But by learning to understand your body’s cycle and recognising the signs of ovulation, along with empowering yourself with the facts of conception, it may just help alleviate some of the pressure you feel. Below, I have answered some of the most commonly asked conception questions.
When is the peak time to conceive?
The peak time for conception is the lead-up to ovulation (when the egg is released from the ovary), as this represents the most fertile days in the menstrual cycle. During this time, the egg is moving down the fallopian tube, waiting to be fertilised. The egg can survive for 24 hours after ovulation occurs, whereas sperm is able to survive and fertilise an egg for two to three days in the fallopian tubes.
How do I work out when I am ovulating?
To calculate your “fertile window”, you need to determine what day you ovulate. To do this, you need to know the length of your menstrual cycle (which can vary from 23 to 35 days or longer). To work it out, count the number of days from the first day of your last period to the first day of bleeding in your next one. Subtract 14 days from the end of your current cycle to determine the day you ovulate.
A Fertility Awareness Calendar can help you predict your most fertile time of the month (ovulation).
If your cycles are irregular, or their length varies from month to month, it will be difficult to calculate your ovulation date. Urine tests may be useful, but you may want to consider seeking further advice from your GP or a fertility specialist for other ovulation signs to look out for.
How frequent should intercourse be when trying to conceive?
Couples should have unprotected intercourse every two days throughout the female’s “fertile window”. This means that sperm are ready and waiting for the egg when the woman ovulates. If you wait until after ovulation has occurred before you have sex, you probably will have missed the opportunity for conception that month.
What can we do to boost our fertility?
There are a number of lifestyle changes that you can implement to maximise your chances of conception and give your baby the best start in life. When trying to conceive, the male’s reproductive health is as important as the female’s because both contribute towards optimising the chances of pregnancy and in turn a healthy baby. Both partners should ensure they are maintaining a healthy weight by exercising and eating well. Stress levels should be kept low, caffeine and alcohol intake limited and the recommended pre-pregnancy vitamin supplements taken. For more tips on making sure you are “fertility fit”, visit our Preconception Care page.
Why aren’t we falling pregnant?
It is important for couples to understand that even if they are doing everything right to conceive a baby, it may still take a while to fall pregnant. Here are some facts:
- In six months, only 60 per cent of fertile people conceive.
- By 12 months, 80 per cent of fertile people will have conceived.
- By two years, 95 per cent of people (where the female is aged under 38) will have conceived.
The general rule is that it is wise to seek medical advice from your GP or a specialist if you have not achieved a pregnancy after 12 months (or six months if you are over 35) of unprotected intercourse.
Some commonly heard truths and misconceptions about fertility:
- Every woman ovulates on day 14 of her cycle: MYTH.
- Lifestyle factors impact on fertility: TRUTH.
- Fertility is only a female issue: MYTH.
- Sperm quality is the most common factor affecting male fertility: TRUTH.
- Age doesn’t really matter: MYTH.
If you feel you would like to speak with a fertility specialist, or want to find out more about fertility treatment options via our free fertility information pack or one of our information evenings and seminars, visit the Open Days section on our website.
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