These 6 questions everyone should ask themselves about their fertility right now will help you to better plan for conceiving, not conceiving and knowing exactly how your own body functions in a reproductive sense. You may find yourself amazed at some of the discoveries you make through the answers to these questions.
1. Do I Understand the Timing Necessary to Conceive?
Surprisingly, many people only have a vague understanding of the actual timing required to have the sperm meet the egg to conceive. Understanding this timing is not only important to make a baby, but also crucial to avoiding pregnancy as well. It is key for both men and women to understand this timing.
For sperm to meet the egg, the sperm should be “in position” anywhere from 5 days before ovulation up to and including ovulation day. The highest chance of conception occurs when sperm is awaiting the egg from 1 to 3 days prior to ovulation. (Gurevich, 2017) That means the window of opportunity is very small to conceive or to avoid conceiving. However, in the case of avoidance, it is better to be more conservative and avoid for 6 days before ovulation. (NVSH, 2017)
2. Am I Eating a Healthy Diet?
If you are trying to get pregnant or get your partner pregnant, it is essential that both of you be in top health. Prior to starting your “trying to conceive” journey it is ideal to start eating a healthy, balanced diet, with limited alcohol and caffeine consumption. You should aim to eat lots of leafy green vegetables, fish, dairy and protein-packed beans and lentils.
Red meat is fine in moderation too. Avoiding processed foods and those high in sugar mean you are fueling your body with as many nutrients and vitamins as possible. A healthy, balanced diet can boost your fertility and better your odds at conception. (Reviewed by Wendy Marcason, RDN, 2016)
3. How Much Sleep Do I Get on Average?
Sleep plays such an important role in so many aspects of our daily lives. Fertility is no exception to this rule. Men and women should be averaging about eight hours of sleep per night whenever possible. (Cornforth, 2016) It is recommended that you don’t take your phone/tablet/laptop to bed to try to fall asleep since these devices tend to keep you awake and alert instead.
Without proper sleep, your body becomes sluggish and unwell. The same part of the brain that oversees your sleeping patterns is also responsible for the release of your reproductive hormones that could sway how quickly you become pregnant or impregnate someone. (Cornforth, 2016) It’s better to get a good night of rest and not only will you feel more energized, you may just shorten the process of conceiving.
4. When Was My Last Physical Examination?
Both men and women should have a full workup done with their primary care physician before trying to conceive. Your doctor will want to run a full blood panel, check your blood pressure, perform any required internal exams such as prostate or pap smear and ensure your body is ready for procreating.
Of course, this is not a requirement of trying to conceive, however, your doctor may catch any issues that could affect your fertility earlier on, so you are not wasting months and months getting negative results. Addressing any health issues early on could mean you conceive much quicker than you would have without intervention.
5. What Do I Know About Ovulation?
Without ovulation, you cannot possibly conceive. Ovulation is the process of the woman releasing an egg from her ovary and having it travel through the fallopian tubes towards the uterus. Ovulation occurs approximately 10 to 16 days before the onset of your period, so anywhere from cycle day 11 to 21. (American Pregnancy Association, 2016) It is important to have an idea of when you are ovulating, so you can time intercourse accordingly.
Usually, around ovulation, a woman will notice a change in her cervical mucus to a slippery, clear consistency. This is very fertile mucus to help sperm travel swiftly to their desired destination. It is important to note that women can still have a period without actually ovulating. If you track your basal body temperature, you can confirm if you are in fact ovulating.
6. How Far Are You Willing to Go?
If you are just starting out on your journey of trying to have a baby, you should sit down with your partner and ask yourselves how far you are willing to go in this process should you face challenges down the road. Having this discussion is extremely important so that you are on the same page in the case of fertility challenges.
There are many medical interventions available to couples experiencing infertility, from IUI to IVF. A couple may even opt to adopt if medical treatment is not successful or affordable.
- Gurevich, R. (2017, July 27). When Is the Best Time to Have Sex to Get Pregnant? Retrieved from verywell.com
- NVSH. (2017). Safe & unsafe days. Retrieved from NVSH.
- Reviewed by Wendy Marcason, RDN. (2016, February 2). Fertility and Diet: 4 Tips for Healthy Weight. Retrieved from eat right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics