Once you’ve decided to get pregnant, it can become like a mission. (Ever heard the expression “baby on the brain”?) You’re bound and determined to accomplish this goal the same way you’ve succeeded at so many others. But conceiving isn’t always a piece of cake, even though it may seem like everyone around you is expecting, and it can take more time than you’d prefer — many OB-GYNs recommend trying to conceive naturally for a year before looking at other options. So as you start your baby-making journey, be sure to arm yourself with the basics — everything from when to do it to how to do it (yes, how).
KNOW YOUR CYCLE
It’s important to understand your menstrual cycle so you can understand how and when you can conceive. A woman releases only one egg per month, which is viable for only 24 hours once it leaves her ovary. And because ovulation must occur in order for a woman to get pregnant, there are only about five days per month when she can have intercourse that will result in pregnancy.
KNOW THE BEST TIME TO DO IT
Sure, you can — and should — try every day, but because you must be ovulating, having sex on only some of those days will result in conception. According to the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, the day you ovulate is actually not the best day to get pregnant. To have the best shot at pregnancy, experts recommend using your full fertility window, which is the five days leading up to ovulation, along with the day of ovulation itself.
KNOW WHEN YOU’RE OVULATING
Calculating your ovulation period can be tricky because every woman’s menstrual cycle is different. One of the easiest signs to look for is cervical mucous, which will look like raw egg whites and feel slippery during ovulation.
KNOW WHICH POSITION IS BEST
Although there is no scientific evidence to support this, the good old missionary position is considered by many to be better than any position where the woman is on top, sitting or standing, because gravity could allow the sperm to leak out. Many experts agree that lying flat for a up to 15 minutes after intercourse (this means waiting to urinate) can also prevent the semen from slipping out.
KNOW THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH
It may seem obvious, but you should avoid all alcohol, drugs and cigarettes when you are trying to conceive. You should also maintain a healthy weight and take a pre-natal vitamin or folic acid supplement.
Remember, the process of trying to conceive shouldn’t be stressful. Just relax — and don’t forget to have fun!