Have you decided to enter the world of parenting? Congratulations on the decision! The joy of holding your little one cannot be described in words. But before that, you need to know how to get pregnant to kickstart the journey of parenthood. This article is for those who are trying to conceive and improve their chances of fertility.
TABLE OF CONTENT:
- What is Pregnancy and How do You Get it?
- Understanding The Stages of Menstrual Cycle
- Best Time to Try for Pregnancy
- Right Age To Get Pregnant
- Tips on How To Get Pregnant
- Problems Faced While Trying to Conceive
- Treatments to Infertility Problems in Men and Women
- Chances of Pregnancy After Miscarriage
- When Should You See a Fertility Doctor?
What is Pregnancy and How do You Get it?
Pregnancy is a condition when the woman carries the unborn fetus within her body. It happens when the male sperm meets the female egg in the fallopian tube and gets fertilized. This egg, now called the Zygote, moves down to the uterus where it develops as the fetus. You can get pregnant through sexual intercourse or an artificial process like the In vitro fertilization or IVF.
In the following sections, we shall help you understand the “right time” to conceive by discussing about your menstrual and ovulation cycles, along with tips and precautions for getting pregnant.
Understanding The Stages of Menstrual Cycle:
From the time of her puberty, a girl experiences menstruation each month until her menopause. During each menstrual cycle, a series of changes happen within the body to prepare it for a possible pregnancy. It is important to understand this cycle to control or plan for your pregnancy and take suitable measures at the right time.
A typical menstrual cycle of a woman can be divided into four phases:
- Follicular Phase.
- Luteal Phase.
This is the first stage of your cycle and starts when you get your monthly periods. During this phase, the body gets rid of the unwanted thickened lining in your uterus. This is because the egg from the previous month remains unfertilized and the uterus no longer requires this lining which it makes to support pregnancy.
This leads to the monthly bloodshed, often accompanied with cramps, tenderness in breasts, mood swings and fatigue. The phase lasts for about 3 to 7 days and the time frame can change over time.
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This phase starts from the Day 1 of your monthly periods and lasts until the ovulation stage. During this timeframe, the body secretes the Follicle Stimulating Hormone or the FSH, which stimulates your ovaries to produce 5 to 20 eggs in the ovarian sacs called the follicles. Out of them, only one healthy follicle ripes and matures.
The entire Follicular phase lasts anywhere between 11 to 27 days, with an average of 16 days. Between this phase and the Ovulation, there is another phase called the Proliferative phase, where the uterus develops the thick lining again to nurture the egg.
This phase begins when the estrogen levels go up, resulting in secreting a hormone called the Luteinizing Hormone or LH. This hormone plays a key role in kick starting the Ovulation process and the mature egg sits in the fallopian tube for about 24 hours waiting for the sperm.
A woman can get pregnant only during this phase and it usually happens to be the middle day of your cycle. For example, it is the 14th day in a 28-day cycle or day 15 in a 30-day cycle. After 24 hours, the egg dies and gets reabsorbed by the body.
In this phase, the ruptured follicle forms into Corpus luteum after releasing the egg, which produces high levels of progesterone. With ample amounts of estrogen and progesterone in the body, the uterus makes the thick lining again to invite chances of fertilization.
If no sperm meets the egg, then the corpus luteum degenerates are reabsorbed by the body and the hormone levels go down. The shedding process begins, which marks the beginning of your periods. The entire phrase lasts for about 11 to 17 days and an average of 14 days.
Now that you have understood the concept of menstruation and ovulation, let us read further to know the best time for getting pregnant.
What is The Best Time to Try for Pregnancy?
To increase the odds of getting pregnant, you must have unprotected sex within a day or two of the ovulation period. This can be calculated based on the monthly cycle. Since the egg lasts only for 24 hours, the sperm must meet it at the right time.
Another interesting study is that having unprotected sex before 7 days of your ovulation can also get you pregnant. That’s true! This is because the sperm lasts in your body for about 7 days and can “wait” in the body to meet the egg in the fallopian tube. So, that possibility must also be considered.
What is The Right Age To Get Pregnant?
While there is no specific age limit as such, studies reveal that women are most fertile in their 20’s to early 30’s. Even after this period, there are chances to get pregnant, but with lower fertility rates. This is because the number of eggs in the body keep falling with age and after a certain period, the quality also goes down.
According to a study, women older than 35 years have only 12 chance of getting pregnant in a three-month window, while women in 40’s, there is only a meager 7% chance of pregnancy. This percentage keeps falling with age.
Tips on How To Get Pregnant:
If you are trying to conceive, learning these tips can speed up the childbearing process:
- Stop taking birth control pills or other contraceptives at least a month before you plan to get pregnant.
- Keep track of your menstrual cycle to calculate the day of ovulation roughly and predict your “best days” for pregnancy.
- If you are having irregular periods and unable to make accurate predictions, then use an ovulation kit. It is a simple urine test similar to a pregnancy test, which tests for the luteinizing hormone.
- Once you figure out your window, having unprotected sex atleast every other day is the best way to increase your chances of pregnancy. Also, there is no such concept as best position in sex to get pregnant.
- Work on achieving a healthy body weight. Being overweight or extremely underweight can affect the chances of pregnancy. So, calculate your BMI and if it is one the higher side plan to lose a few kilos through natural methods like exercise and healthy diet. If you are way too thin, then speak to a doctor on how to increase your body weight through diet and supplements.
Diet & Other Tips to Get Pregnant:
- Along with a nutritious diet, you must also take prenatal vitamins regularly. It’s important to take atleast 400 mcg of folic acid and one Vitamin C capsule per day to support healthy pregnancy and decrease the chances of birth defects in the fetus. Along with these, you will also need a daily dose of 27mg of iron, 1000 mg of Calcium and 600 IU of Vitamin D.
- Avoid smoking or drinking which can seriously impact your pregnancy and the healthy of your unborn.
- Limit your caffeine intake to 250mg per day, which is roughly 2-3 cups. Crossing this limit is known to decrease the chances of fertility in women. (1)
- Stay away from stressful workouts like heavy exercises which can negatively impact your ovulation cycle.
- Speak to a doctor well in advance and clear all your apprehensions about being pregnant. Especially if you aged above 35 years, a doctor’s consultation is a must to increase the success rates!
Some More Tips to Increase The Chances of Pregnancy:
- Many people use lubricants to enjoy smooth sex. It is known that using products like Astroglide, Olive Oil, and even human saliva may suppress the movements of sperm. If you want to a lubricant, then try these options instead- Mineral Oil, Canola Oil or Pre-Seed Oil.
- Studies show that men who wear very tight clothing have problems with poor sperm count and quality. The reason is that tight underwear can increase the heat in your testicles and lower sperm concentration.
- Many studies have proven that men who are exposed to high cell phone radiation offer suffer from male infertility problems like poor sperm motility, lowered quality and DNA damage.
- Also, it is known that men who eat a lot of soy food like Edamame have higher chances of experiencing infertility problems, as the phytoestrogens may lower the testosterone levels in the body.
What are the Common Problems Faced While Trying to Conceive?
If you have been trying to get pregnant but without any success, then there could be several factors behind it. Here are some of the common reasons why you are unable to conceive yet:
1. Expecting Results Too Soon:
Yes! Many couples think that having sex for one time is enough to hear the good news. But it’s not! About 80% of women get pregnant after 6 months of continuous trying and about 90% of them conceive after 12 months. (2) So wait for a few more months and keep trying.
It is a condition when the woman does not ovulate. There are many reasons why this happens, including medical conditions like PCOS, weight issues, thyroid problems and overdoing exercises.
3. Male Infertility:
Your man’s sperm quality and count can also be responsible for your failure rates. An approximate 20 to 30 percent of cases were found from the man’s side and is determined through a thorough semen analysis. (3) So, both the man and the woman must get tested to identify the rootcause of infertility.
4. Age-Related Problems:
If you have crossed 35 years, then chances of fertility problems also increase. Age can negatively impact the quality and quantity of eggs produced in the woman’s body. Also, it is known that men above 40 years have low sperm quality and count, which can affect pregnancy chances.
5. Blockages in Fallopian Tubes:
As mentioned earlier, the egg and the sperm meet in the fallopian tube and after fertilization, the egg moves to the uterus. If the pathway gets blocked or there are ruptures in the tubes which prevent the egg and sperm from meeting, your pregnancy chances almost become zero.
It is a disorder in which the endometrium tissues grow outside the uterus on organs like the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This tissue forms as a thick lining which starts bleeding like your normal periods. Around 50% of women who have endometriosis have trouble getting pregnant. (4)
7. Other Medical Problems:
Apart from the conditions mentioned above, factors like depression, autoimmune diseases, thyroid imbalance, uncontrolled diabetes and even untreated sexually transmitted diseases can affect your pregnancy rates.
