Trying to conceive? Here are 12 tips for how to make implantation successful, the early signs of pregnancy, and when to test!
If you’re a first time mom hoping for pregnancy, you may wonder if there’s anything you can do to increase your chances of successful implantation.
We’re sharing 12 simple lifestyle changes that will give you the best chance for pregnancy.
You can use these tips for a natural or assisted pregnancy.
What is Implantation?
Before we discuss how to make implantation successful, it’s important to understand the implantation process and common reasons for implantation failure.
After intercourse, sperm cells compete to be the first to fertilize an available egg. Once fertilized, the egg (now referred to as a zygote) travels down one of the fallopian tubes and continues to grow.
The cell of the zygote continuously divides, eventually forming a blastocyst.
During the blastocyst stage, the egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus, starting the implantation process.
When the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining and burrows into the uterine wall, the pregnancy hormone, hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is released which triggers the body to go into “pregnancy mode”.
10-12 days after implantation the blastocyst develops into an embryo.
Then about 9 weeks after implantation, the embryo becomes a fetus.
However, if implantation fails, the egg will be released through the women’s next menstrual period.
Reasons for implantation failure:
There are several reasons implantation may fail, including:
- Advanced maternal age
- Chromosomal abnormalities
- Genetic factors
- Poor embryo quality
- Unexplained failure
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for several months with no luck, your healthcare provider may refer you to a fertility clinic.
There, a specialist can work with you to create a fertility treatment plan catered to your unique circumstances.
NOTE: In some cases, an egg may implant in the fallopian tube or somewhere outside of the uterus. This is called an ectopic pregnancy.
In these cases, implantation is technically successful, but the pregnancy is not safe or viable.
Women who are experiencing fertility problems can bypass some of the fertilization and implantation process using IUI (intrauerine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment.
These methods increase the probability of pregnancy for those with specific health or physical constraints.
The IUI procedure is a form of artificial insemination which involves collecting, washing, and inserting sperm directly into the uterus via a flexible catheter.
This improves the quality of the sperm and cuts down on the travel time for the sperm to the egg.
IUI may help those with issues related to:
- Low sperm count or poor sperm quality
- Cervical mucus problems or problems with the cervix
- Erectile dysfunction
- Semen allergy
- Unexplained infertility
- The use of donor sperm
In Vitro Fertilization
IVF is a complex series of procedures used to increase the chances of pregnancy when other less invasive methods like IUI don’t work.
During IVF, mature eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilized outside of the womb in a lab. They may undergo genetic testing to help ensure viability.
Meanwhile, the hopeful mother takes medications like progesterone to help prepare her body for embryo implantation.
The fertilized eggs are then introduced into the woman’s uterus via embryo transfer.
IUI Success Rates
The pregnancy rate for IUI with the use of fertility drugs is about 20% before the age of 35. Which is the normal pregnancy rate.
So individuals and couples with reduced chances can improve their odds up to the typical success rate.
After 35, the rate drops to about 13% and continues to decrease over time.
IVF Success Rates
Implantation rates for IVF are also heavily dependent on a woman’s age.
The chances for high-quality embryos decrease after the age of 35. And this is true for both frozen and fresh embryo transfer.
- Higher quality embryos are associated with a 79% live birth rate.
- Good quality embryos have a 64% live birth rate.
- And poor quality embryos, are associated with a low birth rate of 28%.
Women who plan to postpone pregnancy until after the age of 35 should consider freezing their embryos while they’re in their 20s or early 30s for the best chance of successful pregnancy.
How to Make Implantation Successful
Thankfully, there are several things you can do to help stack the deck in your favor!
Here are 12 ways to make implantation successful.
1. Follow a balanced diet.
Evidence shows that a healthy diet has a positive effect on implantation and pregnancy.
Here are some of the best foods to help implantation:
- Antioxidant-rich fruits like berries and citrus fruits
- Leafy greens
- Protein-rich vegetables
- Lean meats
- Whole grains
- Healthy Fats (like omega-3)
And here are some foods to avoid during implantation and pregnancy:
- Foods high in processed sugar
- Soft and mold-ripened cheeses
- Deli meat
- Raw and undercooked eggs, meat, and seafood
- Foods high in mercury
- Liver and other liver products
- Unwashed and prepackaged produce
- Unripe papaya
- Excessive caffeine (more than one cup of coffee)
- Unpasteurized beverages including milk
2. Avoid strenuous exercise.
Don’t overdo it on the exercise when you’re trying to conceive.
