When it comes to babies, one of my favorite Scriptures in the Bible is, "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward." (Psalm 127:3—NKJV) It's a reminder that, whenever a woman gets pregnant, it's not only a physical manifestation but a very spiritual one too. It's a part of the reason why I became a doula, in fact—to help usher in the miracle of life, as comfortably as possible, for other women; especially Black women. And that begins with conception.
The reality is, if you're trying to conceive, the chances that you will are pretty high if you are between the ages of 20-35. If you're between 35-39 (or if you have some sort of fertility issue), you may need to give it a year. After 40, it's important to speak with your doctor, so that they can tell you want to expect while you're on the journey to make a little one. But no matter how old you are or what the prognosis on the state of your fertility may be, every health expert on the planet can agree on the fact that you need to prep your body beforehand. In order to help you out, I've provided 10 tips on how you can get your system into peak condition for conception.
1. Get a FULL Physical
As a doula, I know for a fact that, one of the things that caused some of my clients to have a difficult pregnancy is they underestimated just how important it is to get a physical prior to trying to get pregnant. That way, you can find out if you're a healthy weight (more on that later), if your hormone levels are balanced (especially when it comes to progesterone) and if there is any genetic history that could pose a few challenges either while trying to conceive or after you do. Something else that your doctor will be able to do is see if you've got any scarring on your fallopian tubes, any pelvic adhesions and/or if you've got an ovulation disorder that you might not be aware of. Also, if you're on some form of birth control, your physician can discuss with you how to get off of it without causing your body to go totally out of wack, while providing an estimate of when enough of the hormones are out of your system so that you can start trying to get pregnant without worrying if it happens takes a little longer than you would like.
(By the way, if you are under 35, give it a year of trying to conceive before getting too concerned about infertility. If you're over 35, have been having unprotected intercourse for at least six months without conception, it might be time to speak to your doctor about it. They might refer you to a fertility specialist.)
2. Eat Foods That Are High in Folic Acid
As far as folic acid goes, this is something that both you and your partner should add more of into your diet.
Because you'll be carrying your baby, folic acid is something that plays a significant role in helping to keep your child's birth defects at a minimum (it can help to decrease your chances of having a premature birth as well). As far as your partner is concerned, more folic acid in his system can help to increase the quality of his sperm.
Taking a folic acid supplement is smart, but you can also take foods that are high in folic acid too. Some of those include dark leafy greens, liver, whole grains, sunflower seeds, asparagus, eggs and citrus fruit.
3. Lower Your Java and Alcohol Intake
If you can't imagine starting your day with a cup of coffee or ending it with a glass of red wine, you might want to consider scaling back on both of those for a while. Since caffeine is a stimulant, consuming more than two cups a day could affect your fertility; that's because caffeine is able to alter your nervous system and constrict your blood vessels. And alcohol? Drinking it can result in ovulation disorders which can make it much harder to get pregnant.
4. Take a Prenatal Vitamin
You probably already know that you should take a prenatal vitamin on a daily basis once you are officially pregnant, but it's also important to add prenatal vitamins to your daily regimen while you're trying to conceive too. The main reason why is because having all of those vitamins and minerals in your system before you get pregnant can lower the risk of your baby having heart defects, limb deformities and even a cleft palate. Your doctor should be able to recommend (or even prescribe) the kind of prenatal that will be best for you. But if you'd like to do a little research on your own, click here.
5. Create a Clear Exercise Regimen
Something that can help to keep you in shape, your joints and muscles limber and toned, along with keeping your stress levels way down (more on that in just a sec too) is exercise. Only, when you're in the process of trying to get pregnant, it's important that you don't overdo it because that is something else that could affect the balance of your hormones. If you already are in a semi-rigorous workout routine, scale that back into jogging, walking, water aerobics or yoga. In fact, yoga is one of the best things that you can do because the breathing exercises will calm you and the positions can help to prepare your body for, not only caring a baby to term, but birthing your child too.
6. Remove Stressors from Your Space
Stress is never good for anyone, but if you're wanting to get pregnant any time soon, you definitely need to make de-stressing a top priority. The reasons why are almost countless. For now, I'll just say that I once read an article that stated 1) women who are stressed out tend to produce high levels of the stress-monitoring enzyme alpha-amylase which can make it almost 30 percent harder to conceive and 2) the more stressed you are, the less sex you may want to have and, as you well know, sex is important to the conceiving process. That's why, during this very fragile time, it's important to cultivate clear boundaries, to get lots of rest and to downsize your life in areas where you know, without a doubt, can trigger you to have feelings of stress, worry or anxiety—whether it's a person, place, thing or idea.
