When to get pregnant: is pregnancy within your control?
A few months after Jola’s marriage, she came under enormous pressure about when to get pregnant quickly. As you already know, Nigerians are notorious for giving unsolicited advice like:
"Don’t you know the best time to get pregnant? Come I’ll teach you when to get pregnant"
"I’ll take you to my Pastor, he’s a miracle working man of God."
"If you don’t act fast, your spouse could start experimenting with other people."
“Although I was—and still am—a certified fertility doctor, I began to panic and to doubt everything I knew about conception,” says Jola Akinwunmi MD., a fertility specialist at the Lagos State Teaching Hospital. “When you get pregnant is dependent on a number of factors, and top on the list of factors is chance.”
What is conception and when does it happen?
Conception occurs when the man’s sperm fertilizes the woman’s eggs. But it isn’t always as simple as it sounds. While some couples find it easy to conceive, others might struggle for a much longer time.
According to one survey, an average of 85 out of 100 couples will conceive within the first year of trying. The other 15% will have to try for a longer period. Some of them will require medical assistance to achieve their childbearing goals.
It is important to learn about the female and male reproductive organs and their functions. It is especially key to study the fundamentals of women’s menstrual cycles and how these factors can influence conception.
Menstrual cycles are tallied from the first day the woman's menstrual bleeding starts. A few days after her period (somewhere between 3 – 5 days after), her ovaries will release an egg or eggs. Her fertility level will peak at that point, so if you’ve been Google-searching for when to get pregnant, you have your answer.
Her next period will commence within 12 to 16 days after ovulation. Although the average cycle runs for 28 days, it is perfectly normal to find slightly longer or shorter oscillations.
When to get pregnant—the best time
“Assuming both partners are healthy, their chances of conceiving are higher if they have intercourse within twenty-four to forty-eight hours of ovulation. Women who have 28-day cycles are likely to ovulate around 14 days after the last period,” says Jola Akinwunmi MD.
Here are other physical signs of ovulation:
• The woman’s body temperature increases slightly.
• There is a thick, pap-like discharge from the vagina. This discharge is also known as cervical mucus.
• Some women experience mild cramps as the ovaries release the eggs into the fallopian tube.
To make doubly sure, you can purchase an ovulation predictor kit. Reviews have shown that they are effective in helping couples figure out their ovulation cycles. Because eggs survive for about 12-24 hours after ovulation and sperm cells can survive for 4-7 days in the woman’s body, couples must be vigilant about their timing. Remember, conception occurs only when the sperm fertilizes the egg.
“As a fertility expert, I advise couples to have sex 2-3 days prior to ovulation. This will give the sperm enough time to swim up to the fallopian tubes to await the release of the egg,” says Jola Akinwunmi.
However, some women ovulate at the most unusual periods.
Couples who want to know when to get pregnant are advised to do the following:
1. Have intercourse frequently
It’s simple science. To conceive, you must have sex often. Experts recommend at least once every two to three days throughout your cycle (except when you’re bleeding of course).
“Many couples make the mistake of cramming lovemaking sessions into the ovulation periods. To increase your chances of getting pregnant, have sex often,” says Jola Akinwunmi.
Shun the myth that says you should have sex only after the ovaries have released the eggs into the fallopian tubes.
2. Maintain a healthy body weight
Research studies have shown that obese women ‘were at a higher risk of having infertility problems.
“If you want to conceive quicker, exercise and eat a healthy diet. Take folic acid and vitamin C supplements. It’s an effective way to prepare your womb for pregnancy,” explains Jola Akinwunmi MD.
3. Maintain a positive mindset. Your psychological state matters
Have you ever wondered why most people get pregnant when they are just ‘having fun’ and not looking to conceive? Well, it might interest you to know that conception is more likely to occur when you are psychologically relaxed. People who are having fun aren’t under pressure to conceive, and so their bodies are open and relaxed enough to allow fertilization to occur.
“This worked for me 100%. The moment I decided I was not going to be under pressure, I got pregnant,” explains Jola Akinwunmi MD. “I still regret all the time I wasted on agonizing about the delay.”
Rather than be anxious about when to get pregnant, take your mind off it. It will happen at the right time.
4. Get tested for STI and get treatments (if necessary)
Sometimes, infections hinder pregnancies from taking place. Rather than leave it to chance, perhaps you and your partner should get tested for common STIs. If the results say you have any infections, please take steps to get appropriate treatment.
5. Consider IVF
There is no shame in seeking medical assistance to conceive. These days, couples decide when to get pregnant and choose IVF to help you accomplish their conception goals.
Final thoughts on when to get pregnant
When it comes to conceiving, your destiny is, arguably, in your hands. You can study the woman’s menstrual cycle, have sex often, and maintain an optimal physical and mental health. If all else fails, you can always try fertility treatments.
Resource: American Pregnancy
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