Extremely low body fat can be associated with low estrogen levels, which can cause cycle irregularity.
- Take a fertility-enhancing supplement: Every “trying-to-conceive” woman should be taking a prenatal vitamin, simply as a way to ensure that they are taking in all of the nutrients they need to sustain a healthy pregnancy and support a growing fetus. In addition, the herb Vitex agnus-castus (commonly known as Chasteberry) has been shown to help promote hormonal balance, restore cycle regularity, and increase ovulation frequency. Supplementing your diet with a fertility-enhancing supplement that contains a full prenatal vitamin and hormone-balancing herbs, might be just what you need to get your cycles back on track.
- Exercise regularly and moderately: Getting regular exercise is a key to fertility. On the other hand, too much exercise that is too strenuous in nature can have a detrimental impact on fertility.
The next equally important step will be to pinpoint your fertile window each cycle. Remember that in order to conceive, sperm must be waiting in your Fallopian tube at the time the egg is released from the ovary. And because sperm can only survive for up to 5 days in the female reproductive tract, it is important for you to be able to predict when you will ovulate so that you can time intercourse appropriately.