Saturday, April 24, 2010

Are you doing it right? Conception 101

You’re probably thinking, “Come on, are you seriously going to tell me how to have sex?!” Well, not exactly, but before we discuss anything else about infertility, I want to make sure you’re timing things correctly. Many couples think they’re having trouble conceiving when all they really need is to know a little more about the basics of timing sex and ovulation.

Most women’s cycles are 28-30 days. This period is broken up into two phases:
  • The follicular phase is from Day 1 (Spotting doesn’t count. We’re talking enough fluids to dirty a pad) of your period to ovulation.
  • The luteal phase is from ovulation to your next period.

Once the egg is released from your fallopian tube, it will only stick around for a maximum of 24 hours. So what we want is to have intercourse a few days prior to ovulation (and on the day of ovulation), since sperm can live up to 5 days (if it’s in the right medium – more on that later).

There are several ways to figure out how long your cycles are in total and how long your follicular and luteal phases last respectively. One way is to chart your waking temperature (you need to do this for 3 months to have a clear grasp of your cycles). The second is check your cervix and the cervical fluids (it’s the “medium” I mentioned above. You’re looking for an raw egg-white like consistency). Lastly, you can purchase an ovulation detector kit from a drugstore (just follow the instructions on the box).

So assuming that your cycles are 28 days, then starting on Day 10 you want to have sex every other day. Unlike what some people think, in this case it’s not quantity (i.e., having intercourse every day) but quality (i.e., healthy sperm) that counts. Having sex everyday will actually diminish the quantity and quality of the sperm. Your egg is not going to stick around for tired sperm, so give your partner a rest.

After ovulation, your luteal phase should be around 14 days. If it seems that your cycles are very short, it may be that your body is not producing enough progesterone (P4). If that’s the case, you’ve got your first red flag. Luckily for you, it can be easily rectified by some progesterone supplements.

You want to take your first pregnancy test (HPT)on the day or one day after your period is due. I know the latest HPTs claim that they can detect a pregnancy up to 5 days before your period, but your body could be producing lower levels of pregnancy hormones (Hcg) that the test might not be able to detect that early on. More on the nightmare of pregnancy tests later.

So there you have it: Conception 101. If you want me to elaborate on any specifics above, just let me know. If you have time, I would highly recommend that you get this book:Taking Charge of Your Fertility, 10th Anniversary Edition: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health


Post a Comment

Thank you for taking the time to read and make a comment on my blog. I love hearing from you. Please sign up to follow me. And don't hesitate to email with questions or future topics.