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5 Common mistakes when trying to conceive

Baby-making can be a very stressful process. There is so much information floating around on the internet that is sometimes misguided and sometimes flat-out wrong. If pregnancy doesn’t happen right away, then make sure you aren’t making these five common mistakes. Avoiding them might play a part in making next month your month.

1) (Mis)timing

Many women assume they are most fertile on the day they ovulate. However, your most fertile day is actually two days before ovulation. Sperm can live inside a uterus for up to five days, whereas an egg is viable for only 12 to 24 hours after ovulation. In the average fertile population, the probability of pregnancy following unprotected intercourse is 4 per cent five days before ovulation, 25-28 per cent two days before ovulation and 8-10 per cent during the 24-hour period following ovulation.

2) Too much sex?

Unfortunately this one is counterintuitive. Having sex more frequently does not necessarily mean your chances of getting pregnant are higher. Frequent ejaculation decreases sperm count and can therefore decrease your chances. That is why it is recommended that you have sex every second day during your fertile week (five days before to two days after ovulation). This will maximize the man’s sperm count while increasing the amount of “chances” during your cycle.

3) The use of lubrication

Another common mistake is the use of lubrication during intercourse. Most lubrication is spermicidal, meaning it kills off sperm before it even enters your uterus. This is not to say that getting pregnant with lubrication is impossible (as it should not be used as a method of birth control), but it definitely decreases your chances. If lubrication is needed, then look for fertility-friendly options at the drugstore or at a fertility centre.

4) Business instead of pleasure

By taking all the fun out of sex and making it just about the business of baby-making, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Interestingly enough, a female orgasm may actually increase a woman’s chance of getting pregnant. After a female orgasm, the uterine wall contracts and (in theory) helps pull the sperm up toward the Fallopian tubes. Also, some males get “stage fright” when sex is timed and preplanned, and his orgasm is definitely needed.

5) Avoiding the doctor

If you have irregular cycles, miss your period often or just aren’t sure what you should be doing to increase your odds of getting pregnant, then see your doctor. Most of the time true fertility tests are not initiated until one year of infertility, because it can still be entirely normal for a fertile couple to get pregnant within that time frame. However, investigations may start sooner, depending on a woman’s age and health status. Basic investigations with blood work and an ultrasound can be initiated at any time (even before you decide to start trying to conceive) if you have an irregular cycle, as this may indicate you are not ovulating or that you ovulate irregularly. Don’t be scared of the doctor; they are there to help you on your journey to motherhood.

Try your best to relax and enjoy the process. There is no magic fertility potion, but if you follow these tips, they are sure to help.

More on pregnancy

Why you should focus on your health before conception
A simplified guide to pregnancy
5 Simple ways to boost fertility

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