Getting pregnant is either easy or it’s just way too hard – that kind of attitude is very common in our society of quick fixes and extremes. But the truth is that we may not know everything about our bodies and we certainly don’t know everything there is to know about getting pregnant, even if we’ve already had a baby or two. So relax and read on, and you just might pick up a couple of tips to help you get that baby you really want.
1. His Swimmers Are Stubborn. You may have been told to have more sex around ovulation, but the truth is that a man’s sperm can stick around inside you for several days and still remain completely viable. Not only that, but despite all the charts, calendars, apps and cervical mucosa testing, it’s really best practice to have sex every couple of days throughout your cycle. Too time consuming or worried about getting bored? At least focus on the two weeks around your peak of ovulation, i.e. have sex every other day starting one week before you’re meant to ovulate, and keep going a week after as well. If his sperm counts are low, you may want to drop it down to every three or four days, but then you’ll want to extend your window to three weeks.
2. Ditch the Deep-Freeze. Freezing your eggs may not be the best solution if you’re thinking of getting pregnant soon, or even somewhere down the road. It’s usually recommended for people with unavoidable medical concerns and not as a means of extending your fertile years, so bear this in mind. The success rate with frozen eggs drops dramatically as you age, plus there’s really no reason to expect much benefit from the procedure if you’re already in your late 30’s, and it’s quite costly – upwards of $20,000 in some cases. Ask your doctor if you’re interested, but make sure that you get all the facts about your own personal situation.
3. Schedule Your Obsessing. You might become really anxious once you’ve ovulated and you’re simply waiting to see if you’re pregnant or not. While this is completely normal, it won’t leave you feeling very good, and won’t do much for your (hopefully) growing baby. So schedule some time, say 10-15 minutes in the morning and 10-15 minutes at night, each day to make sure you a. get all that obsessing out of the way, and b. you let your mind relax the rest of the day. This focused time for checking charts, mucosa, urine or what have you can leave your mind open to focus on the rest of your life, the rest of the day.
4. Let Your Hair Down. Speaking of stress, relaxing just might be the thing you need to help you conceive. Stress levels can adversely affect your levels of egg-releasing hormones, and so too much stress can cause you to ovulate later than expected, or can even keep it from happening at all. This is one of the ways that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine, massage therapy, psychotherapy and other natural medicines can help. So if you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, look at ways that you can help those hormones get a little more balanced.
5. Know the Odds. While it might seem like getting pregnant should be easy – heck, you spent all those years trying NOT to have it happen, so this should just be like letting go, right? If only it were that easy. The truth is that couples in their 30’s only have a 15 percent chance of getting pregnant each month, which is why most doctors suggest giving it a full year before being concerned. Plus, your genetics really determine how many eggs you’re born with, so the fact is that you only have so much control over what happens. Good advice: do your best with what you’ve got (including good nutrition and natural medicine), and leave the rest up to fate.
6. He Needs a Check-Up Too. Many couples start with the woman – making sure everything is working properly, then trying for a number of months before the man even gets considered as a candidate for testing. The truth is that men’s sperm counts can decline as they age, based on their natural genetics and their lifestyle – did you know that gum disease can lower sperm counts? Get him brushing! Other factors for him to consider are being under- or overweight, previous infection with an STD, smoking or excessive drinking. While most doctors suggest waiting a year before getting tested, you might as well both start living healthy now – it will only help you achieve your goal faster.
7. Keep it Real. Speaking of living healthier, STD’s can reduce fertility in either partner, so if you haven’t been already, start practicing safe sex now. And you might want to also stop douching – it can lower levels of good bacteria in your vagina which in turn can lead to bacterial or yeast infection, which can lead to reduced fertility. All of this points to one simple rule: live as cleanly, safely and as naturally as possible, and you’ll start improving your chances of conceiving.
By Richard Lobbenberg, BSc BHSc DAc