This post is a little bit about TTC, or Trying to Conceive. For some couples, this comes easily, while other couples struggle with infertility and pregnancy loss. I am not a medical professional, so it is hard for me to get into the ins and outs of trying to conceive, but I will pass along the few things I DO know in the hopes that you can discuss them with your care provider and set up a plan that works for you.
To wait or not to wait?
This week, 47-year-old Halle Berry gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. With stories like this common in the media, you might think that you don’t have to worry about getting pregnant until you are well established in your career and personal life. For many people, this plan will work, but for many others you may be missing a window. I don’t want to get into the whole “biological clock” debate, but it is true that it starts to get harder to conceive between the ages of 30 and 40. It is important to make sure you are emotionally ready to care for a child before you try, but it is also important to remember that if you wait until you have enough money, job success, etc to have a child, you may never be ready to have one. No matter what you decide, make sure you talk it over with your partner and make the decision together.
Understand your body
You already probably know that you ovulate and you menstruate, but fertility is a little more complex than that. One method of trying to conceive is known as the “maybe baby,” where you simply stop using contraceptive tools and see what happens. For many people, this will result in a pregnancy, but for many others it may not be the best way to take advantage of your fertility window. What is your fertility window? You may have heard that you ovulate on day 14, but this actually varies from woman to woman, so you really need to know the ins and outs of your personal fertility cycle. Basal body temperature, cervical fluid and cervical position can all help give you a clue when you are in a fertile time period. I highly recommend the book Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler as a great guide to your cycle. Plus, the book includes digital help and a collection of charts to help you with conception and even pregnancy prevention.
It can take up to 6 months or longer for many couples to conceive. Because unexpected pregnancies are quite common, most people assume that it is an easy process. However, many factors must line up right for a child to come into being. Age, diet and environment can be big factors in how easily you will get pregnant. Remember also that it can take a long time for your body to kick back into gear after quitting long-term birth control. If you have been trying for a year with no success, it may be time to talk to your care provider about possible issues and solutions.
Check your environment
It is suspected that household chemicals and products may have some effect on conception abilities. Try to avoid harsh cleaners and chemicals, as well as any plastics that contain BPA. You may also want to avoid products containing hormones, such as traditional dairy foods or perfumes with pheromones. Take a look at this article to find some common household hormone disrupters and get them out of your home: http://pregnant.thebump.com/getting-pregnant/fertility-ovulation/articles/10-ways-home-making-you-infertile.aspx?MsdVisit=1
Relax and be healthy
Stress can make baby making not so fun. Relax and let chance be your guide. Keep eating a healthy diet full of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and remember to exercise at least three times a week. If your body is happy and healthy and stress-free, you are increasing your chances of conception just by making a safe and stress-free home for your babe.
Dealing with infertility
If you are having trouble conceiving, I am going to add a few comments from a friend who was diagnosed with PCOS and struggled with infertility. I found her advice very helpful and hope you do too.
“I wanted to share just a few things we had hoped we knew beforehand. One is that when you go to the doctor for infertility, DONT say that is what you’re there for because typically infertility is not covered by insurance companies. We learned that the hard way. If you simply say you’re there for PCOS or whatever other health condition you have that may be limiting your chances of getting pregnant, then you shouldn’t end up with crazy bills to pay afterwards. Also, when you are diagnosed with a health condition, say ‘I’ve been diagnosed with …’ Rather than ‘I have …’ Because when you say ‘I have PCOS’, then you own it, it is yours. It’s really a mental thing. Just a matter of it not taking control of you.”
For the record, she did eventually get pregnant, so there is often hope out there if you seek out help and support!
I hope this was a good launching point for your TTC journey. The best thing you can do is get involved in the process. Reach out to other women and get on some boards for tips, tricks and people to help you through on your journey to create a baby!