When you're ready for a baby...
Updated: Mar 3, 2021
Can we simplify getting pregnant? Sure we can.
One of my favorite things to do an an OBGYN is helping women get pregnant. Having a baby is just about the best and worst thing you'll ever do all rolled into one, so be sure you're ready because it is indeed life-changing.
Most important steps to get pregnant:
1. Be at a healthy weight. It is harder to get pregnant if you weight is too high or too low. Healthy diet and moderate exercise are the only ways to maintain a healthy weight. So make good food choices - more vegetables, less pizza... Cook more and order out less. I'll have many more posts about healthy weight loss, but talk to your healthcare provider about some good options for you. (Specifically, your BMI - which is based on your height and weight - should be between 19-25.)
2. Pick a great sperm donor. If you're already married to him, that's very convenient. If you have a great one in mind, fantastic. If not, don't settle for less. Sperm is cheap.
(Remember your baby will be made up of 50% of the male sperm donor, so pick a smart and cute one. Hopefully in the future we can rely more on cloning and can skip this step altogether. Kidding, of course...kinda)
3. Start taking a prenatal vitamin at least one month BEFORE you conceive. Really, a healthy diet rich in folic acid is all you need, but the prenatal vitamin is recommended to be sure you are getting enough folic acid. I recommend something chewable and delicious. (Specifically, you need at least 400mcg of folic acid daily. I took 2 chewable Flintstones everyday... yep, the children's vitamin...yum)
4. Track your menstrual cycles. There's an app for that. Note when your period starts, how long it lasts and any bleeding in between. But ignore your app when it tells you you're ovulating. It doesn't really know that for sure. Instead..
5. Get some ovulation predictor kits. These are key. (you can find these at any drug or grocery store or giant online retailer that rules the world)
How do I use ovulation predictor kits?
So often I've found that the problem with getting pregnant is just a timing issue. There is a "window of fertility" and you have to have sex then to get pregnant. It's that simple.
After your period ends, pee on an OPK stick every morning and note when it turns positive.
The OPK will be positive when you have an LH surge, which occurs the day before you ovulate.
Your chances of getting pregnant are highest when you have sex right before you ovulate, so have sex the day the OPK turns positive. Ideally have sex the next day as well. That way, you are making sure the sperm is present when the egg is released.
Like most things in life, quality is better than quantity. Having sex at the right time - when you are about to ovulate - is most important. Actually, having sex too often, can lead to poorer sperm quality since it does take men a few days to rejuvenate. I highly recommend some easy-to-use OPKs to get that timing down.
But my app is telling me something different...
Your app doesn't actually know when you will ovulate. It can only try to predict when you will ovulate, based on previous cycles. This works great if you have predictable cycles like clockwork, but if you don't, it's not as helpful.
It can't account for any changes in our cycle. Stress alone can delay ovulation - your app does not know that.
Also don't bother with temperature charts. They're just not reliable and only tells me you may have already ovulated - maybe - so not helpful either.
The OPKs are telling you when you're about to ovulate. Now that's helpful.
So keep in mind..
It can take up to full year to get pregnant.
Although once we know you have your timing down, most women will become pregnant in 3-6 months.
Go see your OBGYN if:
periods are not coming every month
OPKs do not turn positive, or are always positive way too early and stay positive for most of the month
you are over the age of 35 and have been actively trying to conceive for 6 months
you have been trying to get pregnant for a year now
At this point, it's time for an easy evaluation including blood work to check your hormones, an ultrasound to look at your uterus, and a semen analysis for your parter.
Good luck and have fun!