7. Watch Your Weight
Hopefully, you already know that a lot of thin people are unhealthy and a lot of full-figured people are just fine. So, when it comes to this particular tip, it's not about shaming anyone. It's just that, the more pounds you put on, the more that can affect your hormones—including the regularity of your menstrual cycle.
Even though I am a doula, I'm not going to state what an "advisable weight" is. That is something else that you should discuss with your physician; just make sure that you do. You also might want to consult with a nutritionist. Matter of fact, there is a site called The Prenatal Nutritionist that can offer up all sorts of tips on how you can alter your diet in order to get the pregnancy results that you desire.
8. Limit Toxin Exposure
Something that can make conceiving (and carrying a healthy baby to term) difficult, that isn't discussed nearly enough, is how important it is to limit the amount of toxins your body is exposed to. Because indoor air pollution is 2-5 times worse than outdoor pollution, be sure to open up your windows sometimes and to also take walks outside. You might want to switch over from perfume to essential oils because synthetic fragrances also have toxins in them. When it comes to the water that you drink, make sure that the plastic bottles are BPA-free. If you get your hair relaxed, you should lay off of that too. Oh, and you might want to consider having a nail tech come into your home and only getting a regular manicure as well; the fumes in nail shops, along with the toxins in acrylic and powders, can also be counterproductive to your conception goals.
9. Schedule Your Sex
Making a baby can be a lot of fun. But I won't lie to you, when you're intentional about conceiving, a little bit of sex scheduling needs to happen too. Yes, this includes investing in an ovulation kit and making sure that you definitely engage in unprotected sex when it tells you that you are your most fertile. But honestly, because sometimes our cycles can be all over the place, many fertility experts recommend having sex no less than 3-4 times a week (every other day, if you're up to it). Not only can it increase your chances of getting pregnant, but semen can also help to develop your embryo once you actually are; especially in the very beginning stages of conception.
10. Consult with a Doula
While this might seem like a shameless plug, it isn't. I'm merely shouting out doulas (birthing assistants) because there is documented proof of how beneficial they can be. Studies show that the presence of a doula, not only provides emotional support, but they help to decrease your chances of having a C-section, the need for Pitocin and, they can help you to have a natural-as-possible birth (if that's what you so desire). Because a lot of doulas tend to come onto the scene around your third trimester, they are also able to provide you with tips on how to make your final weeks more comfortable and healthier, for both you and your baby. And that's actually why I recommend consulting with one before you conceive as well. There are all kinds of tips and "tricks" that we know that you may only hear from a midwife; things that can help get your body ready and better prepare for your pregnancy. So, definitely consider at least meeting with one to ask questions about conception and the stages of pregnancy. It can make all of what you're about to embark upon so much easier for you. For info on how to find a doula, check out DONA.org.
Want more conversations like this with other mamas and expectant mamas? Join the xoTribe members community to connect with mamas around the world.
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at email@example.com. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
Black women are not a monolith. We all are deserving of healing and wholeness despite what we've been through, how much money we have in the bank, or what we look like. Most importantly, we are enough—even when we are not working, earning, or serving.
Welcome to Black Girl Whole, your space to find the wellness routine that aligns with you! This brand-new marketplace by xoNecole is a safe space for Black women to activate their healing, find the inspiration to rest, and receive reassurance that we are one small act away from finding our happiness.
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Sex is a big deal. In fact, the clients I have who try to convince me otherwise, I essentially tell them that all they are doing is showing me that the state of their own sex life is not up to par because, if it was, they would agree that…again…sex is a big deal. No, it’s not everything. And no, it shouldn’t be solely relied on to keep a relationship together (check out “Make-Up Sex Might Be Doing Your Relationship More Harm Than Good”). However, when you stop to really let it sink in that sex is one of the main things that makes, say, a marriage different from all other relationships husbands and wives may have — say it with me, folks: SEX IS A BIG DEAL.
That’s why, whenever I read articles that state things like (currently) only 23 percent of (American) people would rate their sex life as being “excellent” (what in the world?!), I feel that it is basically my duty and mission to do all that I can to significantly increase those numbers. One way to do that is to offer some not-so-obvious tips that can make climaxing faster and easier for you.
So, if you fall into the “other than 23 percent category,” just know that I totally penned this with you in mind. Here are 12 things (plus a couple of bonus points) that could very well change and put some of your own sex odds in your favor…quite possibly, as soon as tonight.
