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Pregnancy is one of the toughest and monumental decisions to make. Pregnancy literally translates to welcoming a new human being into your life- for life! While that might sound like a big deal, there’s a bigger deal hopeful parents usually have to first come to terms with- How to conceive!
Couples, usually, begin their pursuit of pregnancy on the mother’s first cycle after decision-day. While conception might happen at the first try in some cases, a typical woman at the age of 30 only has 20% chances of getting pregnant each month. It’s normal for it to Hence, in most cases, conceiving might take longer than thought- which is absolutely normal.
However, having said that, there sure are some steps you might want to take to safely increase your chances of getting pregnant.
Quick Revision: How Does A Pregnancy Take Place ?
As ideal as we agree it would be, pregnancy does not happen just by having unprotected sex. There are a lot of factors to keep in mind.
- Every month, an egg in the ovary grows and matures to prepare for ovulation
- This happens at the beginning of the menstrual period and takes two weeks on average
- Once the egg fully matures, it is released from the ovary into the fallopian tube aka Ovulation
- Once in the fallopian tube, it then travels down to the uterus
- Once in the uterus, it sits there for 24 hours waiting to be fertilized (it should be noted that an egg after it reaches the uterus, is fertile only for 24 hours)
- Only if the egg fertilizes, that is, meets a sperm in those 24 hours, it travels further down in the uterus
- It then ultimately implants itself in the uterus lining to later develop into a baby.
Timing Is Very Important To Increase The Chances Of Pregnancy
Having established the process of fertilization, it must be now obvious that ‘timing’ is very important when it comes to conceiving a baby. The tip here is to have sex in the days before and after the expected date of ovulation (it can be tracked via multiple free apps like Flo).
By doing so, you basically increase the chances of the sperm to meet the eggs in the fallopian tubes, also making it easier for fertilization to take place. Besides, sperm can survive in the female reproductive tract for up to 5 days, hence, sex before and after the expected ovulation is the key to increasing the chances of pregnancy.
- If your menstrual cycle is regular, you will ideally ovulate two weeks prior to the expected date of the period
- Hence, since the egg takes time to mature and reach the uterus, for a woman on a regular cycle, the fertile window will be 7 days before the expected ovulation
Getting pregnant is not that simple for women on irregular cycles since it gets a little too tricky to determine the ovulation and the fertile window.
However, there are a few steps that can be taken by all women to predict the fertile window and to determine ovulation.
1. Use An Ovulation Prediction Kit
Just a pregnancy detection kit, an ovulation prediction kit needs you to urinate on the test strip for a couple of mornings, starting a few days before your estimated ovulation. The test strip then detects the levels of “Luteinizing Hormone (LH)” to predict ovulation. (Luteinizing Hormone is a hormone that boosts in the body before ovulation.) A positive result on the ovulation prediction kit means your chances of making a baby are high and it is a good time to have sex!
Ovulation prediction kits are available at over the counter pharmacies.
2. Look Out For Cervical Mucus Changes
Keeping a close check on the consistency of cervical mucus can also help predict ovulation. While the ovarian follicle (a sac in the ovary containing the maturing egg) develops, the estrogen in a woman’s body rises, causing the cervical mucus to appear thin, increased in production, and slippery. The day you notice this in your underwear, you should start having sex as it indicated you are nearing ovulation. Post ovulation, the mucus will become thick, cloudy, and sticky.
3. Professional Monitoring
You could also reach out to a doctor and take their professional help to determine the right time to have sex in order to conceive a baby. A doctor might advise regular blood hormone tests and ultrasounds of your to be able to determine the exact date of ovulation.
4. Monitor Your Basal Body Temperature
A slightly higher basal body temperature (basal body temperature is your temperature when you’re at complete rest) for three days in a row might indicate that you have ovulated. Hence, by monitoring the temperature each morning before getting out of bed, you can track a variation in the temperature to predict ovulation. At times, this temperature variation can be as less as half a degree but it does not mean that it does not count.
But again, this technique might not be as viable as others listed here since temperature variations are also subjected to various factors like infections or the flu.
The Role Of Positions, Orgasms, and Lubes While Trying To Conceive A Baby
1. Sex Positions
There have not been any established sex positions that increase the chances of getting pregnant. However, post intercourse, it is often advised to stay in bed for up to half an hour or to lie on your back with your hips raised on a pillow to encourage the sperm to travel to the egg.
It is obvious that a man needs to orgasm to be able to eject sperms in the woman’s reproductive tract. However, is it really important for women to orgasm in order to be able to conceive a baby? The answer is not really. Pregnancy is only dependent on sperm from the man that can fertilize an egg from the woman; a woman’s orgasming not being as necessary.
It is very important to use fertility-friendly lubes as generic lubes might hamper the sperm quality and motility, reducing the chances of getting pregnant. As per yourfertility.org, “natural oils – including olive, canola, mustard, and baby oils – are considered sperm-friendly lubricants and can be used during baby-making sex.”
What Affects Fertility ?
While all of the above-mentioned methods can be regarded as scientific ways of increasing the chances of pregnancy, it is also important for a woman to take care of her body to increase the chances of pregnancy internally.
A couple of factors that can affect a woman’s fertility include-
Fertility declines over time, hence, a 35-year-old woman will be less fertile than a 25-year-old woman.
A woman trying to conceive a baby should always try to avoid vices like smoking, marijuana, alcohol, and even excessive caffeine as these can reduce fertility. Up to 13 percent of female infertility is caused by cigarette smoking, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Caffeine intake is advised by doctors to be less than 200 mg per day.
● Sexually Transmitted Infections
Untreated or avoided STIs can cause damages to a woman’s fallopian tubes, reducing fertility.
● Chronic Health Issues
Health issues like PCOS, Endometriosis, kidney diseases, overweight, thyroid, and even autoimmune disorders like Lupus can reduce a woman’s fertility.
● Prolonged Exposure To Toxins
Some couples might have individuals in occupations that pose prolonged exposure to toxins like pesticides, pollutants, and industrial chemicals. Such exposure might disrupt a woman’s menstrual cycle while a lower sex drive, erectile dysfunction, or a reduced sperm count in men.
While these are a few reasons for reduced fertility, there could be multiple other reasons why you and your partner are not able to conceive. It is always advised to seek professional help before jumping to any conclusions. Remember, there always exists a possible solution!
If you are a couple trying to conceive a baby for too long already, you might be wondering when’s a good time to reach out for professional help. Ideally, healthy couples tend to conceive within the first year of them trying to actively become pregnant.
However, if you are a woman over the age of 35 or with pre-existing medical conditions, it might be fruitful to visit a doctor to get some help and guidance on getting pregnant or increasing fertility.
If you also happen to be aware of a genetic condition in your family, it would be a good idea to consult a doctor to clear all doubts.
Above all, pregnancy sure can be challenging but it also will be one of the most beautiful journeys of life- relax, be patient, and prepare yourself for the ultimate gift of life!