These are just a few of the things I have picked up on after 10 years of trying to conceive (TTC). Some may surprise you, some you might already know and the rest will interest you enough to google it for yourself.
1. You probably don’t ovulate on day 14 of your cycle. The day 14 statistic is nothing but a generalization. It’s like saying every woman wears a size 8. We don’t all wear a size 8, and we don’t all ovulate on the same day. Some women (myself included) know when we ovulate based on the mid-cycle cramps, also knows as Mittelschmerz. You can also chart your temps known as BBT (basal body temps with a basal thermometer) and look for the temperature shift.
2. It takes more than one sperm to get pregnant. Technically speaking, it does only take one. The catch is that because the vaginal lining can be so hostile and dangerous to sperm, it takes millions of sperm to die and pave the way for the one sperm that makes it there. According to my RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) the male needs at least 20 million sperm to push the lucky sperm up for fertilization.
3. Your regular lubricant (like KY) is deadly to sperm! If you are actively TTC, stop using your lubricant immediately. It can kill sperm upon impact. If you want to use a lubricant I highly recommend a sperm-friendly lubricant such as Preseed. In fact it’s a good idea to use it even if you don’t think you need it, because it is much easier for sperm to swim through.
4. Timing is everything. After you have figured out when you are going to ovulate, stick to your schedule. Ask your partner to be abstinent for 3 days before your fertile window. Then you want to have intercourse every 24 hours. The only exception is if you know your partner has a low sperm count, you want to stick to every other day so he has enough time to build them up.
5. Menstrual Cups aren’t just for your period anymore! Believe it or not, the new craze in TTC is Instead Soft Cups. I first heard about them in the Fertility Friend forums about a year ago, but I just tried them for the first time a few months ago. What you do is insert them after intercourse during your fertile time. The concept is that the semen will go into the cup, and pool around your cervix which gives them a little boost. You also have the added benefit of being able to get up right after intercourse because they can stay in for up to 12 hours. They may look big to you at first, but they don’t feel any different than wearing a tampon. Just follow the directions on the box for how to insert and remove them.
6. You don’t need to stand on your head. Trust me when I say this, sperm will find where they need to be! You don’t need to make yourself a human jigsaw in order to make it easier for them to swim up. As long as you have fertile CM (cervical mucous) they should have no problem swimming straight up through your vaginal canal. I do suggest laying down for at least 10 minutes, but if you are using Instead Cups you can stand up right away.
7. Have sex in the morning! Dr. Carol L. Clark from eHow suggests that when TTC, have intercourse in the morning or early afternoon when sperm is more potent. So wake up a little early, do your business, put an instead cup in, take a shower and get ready for your day! Plus you just burned some extra calories and boosted your metabolism and most likely your mood. Bonus!
8. Your Mother really doesn’t know everything. Don’t tell her I said so! Once word gets out that you are TTC, you are going to start getting all kinds of interesting advice. Before you know it you will have family, friends, co-workers and neighbors convincing you that you are doing it wrong and if you follow their advice, you will get pregnant for sure! From the classic “Just relax and it will happen” to the more creative “Just get drunk like I did when I got pregnant with you.” Remember that every cycle a fertile couple has only a 25% chance of conceiving with good intercourse timing, and it takes the average couple between six months and a year to get pregnant. All the vacations in the world won’t help you get pregnant if it isn’t your time.
9. Take care of yourself first. Take a multi-vitamin and extra folic acid. Drink lots of water. Cut back on caffeine. Eat a diet rich in vegetables, nuts and whole grains. Get regular exercise. These are all things that can help boost both female and male fertility. Not only will your chances of conceiving greatly increase when you are healthy, but you increase your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
10. Have Fun! Take it from someone who has been doing this for a decade, TTC can be extremely stressful! Don’t forget to enjoy yourself and your partner. It is really easy to get caught up in wanting it now and forgetting what is truly important; wanting to expand your family with the person you love. My advice to you is to take the time to enjoy each other.
“Taking Charge of your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.