Expert Advice and Top Tips when Trying for a Baby

Dr Sandra Wheatley, Social Psychologist and Chartered Member of the British Psychological Society and regular newspaper contributor shares her advice for couples who are trying to conceive.

Did you know that in the UK, 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving?1 This means there are about 3.5 million people who are currently trying to conceive (TTC) and may not have been able to start a family as soon as they would like to. The experience is different for everyone and no two people will feel the same about it.

Struggling to conceive can be an extremely difficult time and can have a huge emotional impact on everyone involved. Looking after yourself and your partner is vitally important. Thankfully there are a number of things you can do to help at this often incredibly difficult time.

Is it just me?

Couples who are finding it difficult to conceive often imagine that they’re the only ones who are having difficulty coping. This is simply not true. Believing you are alone can make you feel inadequate, as if you’re failing.

Speaking to someone you can trust about these feelings can help lift the weight off your shoulders. If you do nothing more, allow others to take care of you. Once they know how you’re feeling they’ll be able to give you the support you want or need. Quite simply, the sooner you ask for help, the sooner you’ll receive help, feel better and be able to enjoy life at the same time as trying to become a parent.

Lots of others have been there and are willing to share their experiences and offer support. Also those who truly want nothing but happiness for you, like your closest friends and family, can and will listen to you and love you if you let them.

However, none of these people can read your mind. You have to value and invest time in yourself and your situation and think about what would help you handle the situation you’re going through right now.

Many people find it difficult to ask others for help or talk about negative feelings that they’re experiencing, but it’s important that you do. Often, a close family friend or perhaps your partner will realise there’s something wrong before you admit it to yourself. In my experience, they’ll be relieved when you open up to them about what’s troubling you.

Don’t feel ashamed of how you’re feeling or try to hide it. We can and all too often do expect too much of ourselves. Your expectations of yourself may be a little harsher than is fair. Don’t be too hard on yourself; you are only human after all!

You have to value and invest time in yourself and your situation and think about what would help you handle the situation you’re going through right now.

You are likely to be the most important person when it comes to helping your partner through this period of your lives.

How you can look after yourself when TTC

You don’t need to wait until you are trying for a baby to follow this advice. You can follow these suggestions to help you become and stay healthy at any time in your life.

Do’s:

Dont’s:

Struggling to conceive can be an extremely difficult time and can have a huge emotional impact on everyone involved. Looking after yourself and your partner is vitally important. Thankfully there are a number of things you can do to help.

How you and your partner can help each other when you’re TTC

At various times throughout your journey to start your own family one of you may need support more than the other. This will probably change over the coming months – so be prepared to look after each other when you feel like it’s all just too much.

You are likely to be the most important person when it comes to helping your partner through this period of your lives. This might seem very flattering, but can also feel like a burden. Try and remember that neither of you wants to be a burden to the other.

Together you can help each other. Hopefully when this part of your life has passed and you have a family together, you’ll feel that your relationship is stronger because you’ve been through this difficult time together.

Here are some more ideas to help:

The emotional toll of trying to conceive can have a real impact on your health as a couple, as well as your relationship, family bonds, close friendships and future family’s wellbeing.

Dealing with it on a day-to-day basis can be a huge challenge for everyone involved. But with support and patience, together you can help each other to make it a positive experience.