Doctors recommend avoiding activities that significantly increase your core temperature.
This also includes hot tubs, hot baths, and steam rooms!
3. Lower stress levels.
For implantation to be successful your hormones need to be regulated.
Unfortunately, too much stress can increase cortisol levels which may have adverse effects on hormone production.
This includes the reproductive hormones required for normal ovulation.
4. Monitor ovulation.
For conception to occur, the body must achieve normal ovulation.
If you suspect you’re not ovulating, talk to your OB or a fertility specialist to determine how to address the problem.
5. Eat progesterone increasing foods.
Progesterone makes the uterine lining more receptive to implantation.
Here are some foods that help stimulate the body’s production of progesterone:
- Brussels sprouts
- Whole grains
6. Try seed cycling.
Estrogen and progesterone are responsible for driving the pregnancy process.
In a typical menstrual cycle, estrogen levels rise during the first half of the cycle (the follicular phase) and progesterone levels rise during the second half of the cycle (the luteal phase).
If these hormones are imbalanced, women may experience irregular periods and PCOS symptoms.
Seed cycling involves rotating certain types of seeds throughout the menstrual cycle to promote hormonal balance.
- For days 1-14, eat 1-2 tablespoons each of fresh ground flax and raw pumpkin seeds (these contain lignans and zinc) per day to support estrogen production.
- For days 15-28, eat 1-2 tablespoons each of raw sunflower and sesame seeds (high in vitamin E) per day to support progesterone production.
If you don’t like the idea of eating plain seeds, try adding them to smoothies.
7. Introduce herbal supplements.
With a doctor’s approval, you can try introducing herbal supplements to your diet.
Here are some herbal supplements that may help with proper hormone production:
- Vitex (or chasteberry)
- Red raspberry leaf
8. Ask your doctor about a prescription for progesterone.
Women with health issues related to cholesterol levels or thyroid, pituitary, and adrenal gland issues may have difficulty becoming pregnant due to low progesterone.
Watch for symptoms of low progesterone, like:
- Low libido
- Hot flashes
- Migraines or headaches
- Depression, anxiety or other mood changes
- Menstrual cycle irregularity or absence
If you notice these, you may need medical intervention for implantation to be successful.
Talk to your doctor about a prescription for progesterone pills or cream.
9. Take a prenatal vitamin with folate.
It’s very important for women who hope to become pregnant to consistently take a prenatal vitamin with folate (folic acid).
This will increase the chances of a healthy embryo and healthy pregnancy.
Folic acid is especially important because it helps form the baby’s neural tube and prevents certain neural tube defects like spina bifida.
10. Consider acupuncture.
Acupuncture might seem scary to some, but it’s been shown to reduce stress. And it may improve blood flow to the uterus.
11. Try fertility yoga.
If you don’t like the sound of acupuncture, you could try fertility yoga, instead.
This type of yoga also helps to reduce stress and increase blood flow to the uterus.
It may also:
- Decrease inflammation
- Promote better breathing
- Balance metabolism
- Improve mood
- Increase flexibility
12. Get plenty of sleep.
During sleep, your body works on repairing cells and regulating hormones. So, it’s important for hopeful and expectant mothers to get enough sleep.
There are no recognized sleeping positions to help implantation. But, some doctors believe it may be beneficial to place a pillow between your knees to increase blood flow to the uterus.
Early Pregnancy Symptoms
If implantation is successful, you may begin to experience 7 dpo symptoms such as:
- Implantation bleeding
- Clear or white vaginal discharge
- Tender breasts
- Mood swings
However, strong pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness usually don’t occur until further into the first trimester.
The most notable pregnancy symptom is a missed period.
When To Test
Before those two weeks, hCG levels are typically too low to be detected on an at-home test.
So, while it may be tempting to take a pregnancy test before your missed period, you’ll likely end up with inaccurate results.
Once you do receive a positive test, you can reach out to your doctor’s office or OBGYN to confirm your results with a blood test.
After successful implantation, you may experience early pregnancy symptoms like:
– Implantation bleeding
– Light-colored vaginal discharge
– Tender breasts
– Mood swings
Strong pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness usually don’t occur until further into the first trimester.
During implantation, hopeful mothers should avoid:
– Any foods or beverages that are harmful during pregnancy.
– Strenuous exercise and elevated core body temperatures from hot tubs, hot baths, or steam rooms.
– Excess stress.
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Did we answer all your questions about how to make implantation successful? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!