The day you decide you want to try and have a baby is an exciting one.
I’m sure there are so many thoughts flying through your head – how long will it take? Will I even be able to get pregnant? Am I actually ready?
Although my pregnancy with Jack was a bit unexpected, Oliver was planned, and it was exciting each month waiting to see if my pregnancy test was positive or not.
While there are many things that can affect your chances of getting pregnant, today I’m going to share a little “secret” about how you can increase your chances of getting pregnant more quickly:
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Understanding your Cycle
By understanding your monthly cycle, you can better understand when your body is ready to get pregnant.
A typical woman has a menstrual cycle every 28 days – however, many women are anything by typical! The average time of ovulation is between day 11 and day 21 – which is a HUGE range. Some may ovulate sooner, others later, than what any calculator online can tell you.
On average, a fertile couple will be able to conceive within a year. I believe that by having a better understanding of when you are ovulating and in that fertile window, you have a much better chance of getting pregnant quicker.
I know several women who use the “natural family planning” method, which allows them to have a better idea of what days they are most fertile. One of my friends said she knows the exact day of conception for both of her boys, simply because she was well-versed in natural family planning.
When the egg is released during ovulation, you have a 24-hour window for the egg to be fertilized before it dissolves. Sperm lasts 2-4 days, so the timing doesn’t have to always be totally exact…but it helps if it is!
Understanding when you ovulate takes several cycles to get a good idea. Even if you get your period on the same day every. single. month., you may be surprised to find out when you ovulate. Many women have irregular cycles as well, so by doing a few simple things, you can figure out when you are most likely to be fertile, even if your ovulation dates are erratic.
So, what is the best way to understand your fertility a little better? Here are a few tools to help:
Tools to help understand fertility:
Taking Charge of your Fertility: This is an INCREDIBLE book that really dives deep into helping women understand their bodies. It’s an Amazon best-seller, and it’s recommended by people everywhere.
It focuses on the “Fertility Awareness Method”, which is a proven method for preventing and encouraging pregnancy. It’s a simple method, but it works. I highly recommend that every woman reads this book to better understand themselves.
This is one of the most innovative tools available to help women get pregnant. I heard about it while I was pregnant with Oliver, and I just thought it seemed like the most amazing tool. Here is a story about a mom who struggled with infertility and was able to conceive using it!
Basically, it’s a bracelet that you wear while you sleep. During that time, it tracks your sleep, body temperature, and other variables to help identify the five most fertile days of your cycle so you know when to try and conceive. It has been shown to nearly double your chances of getting pregnant, which is pretty amazing.
Not only does it help you get pregnant, but it’s a great tool for helping you to understand your cycle, as well as your general health (even through pregnancy). They have some pretty cool improvements in the works that may be able to help alert moms to certain pregnancy complications (though those are not yet available).
I do want to emphasize that the Ava Fertility Bracelet should NOT be used as a form of birth control. It would have to be adjusted in several ways in order for it to give you an entire picture of when you shouldn’t get pregnant. However, it’s one of the best tools out there to help you understand your monthly cycle, and when the time comes, to help you get pregnant faster.
I do think it can be tricky to have to try and remember to charge it every night and wear it – but if you are able to do that, it can be really helpful. If you need something a little more hands off, I recommend EarlySense by Percept. You just plug it in!
You can use other methods (that I’ll mention below) to figure out when you are ovulating, but I just think this is a fool-proof method that can help you be more on top of things – you really don’t have to do anything beyond remembering to wear it at night! I think that if you are having trouble getting pregnant, it can be very helpful to help you figure things out.
For someone like me who just isn’t good at taking my temperature or keeping a piece of a paper around to track other information, it’s perfect. I love that all I have to do is put it on at night, and then all the information from the night is recorded the next day. I am such a technical, details person, so I love being able to use the app and see it right in front of me. It’s an easy to use app, and I’m excited to be able to use it in the future when I am trying to get pregnant (not for a long time!).
You can order it here and get free shipping with the code clarkscondensed.
Basal Body Temperature
This is the method I was *attempting* to use when I got pregnant with Jack. While I obviously didn’t do a very good job of it, I actually knew I was pregnant before I even took the test because I had figured out that my basal body temperature rose during ovulation…and when it normally would have dropped back down, it just stayed elevated (normal when you are pregnant).
Your basal body temperature (BBT) is your lowest body temperature during the day, and it should be taken before you even get out of bed, ideally at the same time every day. There are special basal body thermometers that you can use to help with this.
On the day you ovulate, your BBT will usually rise .4-1 degrees, which indicates that you are fertile. It’s not always full-proof, so you need to be very precise in measuring this. The BBT will typically stay elevated until your menstrual cycle is over.
Ovulation Test Strips and Cervical Mucus
Ovulation test strips are very commonly used, and they are very inexpensive. There are fancy monitors, but these seem to work just as well to help avoid pregnancy. By using these and checking your cervical musuc on a regular basis, you can have a better idea of when to try and conceive your child (or to avoid it!).
By using a combination of ovulation sticks, checking your cervical mucus, and keeping track of your basal body temperature, you should chart your cycles and fertile days. This is where I went wrong, because I was sooo bad about it. There are plenty of charts you can use online that will allow you to do this. I’m sure there are apps available, too!
Ways to Boost Fertility
- Take your prenatal vitamins – make sure it has folic acid (unless you have a MTFHR mutation – like I do. In that case, you’ll need to take a prenatal vitamin that has methylfolate in it – SmartyPants is one brand that has this).
- Eat foods rich in folic acids.
- Eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly – try to maintain a healthy body weight. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine says, “a drop in weight of 5%-10% can dramatically improve ovulation and pregnancy rates.”
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
- Use lubricant specifically for conception – such as pre-seed.
- Cassava Root – this is a supplement that supposedly can increase the chance of conceving twins, but moreso, it helps increase fertility overall. There are other supplements available as well (so I might check into the ones that aren’t supposed to increase the chance of twins, if you aren’t sure you want twins :).
Talk with your Doctor
If you are EVER concerned about anything, make sure you consult with your doctor. There are many women who struggle with infertility, and all the charting in the world won’t help more than a doctor can. They also can advise you on how to better understand your menstrual cycle and help with any issues you may have.
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