1. Have a Sex DateGiphy
Okay, so “When's The Last Time You And Your Man Had A 'Sex Date'?” If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a date that has nothing but a sex theme in mind. It can be a dinner that features nothing but aphrodisiacs. A sleepover at a local hotel that you’ve always wanted to try. A sexcation that literally consists of nothing (much) more than sex, food, and sleep. Aside from the fact that planning a sexcation can help to build sexual anticipation for both you and your partner, it can also remind you that quality time together should, at least sometimes, evoke feelings of eroticism, lust, and profound sexual longing too. Yeah, something that can definitely help to put you in the mood is a well-thought-out sex date (if you need a bit of help financing one, do you own a sex jar…yet?).
2. Drink Lots of WaterGiphy
It doesn’t matter what the (physical) issue may be, it seems like water is always going to be one of the remedies for it. That makes sense, being that our bodies are made up of somewhere around 60 percent of it. When it comes to having an orgasm, consuming lots of water can help when it comes to getting you to produce more natural lubrication (the wetter you are, the less friction you’ll feel, and that can make climaxing so much easier to do). As a bonus, it can also reduce your chances of experiencing a Charley horse (you know, a random muscle spasm) that can sometimes pop up when you’re in sex positions that can help you to achieve an orgasm, yet you’re so dehydrated that a “horse” gets in the way.
3. Give Each Other a Scalp MassageGiphy
If you’ve got a lot on your mind, you’re totally stressed out, or you’re so focused on having an orgasm that you can’t seem to calm your mind or body down — how about getting a scalp massage (or giving yourself one)? Since scalp massages are able to produce feel-good hormones in your body and put you into a better mood, it’s the kind of unsung foreplay that should be factored in a helluva lot more than it tends to be. Also, since scalp massages can bring relief to headaches and migraines — well, if that’s been your reason (or is it a low-key excuse?) for not having sex, you might want to keep your partner from reading this. #Elmoshrug
4. Listen to Binaural BeatsGiphy
If you’ve never heard of binaural beat therapy, probably the best way to explain it is, it’s a type of sound wave therapy that is designed to reduce anxiety and stress, improve focus and concentration, and even improve your level of confidence. Since it’s also characterized as a form of self-help, all you need is some headphones and some beats that are on a specific kind of frequency to make this effective.
And what does this have to do with having an orgasm? Some people are huge fans of binaural beats because they say that the vibrations that come from them are quite sexually stimulating. I actually put a few friends to the test by sharing a link to a popular orgasmic-themed binaural beat (here). Guess what? They went in cynical and came out saying that, although they couldn’t quite put their finger on it, they did end up feeling a lil’ sumthin’ sumthin’. Just sayin’.
5. Focus on a Great (Sexual) MemoryGiphy
This is one of those times when I’m simply gonna say, “Hey, don’t shoot the messenger” and leave it at that (LOL). That’s my intro for sharing that, although I think most people reading this would scream at the top of their lungs that their partner saying someone else’s name during sex is the ultimate no-no, I once read an article where a neuroscience professor stated that it shouldn’t automatically be triggering. According to him, it could be nothing more than a cognitive euphoric reaction to a past experience that was equally as pleasurable; it’s usually not a sign that your partner is longing for someone else.
Whatever the case may be, my biggest takeaway is, focusing on satisfying sexual memories can get your mind ready for what your body is about to do. It does this by reducing anxiety and cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Plus, the nostalgia can make you feel closer to your partner as well. So, while you might want to go with the present instead of your past, taking a sexual stroll down memory lane could end up totally working in your favor.
6. Introduce Him to the “Egg Yolk Method”Giphy
I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if you already knew that yoni eggs and egg vibrators can help you out with your orgasm mission. Okay, but what you might not be aware of is the fact that eating eggs can give you more energy and activate a neurotransmitter in your brain that can help you to have longer and more intensified orgasms (spinach and mushroom omelet, anyone?).
Also, keeping in with the theme of all-things-eggs-related, if you didn’t catch the viral TikTok from last summer that some media simply called “the egg yolk” method, you can watch it for yourself here. The gist is a woman decided that caressing an egg yolk is the best way to teach men how to stimulate your vulva. Thoughts?
