You gotta have sex to get pregnant. Duh. You knew this, right? But did you know that how often and when you get it on can have a significant impact on your ability to conceive? Today we’re addressing the eight most prevalent baby-making mistakes:
1. Not Enough Sex
There’s a myth rolling around right now that if you “save up” the spermies by not having sex outside your fertile window, then you’ll increase the potency of your partner's sperm content when you do have sex. FALSE. Getting it on throughout the month increases conception chances because:
a. The fertile window is short - and easy to miss - having sex constantly on the days leading up to ovulation helps ensure you don’t miss the widow. Many women think they know when they’re ovulating, but due to the inaccuracy or misses of OPKs (ovulation predictor kits), they miss their chance to conceive.
b. Sperm that is…eh…fresh, is healthier and more likely to be able to make the trek to fertilization. Consistent intercourse ensures that the sperm that is present when ovulation occurs is fresh and more likely to survive the waiting period and maintains the strength to swim to the awaiting egg.
c. The more your body is exposed to your partner’s sperm, the less likely it is to have an immune response to its presence in your body. This encourages a sperm-friendly environment during ovulation.
2. Too Much Sex
Not to make things too confusing here, but having too much sex can also result in reduced sperm count, and, therefore, lower your chances of conceiving. Ideally, waiting at least 36 hours between ejaculation on days you’re not trying to conceive can enable a man’s sperm count to rebuild between afternoon delights. When trying to conceive, having intercourse no more than once a day or every other day during your fertile window provides the highest chances of conception. Having sex every day versus every other day only increases your chance of conception by 4% (37% vs. 33%).
3. Being Late to the Party
Waiting to have sex until the day of ovulation can be a big mistake. After your body releases your egg, your egg can only be fertilized within the first 24 hours. If you’ve mistimed ovulation, you may miss your actual fertilization window. Since sperm can survive 3-5 days in the body, having sex each day leading up to ovulation in addition to your actual ovulation day will significantly increase your body’s chance of conceiving.
4. Wearing out the Missionary
Another myth is that missionary position (or other gravity-friendly positions) increase the chance of conception. Once ejaculation has occurred, the sperm join the cervical mucus and swims into the fallopian tubes. No matter which position you’ve done the dipsy doodle in, for a normal, healthy uterus/cervix, there is no scientific evidence that a certain position increases your chance of conception. So chill out, and feel free to experiment with that crazy new position you read about in Cosmo.
5. Ovulation Confusion
Because of increased fertility challenges, many couples stock up on ovulation predictor kits. However, OPK’s are not foolproof due to inaccuracy or misuse. In addition, many women make the mistake of thinking they will ovulate exactly 14 days into their cycle. The follicular phase (between the end of your period and ovulation) can extend or shorten based on a woman’s body, life events, stress, sleep, etc., and past ovulation time is NOT a fool-proof predictor of future ovulation timing. The most effective way to identify ovulation is by tracking cervical mucus and temperature (temp shift happens AFTER ovulation).
6. Lube’n it Up
Though we all love a well-lubricated sheet dance sesh, many commercial lubricants can reduce sperm mobility, inhibiting their trip to the fallopian tubes. If you want to use lube, try either Pre-Seed or a natural lubricant (olive oil, egg whites, etc.).
7. Opting for Intervention
Though you may vacillate if you’re “ready” to have a baby, once you decide you are, it’s amazing how long it can seem to get from month-to-month conception opportunities. After a few months of failed attempts, it can be easy to assume there’s a deeper problem and rush to a fertility specialist and opt for medical intervention. I highly recommend using the Fertility Awareness Method to chart your fertility BEFORE seeking medical interventions or a pharmaceutical solution to conception challenges. Be patient with yourself - even fertile, charting couples can take a few months to conceive, and it is normal for non-charting couples to take 6+ months to conceive.
8. Ignoring Possible Man-Part Problems
Perhaps it is because a woman carries the baby for nine months, but when a couple has issues getting pregnant, possible male-fertility challenges are often ignored. Because of the toxins rampant in our environment, and diets, an increase in obesity, and the reality of couples delaying conception attempts, male infertility is a rising issue. Though female infertility often steals the spotlight, male and female fertility challenges are equally present. In about 40% of couples with fertility issues, the male partner was the sole cause or a contributing cause of conception challenges.
If you haven’t built your Baby-Making Team, check out this article to identify the professionals you want on your side to increase your chances of conception NOW.
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