Treatments to Address Infertility Problems in Men and Women:
Thanks to advancements in medical science and technology, most of the infertility cases are diagnoised well and treated. While none of them come with a 100% guaranteed success rate, they bring in a ray of hopeto couples who are eager to enjoy the happiness of parenthood.
Listed below are some of the common treatments for problems related to male or female:
For Female-Related Problems:
- Prescribing Hormone tablets to stimulate ovulation.
- Treating endometriosis, fibroids or cysts using lasers or surgery.
- Performing surgeries to unblock the fallopian tubes and repair the internal damages.
- Intrauterine Insemination or Artificial Insemination, in which the male sperm is artificially placed inside the uterus.
- Invitro Fertilization- in which the egg and sperm are made to meet in a laboratory and then the fertilized egg is placed back into the woman’s uterus.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI, which involves injecting a sperm directly into the egg in a laboratory
- Surrogacy, when the man’s sperm is carried by another woman and gives birth to the baby. This is chosen then the woman fails to reproduce or have issues or fears related to childbearing process or societal pressures.
For Male-Related Problems:
- Surgeries to correct any obstructions in testicles.
- Sperm-retrieval techniques, when there is no sperm in the ejaculation.
- Assisted Reproductive Techniques or ART, in which the sperms are collected from the male body and then placed in the female tract.
- Donor Conception, a condition in which sperms are collected from a donor (a third-person) to support reproduction.
What are the Chances of Pregnancy After Miscarriage?
Miscarriage is a condition in which the pregnancy gets abnormally terminated before the 20th week of pregnancy. Most miscarriages happen in the first trimester or the first three months of gestation. However, this doesn’t mean your dreams of motherhood are crashed!
Your body starts preparing for a new pregnancy after 16 to 22 days of miscarriage by producing excess levels of luteinizing hormone (LH). According to a study, women who attempt to try for pregnancy within 3 months of having a miscarriage have higher chances of getting pregnant with a healthy fetus. (5) However, to know if it holds good in reality, you must consult a doctor and get your condition analyzed thoroughly.
When Should You See a Fertility Doctor?
How long should you wait before you see a doctor? It’s important to fix up an appointment with your doctor to talk about your fertility issues, when:
- You have been trying to conceive for a long time, but with no fruitful result.
- You are aged above 35 years and have tried for 6 months without any success.
- Pregnant have had multiple miscarriages or abortions previously.
- You are having irregular periods for the last couple of months.
- You have had a previous history of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or other medical problems.
We hope this article has given you an overview of how to get pregnant and related topics. Understanding this basic information can help you plan for your pregnancy and enjoy a smooth journey ahead. Wish you all the best and don’t forget to share the “good news” with us!
This information is solely for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical advice. All opinions expressed by the author are out of self-research and DO NOT reflect the views of the medical community.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. Can You Get Pregnant During Periods?
It is very unlikely that a woman can get pregnant during her periods. However, it is not an impossible case! The male sperm can survive in the female body for about 5-7 days. If the female had sex on the last day of her periods and starts to ovulate in the next few days (low chances, but possible), the sperm may meet the egg and fertilize it.
2. How Can I Get Pregnant While Breastfeeding? Is it Possible in The First Place?
Yes! Most women make a mistake of thinking that they are safe from pregnancy while lactating their newborn baby. This is far from the truth! While Exclusive breastfeeding does lower the chances of pregnancy, it does not altogether prevent it. The monthly ovulation may still happen and when you have unprotected sex, you may end up conceiving again in the first month itself. The possibility changes from woman to woman, depending on the menstrual cycle.
3. Are There Any Medications to Get Pregnant Fast?
There are many fertility drugs in the market which can increase the chances of pregnancy in women. These medications work by treating the infertility-related issues and are prescribed by the doctor accordingly. Some of them are hormone stimulating drugs, while others treat ovulation disorders. Here are a few popular drugs for faster pregnancy:
- Dopamine Agonists.
NOTE: This is purely for information purpose and must not be treated as a doctor’s prescription. Please check with your medical practitioner before using it.
4. How To Get Pregnant with Twins?
You get pregnant with twins with the sperm meets two separate eggs and fertilize them or when a fertilized egg is divided into two embryos. While there are no natural methods to increase the chances of having twins, factors like family history, current age of woman and specific treatments for fertility make a difference. Most cases of twins occur when more than one embryo is artificially placed in the womb to increase the success rates.