It's one of the great ironies of life: you spend most of your twenties trying hard not to get pregnant, then when you actually want a baby, it dawns on you that it’s harder than you thought. Because for every story you hear about that friend of a friend who gave birth on the sofa without knowing she was even pregnant, there are five more wine-induced confessions of women desperately trying, and failing, to conceive.
‘Producing another human being is complicated,’ admits reproductive biologist Grace Dugdale. ‘Sometimes it seems like a miracle that anyone actually gets pregnant.’ The odds are stacked against us. There are only six days a month when a woman is fertile: ovulation day (when the egg is released from the ovary) and the five days before. It’s down to the lifespan of the sperm (five days) and the egg (24 hours). The window is surprisingly small and one in seven couples in the UK suffer from fertility problems, but the reassuring news is that most couples – 84 per cent – do get pregnant within a year. ‘There’s so much that women (and their partners) can do to increase their chances of conceiving naturally,’ says Dugdale. ‘It’s just a case of playing the detective to see what works.’ Here are five things to avoid if you’re trying for a baby…
A male friend recently recalled waking up one morni