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When to try…when you’re trying for a baby

When to try…when you are trying for a baby

Becoming pregnant (conception) occurs when a man’s sperm fertilises a women’s egg. For some women this happens quickly, but for others it can take longer.

For many of us the first few years of sexual activity were accompanied by anxiety about the potential of unplanned pregnancy. Many schools and parents encouraged education and conversation, and there was a great deal of information available on the various forms of contraception.

It is a whole new way of thinking to flip your thoughts and actions around maximising your chance of becoming pregnant, and you can feel rather hard done by if you don’t become pregnant easily after years of carefully avoiding it.

To understand conception and pregnancy, it helps to understand how a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and periods work. The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of full flow of the period (Day 1) and doesn’t include any days of spotting that may lead up to it. A follicle containing a growing egg develops on the ovary and is eventually matured and released (ovulation).  There are three female hormones that are part of the complex process of ovulation, which are oestrogen, progesterone and luteinizing hormone.  When the mature egg is released from the ovary it is swept into the fallopian tube where it hopefully meets up with a sperm and fertilisation takes place.  During the first part of the menstrual cycle (follicular phase) the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is building and changing in readiness for the fertilised egg to implant. If a fertilised egg (embryo) does not implant then the endometrium is eventually shed and that is the next period or ‘Day 1’.

To give you the greatest chance of becoming pregnant I recommend having sex a couple of days before ovulation and on the day of ovulation. Sperm can live for at least 3 days in the woman’s body, however an egg will only be receptive to sperm for a maximum of 24 hours after ovulation and therefore must be fertilised within this time.  So if you have sex in the days just before ovulation, the sperm will have time to travel up the fallopian tubes to wait for the egg to be released.

There are many methods you can use to predict ovulation. These include measuring changes in temperature, vaginal mucus and urine. However, these methods are not always very reliable due to a number of external influences.

Simple maths is often the most helpful. Ovulation occurs around 14 days before the next period, so if your cycle is 28 days from one period to the next you will ovulate on day 14. However, if your cycle is 32 days, it’s likely that you will ovulate on day 18 and if it were 24 days, you would ovulate on day 10. If you want to become pregnant, have sex every second day for a week before, and a couple of days after you expect to ovulate.

This is easy enough to figure out if your cycle length is regular. However, if you have irregular cycles you might need some help to work out the best dates to try. Some women may need to consult with their doctor to monitor their cycle with blood tests and then have medication to help regulate their periods.

Out of every 100 couples trying for a baby, 80 to 90 will become pregnant within one year and the rest will take longer or may need the help of a fertility specialist to conceive. If you are under 37 and have been trying for a year without becoming pregnant or if you are more than 37 and  you have been trying for 6 months without success, it may be beneficial to make an appointment to discuss Cycle Tacking or book a free phone chat with Fertility Nurse Pam

Becoming pregnant (conception) occurs when a man’s sperm fertilises a women’s egg. For some women this happens quickly, but for others it can take longer.

For many of us the first few years of sexual activity were accompanied by anxiety about the potential of unplanned pregnancy. Many schools and parents encouraged education and conversation, and there was a great deal of information available on the various forms of contraception.

It is a whole new way of thinking to flip your thoughts and actions around to maximise the chance of becoming pregnant, and you can feel rather hard done by if you don’t become pregnant easily after years of carefully avoiding it.

To understand conception and pregnancy, it helps to understand how a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle and periods work. The menstrual cycle is counted from the first day of full flow of the period (Day 1) and doesn’t include any days of spotting that may lead up to it. A follicle containing a growing egg develops on the ovary and is eventually matured and released (ovulation).  There are three female hormones that are part of the complex process of ovulation, which are oestrogen, progesterone and luteinizing hormone.  When the mature egg is released from the ovary it is swept into the fallopian tube where it hopefully meets up with a sperm and fertilisation takes place.  During the first part of the menstrual cycle (follicular phase) the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is building and changing in readiness for the fertilised egg to implant. If a fertilised egg (embryo) does not implant then the endometrium is eventually shed and that is the next period or ‘Day 1’.

To give you the greatest chance of becoming pregnant I recommend having sex a couple of days before ovulation and/or on the day of ovulation. Sperm can live for at least 3 days in the woman’s body, however an egg will only be receptive to sperm for a maximum of 24 hours after ovulation and therefore must be fertilised within this time.  So if you have sex in the days just before ovulation, the sperm will have time to travel up the fallopian tubes to wait for the egg to be released.

There are many methods you can use to predict ovulation. These include measuring changes in temperature, vaginal mucus and urine. However, these methods are not always very reliable due to a number of external influences.

Simple maths is often the most helpful. Ovulation occurs around 14 days before the next period, so if your cycle is 28 days from one period to the next you will ovulate on day 14. However, if your cycle is 32 days, it’s likely that you will ovulate on day 18 and if it were 24 days, you would ovulate on day 10. If you want to become pregnant, have sex every second day for a week before, and a couple of days after you expect to ovulate.

This is easy enough to figure out if your cycle length is regular. If you have quite irregular cycles you might need some help to work out the best dates to try. Some women may need to consult with their doctor to monitor their cycle with blood tests and then have medication to help regulate their periods.

Out of every 100 couples trying for a baby, 80 to 90 will become pregnant within 1 year and the rest will take longer or may need the help of a fertility specialist to conceive. If you are under 37 and have been trying for a year without becoming pregnant or if you are more than 37 and  you have been trying for 6 months without success it may be beneficial to make an appointment to discuss Cycle Tacking or book a free phone chat with Fertility Nurse Pam