Guest Post by Dr. Zeenobiyah McGowan Ph.D.
Is conception taking longer than you thought it would? If so, you are not alone. Many healthy, fertile couples are surprised to learn that babies are not always made in one cycle. Sometimes, it can take a few months – or even up to a year before pregnancy occurs. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of conceiving faster.
1. Stop taking birth control at the right time
If you are taking the birth control pill, your cycle should return to normal immediately after you stop taking the medication. In saying that, this may not happen for everyone. Sometimes, it can take a cycle or two to get back to ovulating on schedule. If you are taking another form of birth control, be sure you are aware of how long it may take for your cycle to return to normal. For example, if you are taking the Depo Provera shot every three months, it could take up to a year for your cycle to return to normal. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.
- Lose or gain weight
Experts recommend a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 for women who are trying to conceive. Women who are obese or underweight are likely to have trouble conceiving – especially if they are experiencing irregular cycles. Obese mothers are also more likely to develop pregnancy-related complications, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia.
- Track ovulation
The only way to know when you are in your most fertile period is to track ovulation. Usually, it occurs 12 to 16 days before you are due for your next period, but it is always better to know for sure. Your fertile window is so short (only about five days) that you could easily miss out. Unfortunately, if you miss your fertile period in a cycle, you have no choice but to wait until the next cycle to try again. You may track ovulation by using an ovulation calculator, monitoring your cervical mucus, or charting your basal body temperature.
- Have sex before bed
If you want to conceive, you will need one sperm to reach your mature egg right after you ovulate. Increase your chances by keeping more sperm “in the game.” Experts recommend lying down for about 10 to 20 minutes after intercourse to keep more semen in your body.
- Try every two to three days during your fertile period
One of the most common mistakes couples make when trying to conceive involves the frequency of intercourse. They either try too often or not enough. The flawed logic behind trying infrequently is that the man is reserving sperm. While this makes sense in theory, it does not work in practice. Actually, if a man refrains from ejaculating for four to five days, many of his sperm will be dead or dying. As sperm start dying off, they release a substance that can infect younger, otherwise healthy sperm. Having sex too often could also reduce the quantity and quality of sperm. Experts recommend spacing out intercourse by about two to three days during your fertile period for the best chances of conception.
Author: Dr Zeenobiyah McGowan Ph.D., an expert on women’s health and helping couples conceive naturally. Dr McGowan is a mother of one beautiful girl. She is editor-in-chief for Ovulationcalendar.com, also founded Impact Humanity, a charity which helps under privileged children get the basic necessities like food and education in Kenya.