For most women the phase of their lives during which they start their family is an exciting time. You plan and chart and then you wait and hope, all the time praying for that, barely there, second line on a pregnancy test that means it is positive. For some women this period can be very long and feel like an up-hill battle. Well-intentioned tips and advice, stories about “friends of friends” who successfully tried this or that can get overwhelming. We know that this can be disheartening and have put together 5 sensible tips which might just be the information you need to help you get pregnant sooner.
Your Menstrual Cycle is always the same length – or is it?
The female cycle is a complex interaction of hormones and metabolic processes. However, it always follows the same basic pattern: In the follicular phase, the egg cell matures until ovulation occurs, if the egg is not fertilized after ovulation it will be absorbed by the body and shed during menstruation – and the cycle has begun again.
That doesn’t sound complicated, does it? However, your cycle can be disrupted for any number of reasons. Stress, illness, travel or other physical factors can delay ovulation. Some medication can also affect your cycle, although this should of course be discussed with your doctor. The female cycle does not run like a swiss clock and changes and slight variations are actually the norm.
Your fertile window is actually very short.
Myths and rumours like “women ovulate on day 14 of their cycle” or “a woman is always fertile” persist. This is simply not true! Ovulation might take place on day 14, but may also occur earlier or later. Conception however is only possible within about 24 hours of ovulation. The egg released at ovulation may be fertilized by sperm which are “waiting” or by sperm which arrive while the egg is travelling down the fallopian tubes towards the womb. If fertilization does not take place during this fertile widow the egg will die and be absorbed by the body. It is not easy to pinpoint this short window of time when you are most fertile. It is especially easy to miss if your cycle is slightly irregular or is suddenly a day or two shorter or longer than expected. Tracking your cycle with femSense will enable you to spot these occasional differences and help you to better plan a pregnancy.
Your lifestyle influences your fertility.
Are you a non-smoker? Do you eat healthily? Do you try to keep fit? If you can answer “yes” to these questions, you will probably find it easier to get pregnant sooner! A balanced lifestyle has a positive effect on your fertility. But don’t panic! You don’t have to be a top athlete or nutritional expert to get pregnant and a few small lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Smoking, for example, is one such factor. Studies have shown that smoking can reduce the quality of your eggs and your partners sperm. Your weight can also be a factor, don’t worry we are not talking about “a few kilos too many”, but being an unhealthy weight, either over or under weight, can affect a woman’s fertility by causing hormonal imbalances and problems with ovulation. Obesity is also associated with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common cause of low fertility or infertility. Being very overweight or obese can also reduce a man’s fertility.
The heaviness of your period is not an indication of your fertility.
Just as every woman’s menstrual cycle is individual so is her period. Some women only bleed lightly and for a few days, others however would rather curl up in bed with a hot water bottle and pain killers till their cramps and heavy flow are over. Fact is; your menstrual flow, how heavy or long it lasts, says nothing about your ability to get pregnant. The uterine lining builds up differently in each woman but as long as it is thick enough for a fertilized egg to nest, it is sufficient. As long as ovulation occurs regularly, and you have periods then pregnancy should be possible. If menstruation stops completely, becomes very irregular or is very painful it might be an indication of a problem and it is advisable to consult a doctor.
Your body is not a machine.
Some women start to panic that there is something wrong with them if they don’t get pregnant immediately. We can reassure you; it is perfectly normal for it to take a few cycles – even when the conditions are ideal. Every woman is different, and you cannot compare yourself to others, especially when you probably don’t know their full story. The best you can do is to be prepared physically and mentally for a pregnancy. Look after your diet, sleep and stress levels and pay more attention to your cycle. A good first step is to download the femSense app and start tracking your cycle, you can order the sensor patches directly from the app or from the femSense website. Let us do all the hard work for you!