Thinking about starting a family? Is the universe pointing you towards baby’s and all things cute, cuddly and weighing in and around 8lbs? Well there’a a few things to swat up on before trying-to-conceive, and with the most popular months for delivery in Ireland being August and September, now its the optimal time to get yourself baby ready before the winter months set in and the fun begins! Here’s a few tips to help make the journey a little less bumpy (no pun intended!)
Get to know your body
If biology class grabbed your attention then you’re excused from this one. If not, here’s conception 101 in just a few sentences! Woman have ovaries, and our ovaries contain eggs and during our menstrual cycle (usually at the 14 day mark after your period has started) the ovaries release an egg, which then embarks on a journey (usually of 7 days) towards the uterus (aka womb). If the persistent and viable sperm hangs around and manages to hook up with the egg, you will fall pregnant. However if the body flushes out the egg with the menstrual period, you are not pregnant and will need to try again. Biology lesson complete!
Do you know your odds of conception?
Try not stress if you don’t fall pregnant on your first try, statistics show that you have a 20% chance of successful conception each time you ovulate. Of course we all have a friend who all they have to do is think about a baby and voila they’re 4 months gone, but seriously you have a three day fertility window per cycle, you need to have sex at just the right time and that sperm has a long journey in which to travel to seal the deal. However, recent research has shown that the age profile of female fertility declines quite rapidly as we age, so if you’re trying for more than 6 months and you’re aged 35+ consult with your GP, while in your 30’s you still have a 90% chance of success but by the age of 45 that has declined quite rapidly to 1.5%. If your under the age of 30 and have been trying for over a year or more, again we recommend consulting with your GP.
Don’t forget the vitamins!
Vitamins are vital in preparing your body for a healthy pregnancy. Start popping your pre-natal vitamins at least two months before your start trying-to-conceive (TTC) and the all important Folic Acid 400mcg (recommended dose) should be part of your vitamin intake at least 4 months to a year in advance. Folic Acid when taken before and during the early first weeks of pregnancy, has been clinically proven to decrease the risk of neural tube defects (spina bifida). Brain and spinal defects occur as the brain and spine are developing in the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy highlighting the need to ensure it is in your system well before conception. You will also find Folic Acid in foods such as spinach, black beans, orange juice and strawberries.
How about a preconception check-up
Of course once you’ve got a positive result, you’ll be visiting your OBGYN, but there are many benefits to be had by scheduling a pre-conception counselling session as you embark on your journey. A pre-conception appointment is the ideal opportunity to discuss nutritional habits and deficiencies and address your medical history, ensure your immunizations are up to date and discuss any family medical history that may cause pregnancy complications if not addressed. Also check in with your friendly dentist as periodontal disease has been linked to preterm and underweight baby’s. Be prepared!
Let’s get down to business!
Most health care professionals will recommend that in the first few months of trying to conceive just enjoy it, don’t place a huge emphasis on timing and fertility windows, just relax and enjoy. However if you’re looking to boost your odds, here are a few tricks of the baby making trade to help you along:
- Having sex three days prior to your ovulation is considered the optimal time in which to conceive. Grab yourself an Ovulation Calculator/Ovulation Calendar for your estimated ovulation dates.
- Why not tilt your pelvis after sex, as the gravity will support the sperm as it swim’s towards your cervix.
- Ok, so we know orgasms feel good, but did your know that the pulsing of muscles during an orgasm can also assist the sperm as it swim’s towards it’s final destination.
- Lose the lube, most sexual lubricants (including saliva) can prevent, damage and deter the sperm, rendering it non-viable. However if lubricant is required, the only medically recommended lube to be given the ‘sperm friendly’ title is Pre-Seed, it protects the integrity of the sperm and ensures the optimal vaginal environment for the sperm to reach the egg.