7. Try the Kivin MethodGiphy
It’s no secret that it’s easier for many women to cum from cunnilingus than intercourse. Well, something that you can try that may help to intensify oral sex orgasms is something known as the Kivin Method. The mindset here is, if your partner orally pleases you horizontally instead of vertically, they will “cover more ground” that way. To make it happen, you need to be on your back while holding one of your knees to your chest. Then he comes in on his side and starts to orally stimulate you that way. That will cause him to stimulate more than just your clitoris. Pretty interesting, right?
8. Learn About the Coital Alignment TechniqueGiphy
Ah yes. The thing that actually inspired me to write this article in the first place. For the past few years, when it comes to the topic of achieving peak sexual pleasure, something that has been receiving quite a bit of attention is the coital alignment technique (also known as the CAT, although some call it “grinding the corn”). It’s a sex position that’s a variation of the missionary position that hones in on the clitoris.
It does this by having your partner move his body slightly above your clitoris so that it can be rather easily stimulated during penetration. For many, it’s a cool “workaround” if they are unable to achieve a vaginal orgasm. Try it (if you haven’t already) and report back.
9. Engage in Nipple Play During IntercourseGiphy
The reason why I once wrote, “So, What If 'Typical Erogenous Zones' Annoy TF Outta You?” is because I know what it’s like to have a partner assume that a part of your body is easy to get turned on…when it actually isn’t. If, for you, that happens to be your breasts (and, more specifically, your nipples), at least consider letting your partner stimulate them during intercourse.
Believe it or not, according to science, your brain responds to nipple stimulation in the same way it does whenever your genitals get sexually excited. This means that, even if you don’t “see the mountaintop” from penetration alone, sometimes the tag-teaming of intercourse and nipple play can get you the orgasm that you’re after.
10. Get into the Fetal PositionGiphy
As far as sex positions go, while the spoon and fetal position are quite similar, the fetal wins when it comes to being able to give you an orgasm quicker, mostly because the closer your knees are to your chest, the easier it is for your partner’s penis to be able to stimulate both your clitoris as well as your vagina. When that is the case, you increase the chances of experiencing a full-blown vaginal orgasm, something that continues to be an exclusive club because less than one in five are able to pull that off.
11. Have Him Press Down on Your TummyGiphy
If you’ve ever wondered if your G-spot can be stimulated from the outside in (or if you’ve been patiently waiting for your partner to figure out just where your G-spot actually is), how about pressing down on your stomach to see if that works?
From what I’ve read and researched, although this approach gained popularity due to a now-deleted TikTok post, there are medical professionals who cosign on the fact that putting a bit of external pressure in the abdominal region during sexual activity has a great chance of intensifying orgasms, for sure. Word on the street is, you increase your chances of climaxing quicker when this happens, too.
I mean, at least ask for a tummy massage before the action begins. Seems to me like this is an easy enough hack to try at least once.
12. Breathe Deeply Through Sexual StimulationGiphy
Something that your body needs a lot of during sex is oxygen. One of the reasons why is that it helps to keep the blood flowing throughout your system — and that includes your genitalia. And the more blood that rushes down that way, the more pleasurable your orgasms will be. That’s why it’s critically important to remember to breathe deeply during the sexual experience. Although it can be tempting (and even understandable) to want to hold your breath or have shortness of breath at times, those are the very moments when taking air in and breathing it out slowly can make all the difference in the world when it comes to having some of your best orgasms — EVER.
BONUS for Postmenopausal Women: Topical TestosteroneGiphy
For better or for worse, something that none of us are going to be able to escape is menopause. It’s a fact of life that will impact everything — including our sex lives. And just like our estrogen levels will drop, so will the testosterone that runs throughout our system. This is relevant because testosterone plays a significant role in your sex drive and how fulfilling sex can be for you. One solution to having lower testosterone is testosterone therapy in the form of applying topical testosterone.
As far as who can use it, where and when you should apply it, and the dosage amount that is beneficial, those things are pretty particular; that’s why you should definitely consult with your healthcare provider before adding it to your sexual self-care regimen. As far as this article goes, I’m just letting you know that there are some options available.
BONUS to Get HIM There: Make a FistGiphy
Finally, if you’re down with giving head yet you just can’t seem to work around the involuntary gagging that sometimes happens, here’s the hack for all hacks: did you know that, by forming a fist with your left hand and then squeezing your thumb inside of it, it can relax you and open up your throat? No, really. Although supposedly this discovery was birthed out of making dental visits easier, I’m pretty sure you can see how this can translate (quite well, I might add) over to the oral sex department ,too. Here’s hoping, sis. #wink
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Featured image by Giphy