It’s incredibly exciting when you decide to have a baby. And it’s the most natural thing in the world so it should be easy, right?
But that’s not always the case. We get told the basics of how babies are made but no one ever tells us the exact ins and outs. No one explains it can take more than a quick bonk to make a baby.
We’ll help you understand what you can do to give yourself the best chance of getting pregnant and some steps to speed things up a little bit.
It can all get a bit stressy if you’re trying month after month, baby-making is supposed to be fun so try and stay relaxed and enjoy the moment (hopefully it lasts a little longer than that though!). If you take 100 women then about 84 of them get pregnant in the first year they try, and then another 6 or so in the second year.
Loads of things affect how quickly you get pregnant including if you use contraception, how old you are, your health (generally and your lady bits) and how often you have sex. And all this applies to your bloke too.
And there are times you’ll need some help to get pregnant or a bit more advice. Your GP should be your first stop if you’ve been having sex every 2-3 days and haven’t got pregnant after trying for 12 months. And it’s not just your responsibility to get checked, both partners need to be involved.
What can I do to get pregnant?
Ready to start trying for a baby? There are a few things you can do to get yourself in the best possible shape.
- Start with you. You’re where your baby will live for nine months so now’s the time to look after yourself. Stop the ciggies, drop the booze and start taking a pre-pregnancy vitamin with folic acid. It helps if your partner stops drinking and smoking too.
- You don’t need to go on a mad diet but being overweight or underweight can stop you from getting pregnant and cause more complications.
- Think there’s any chance you or your partner might have fertility issues? Then go and see your GP or if your budget can stretch, have a private pre-pregnancy check and tests (sometimes called a preconception check).
- If you have diabetes, sickle cell disease, another disorder you could pass to your baby or take regular medication then talk to your GP before you start trying.
- Come off any form of birth control like the pill or implant and stop using contraception. Don’t stop taking regular medication unless your doctor tells you it’s ok.
- Chill the heck out. Easier said than done, we know. But getting pregnant isn’t a race and the more stressed you are the harder it is. Struggling with anxiety? Try some yoga, exercise, meditation or visualisation.
- It’s harder to get pregnant as you get older so if you’re over 36 then a quick chat with the GP is a good idea. And if you do get pregnant don’t be alarmed when your pregnancy is called geriatric. It’s rude but just a medical term to mean you’re not 21 anymore.
Understand your cycle
Your periods and whole menstrual cycle can be a thing of mystery. You might be someone who has a regular-as-clockwork 28-day cycle, where you release an egg (ovulate) on day 14, giving you about five or six days when you’re fertile. But most of us don’t sit in nice neat boxes.
Tracking your cycle helps you understand when you’re most fertile and most likely to get pregnant.
You don’t have to track and chances are if you’re having plenty of sex you’ll get pregnant. But if you’re a planner then watch changes in your body and use handy gadgets to find out the best time to try and get pregnant.
When you release an egg it lives for around 12-24 hours. But you’ve got a bit longer than that because sperm can live for up to 5 days in your body. So if you know when you release that egg (ovulate) you can time sex before, during and after for your best chances. If you’re having IVF this is why they time insemination very carefully.
There are all sorts of tech to help you track your cycle and know if you’ve ovulated. Try and make sure they don’t take over your life and add stress.
Apps: Try Clue or Period Tracker to understand your periods and cycle, they can help you spot when your fertile times might be.
Ovulation strips*: You wee on these just like a pregnancy test, if the line is dark then you’re probably in a fertile window. Sex ahoy!
Fertility monitors*: Again wee on a stick but this clever tech tells you if your fertility is low, high or peak.
Do I need technology to know if I’m ovulating?
Nope, your body also gives you signs and can be an indicator of your fertile times.
The first thing to look at is your cervical mucus. Sounds gross, but it changes during different parts of your cycle and can help you understand the best time to have sex and make your baby.
- You have discharge from your vagina all the time. And it goes from hardly anything to sticky, then creamy and then wetter and goopy like egg whites. Got to that stage? That means fertile cervical mucus and you’re (probably) about to ovulate. This is just what those sperm need to survive and swim up your uterus.
- Tracking? Take your body temp every day and if you see a little drop and then a little rise this is probably when you ovulate.
- And if you fancy a good rootle around then your cervix (the bit between your vagina and uterus) gets softer, higher up and more open around ovulation.
- You might also get cramping, sore boobs and a bit of bleeding when you ovulate. And nature usually lends a hand by making you a bit horny.
It’s sexy time...
Bonking. Shagging. Lovemaking. Sex. Whatever you call it you need to do it if you want to get pregnant (unless you’re doing some type of insemination). Doctors reckon you need to have sex every 2-3 days for the best chance of getting pregnant.
But just as important as the actual act of doing it is the enjoyment you get from it. Sex isn’t supposed to be another thing on your list of jobs to do. It’s ok to really want to have a baby and plan but it’s also important to take care of your relationship and your mental health.
Found this helpful? Read Trying To Conceive - Tips From Real Mums
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