Best Time to Get Pregnant
Fertility can be optimized and the time to get pregnant shortened with correct timing of sexual relations. On the surface, timing may seem like such a simplistic approach to enhancing fertility. However, it has been estimated that almost 75% of women could reduce the length of time it takes them to get pregnant from 6 months to just one month with correct timing or identification of ovulation. In addition, if a woman does not conceive within 6 months of properly timed intercourse, a problem may exist and the diagnosis of infertility could be made sooner.
In general, if a woman has a 28-day cycle, ovulation will occur 14 days after the start of her menses. However, menstrual cycles may vary from one individual to the next so it is beneficial for each woman to determine her own fertility window. The fertility window is the 4 to 5 days before and the day of ovulation. Sperm can remain in the female reproductive tract for several days and pregnancy can occur even if ovulation is several days after intercourse. However, the chances of pregnancy are slim if the sperm arrive even just one day after ovulation. In addition, timing and timely pursuit of fertility evaluation and treatments becomes even more essential as a woman enters the late 30s or early 40s and her fertility declines dramatically. Less than 20% of women will have a successful pregnancy without assistance beyond their 40th birthday.
Ovulation & The Best Time to Get Pregnant
Up to one in 10 women do not ovulate regularly. There are several ways to determine if a woman is ovulating. Regular, predictable menstrual cycles (especially if accompanied by symptoms such as bloating, breast tenderness, or moodiness) are a great predictor of ovulation. In addition, thin or abundant cervical mucous is a sign that the estrogen rise associated with ovulation has occurred. Likewise, many women report pain in the middle of the cycle from ovulation. If a woman does not have periods or has very irregular cycles, ovulation is unlikely. Likewise, excess hair growth on the face, chest or abdomen as well as skin blemishes or acne may indicate a hormone imbalance associated with a condition known as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). PCOS is frequently associated with excess weight (especially truncal obesity or belly fat) and involves difficulty processing sugars or high insulin levels.
Traditionally, women used morning temperature check or Basal Body Temperature charts to monitor ovulation when trying to get pregnant. In theory, the temperature should be at its lowest just before ovulation and rise (at least 0.6 degrees F) as the ovary increases progesterone production. However, many experts feel that this method is the least accurate means to enhance fertility. In fact, the low temperature point may occur 6 days before ovulation but also 4 days after when the chance of pregnancy is nil. Urine testing has been the mainstay of ovulation testing for many years. Most kits and/or computers test for LH or estrogen in the urine to predict fertility. They accurately predict ovulation for many women but the advance notice may be limited to a day or less. In addition, many women complain about using the pee sticks and that they are hard to interpret. Recent studies also suggest that up to one third of women may miss their ovulation when using urine kits. New methods of ovulation prediction, including OV-Watch, analyzes hormone induced fluctuation in sodium chloride to accurately predict ovulation much sooner than traditional testing Finally, many fertility specialists rely on frequent ultrasound monitoring in conjunction with testing of hormone levels (estradiol, progesterone) to predict ovulation and confirm it has occurred but this testing can be very expensive or time consuming.
Anatomy & Trying to Get Pregnant
Any abnormality of the uterus, fallopian tubes or pelvis may decrease one’s fertility. Fertilization requires movement of sperm up through the uterus to the fallopian tubes and retrieval of ovulated egg by the end of the fallopian tube (fimbria). Fertilization of the embryo, or conception, occurs in the outer third of the tube and the newly fertilized embryo must be transported to the uterine cavity. Symptoms such as pelvic pain may suggest abnormalities such as endometriosis or adhesions. Women who have had prior pelvic or abdominal surgery and those with a history of pelvic infections are also more likely to have scar tissue or adhesions that interfere with function of the fallopian tubes. Uterine abnormalities such as fibroids, scar tissue or polyps may also make it more difficult to get pregnant and can contribute to miscarriages. A hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is an x-ray performed approximately a week after the beginning of the cycle use to determine if the uterus and fallopian tubes are normal. In some cases, a special ultrasound (Saline Infusion Sonogram) or office procedure to look inside the uterus (hysteroscopy) provide additional information. If a woman suffers from pelvic pain, has risk factors for adhesions, has failed simple fertility treatments or testing indicates a problem with her anatomy, a laparoscopy or outpatient surgery may be required to complete the evaluation and treat any abnormality of the anatomy.
Male Factor & Trying to Get Pregnant
Although women often must endure the majority of the fertility evaluation and treatment, abnormal sperm often contribute to fertility difficulty. It is crucial that a semen analysis be performed during a fertility evaluation as prior fertility and normal sexual functions do not guarantee a normal analysis. Prior to the semen analysis, the man should abstain from ejaculation for 2 – 3 days. However, waiting for ovulation each month to have intercourse or abstaining for longer than 7 – 10 days is counter productive and may result in poor sperm quality or function. Many environmental factors hurt sperm production. Men should avoid use of tobacco products, marijuana, excess alcohol and steroid as well as frequent, prolonged exposure to heat such as in a hot tub. Vitamins that contain anti-oxidants or amino acids including L-arginine may improve sperm parameters.
Lifestyle & Best Time to Get Pregnant
A healthy lifestyle and preparation for pregnancy is also crucial. Many experts recommend the following steps:
- Achieve a healthy weight
- Get some exercise
- Quit Smoking
- Avoid Alcohol and excessive Caffeine
- Take Folic Acid
- Know your infectious disease status
- Get immunized
- Consider taking a baby aspirin each day
- Update your annual exam and PAP smear
OV-Watch’s Advanced Technology can help you maximize your fertile window by providing you Advanced Notice of ovulation, the best time to get pregnant.
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