If you are reading this article, you and your partner are probably trying to conceive. We hope this article provides you with tips and tricks you need to guide you through the very first step of parenthood.
• Menstrual cycle
Knowledge of a woman’s specific menstrual cycle is essential to planning a pregnancy. The first day of menstruation is day 1 of the menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs some time after that, and then around 14 days after ovulation will be her next menstruation. Each woman’s cycle is different – shorter and longer cycles with a 21 to 35-day interval are normal. So start counting ladies (and gentlemen)!
• When to have sexual intercourse
Studies have shown that couples do not actually need to have sexual intercourse around a woman’s ovulation. Having sexual intercourse every 2 to 3 days every month without contraception is shown to give couples the best chance of conception.
That said, ovaries do produce an egg every month, and women are most likely to conceive if sexual intercourse occurs within a day of the actual day of ovulation. However, this is often difficult to calculate and predict. This is why it is recommended to have sexual intercourse every 2 to 3 days. However to give you an approximation, ovulation usually occurs around 14 days from the first day of your menstruation. Since the egg that is released lives for around 12 to 24 hours, you have a small window period when a successful conception is likely to occur.
• Be as healthy as possible
Making positive lifestyle changes is suggested in order to increase your chance of a healthy pregnancy. So if you and your partner are planning the pregnancy, it is best for the BOTH of you to be as healthy as possible leading up to the pregnancy. This will include having a balanced diet coupled with sufficient physical exercise and not having unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol. For the woman, taking folic acid as a supplement will also be beneficial. As for the amount of folic acid to consume, consult your doctor first.
Needless to say, your weight affects the chance of conception. The amount of body fat is important – too little or too much body fat may cause irregular menstruation. These factors affect your ability to conceive. Aim for a healthy body mass index (BMI) of 20 to 25. If you need help losing weight, always seek professional help to do it the healthy way.
It is important to understand that both women AND men experience fertility issues. Do not shy away from the problem, and always seek early medical intervention.
Parenthood may be difficult to navigate through alone – difficult to begin and even more so throughout the journey. Always seek help from the professionals and from your loved ones. Happy pregnancy, and good luck!