If you’re one of those people/couples that have decided that you’re going to have a baby, from that point onwards it’s all you can really think about. You may say you’re going to be really chill about it happening, but the chances are you’re really not and you want to know as much as possible about the whole thing as possible.
If you fall into this category, there are a few things that can make your experience a bit easier. As a Doctor I, of course, love the science behind things!
- Contraception – or more accurately lack of
If you’re thinking of having a baby some time in the near future, think about the contraception you’re on. If you are on the pill and have been for some time, be warned that it can take your body quite some time to return to normal before its ready to start your cycle again and release an egg. If you have the coil/implant or another type of long acting reversal contraceptive (LARC) then great! The idea behind these being that your fertility should return to normal as soon as they’re removed, and you’re ready to go
2. Know your cycle!!!
It’s all about periods. How long is your cycle? Is it regular? Do you even have one? If you’ve been on the pill for a while and are not sure what your cycle is exactly, maybe allow yourself a full month to figure it out. When you know what it is, this makes trying to have a baby (scientifically) a little bit easier.
e.g. if you have a 28 day cycle, you should release an egg on day 14. Day 1 of your cycle is the first day of your period. Theoretically you can get pregnant up to 6 days of each cycle and this is because sperm can survive for up to 3-5 days in cervical fluid. So the days which you can theoretically get pregnant are in the 5 days leading up to and including the day of ovulation. After this point an unfertilised egg dies really quickly.
3. Track your cycle
Using an app to track your cycle is a really handy way of doing things. There are quite a few out there. Personally I found Pink Pad absolutely fantastic on recommendation from a friend. It was really easy to use and free! It tracks your period and tells you when you should be ovulating. You even get funny little alerts like, ‘you’re in bloom,’ which are slightly embarrassing when they pop up at work, but useful all the same.
4. Know if you’re ovulating
How do you know if you’re ovulating? Well if you get regular periods it’s usually a really good sign, but something that can give you peace of mind when you’re trying for a baby is using ovulation sticks. You wee on these very much like a pregnancy test and they will give you a smiley face if your hormone levels indicate that you are ovulating within the next 24 hours. You start on what would be day 10/11 of your cycle and keep doing them until you get a positive result, which means get to it!!
5. Don’t have a cycle/not ovulating
If you don’t seem to be getting regular periods, any positive results with ovulating or have been trying for an extended period of time, it’s always a good idea to see your GP. They can run a few simple tests and refer you on to someone if needs be. It’s always good to know though, that 90% of couples who are trying for a baby regularly will fall pregnant within 1 year of trying.