Trying for a baby can be stressful for some people. Especially if they already have any underlying medical issues or it is taking longer than they expected to become pregnant. Information surrounding trying to conceive can sometimes be confusing or misleading. So here, Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife offers some myth-busting facts to clarify any grey areas and give a bit more information.
How fertility works:
Getting pregnant can take time. But, over 80% of women under 40 years old will become pregnant during their first year of trying for a baby (although overall this statistic is slightly reduced for those over the age of 35).
Hormonal contraception (for example the pill, injection and implant) masks the body’s helpful signs which can tell us when we are at our most fertile. Such as changes in mood and vaginal discharge. Once hormonal contraception has been stopped, try to tune into these signs as your menstrual cycle starts to get back into its normal pattern. It may be useful to start tracking these on an ovulation chart to keep note of them.
Taking your temperature everyday can indicate when it most likely that you are ovulating each month. There is a slight rise of around 0.5C during this time. The best way to do this is to take your temperature at the same time every day before you get out of bed (this is known as your basal body temperature).
If you are trying to conceive both you and your partner could benefit from some simple diet and lifestyle changes. Improving these aspects of your life can not only impact more positively on your fertility, but also ensure your body has the best start if you become pregnant.
Ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) usually occurs once, midway through a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle. There is a window of around 12-24 hours after this when fertilisation by the sperm can occur. This doesn’t mean that you need to have sex exactly at this time. It just means that sperm need to be present, ready to meet the egg. If the conditions are right it can be possible for sperm to live around 5 days after ejaculation.
Having sex regularly will increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Sperm is continuously generated and stored by the man. It doesn’t run out, so the chances of conception do not decrease if you have sex more often.
If becoming pregnant takes longer than expected it can be difficult not to become anxious and stressed over it. Feeling stressed and anxious can lead to the release of hormones. These are not helpful to fertility and can suppress those hormones that are needed to conceive a baby. Reducing stress is easier said than done though. It is worthwhile planning time into your routine to help manage these feelings. This could be whatever helps you to relax and destress the best. It may be as simple as a daily, silent walk in the woods. How about a regular movie night or as lush as a late-night swim or treatment at your favourite spa or gym.
My Expert Midwife has launched a not-for-profit Trying to Conceive kit which contains a midwife written guide to trying to conceive, ovulation chart, ovulation sticks, thermometer and pregnancy tests. For more information on how to get. pregnant visit Myexpertmidwife.com