Now that you are ready to try for a baby, here are some tips that will help Indian women conceive.
Toss out your contraceptives & have frequent sex
Start having unprotected sex. Spend quality time together. Make it fun. Even if you are not timing yourself for conceiving, the more often you have sex, the sooner you are likely to get pregnant.
Figure out your fertility window
Conceiving "naturally" does not mean leaving everything to chance. Understanding your body's fertility signals can help you conceive faster. The timing of ovulation is complex and can take some studying of your body and your cycles to figure out.
Before you understand your fertility signs, you need to understand your menstrual cycle and the changes it causes in your body. Here are some facts.
The menstrual cycle starts the first day of the menstrual period and goes on till the first day of your next period. Most women have a 28 day cycle. But it can also range from 25-35 days.
First part of your cycle:
The cycle starts on the day you start your menstrual period. This is the first day of the menstrual period. Menstruation is the shedding of the inner lining of the uterus when a pregnancy does not occur in the previous cycle. Your hormone levels (Oestrogen and Progesterone) are very low during at this time. As your cycle proceeds, your Oestrogen level starts rising and peaks about 24 hours prior to your ovulation.
Oestrogen triggers a release of an egg from one of the ovaries. This is the start of ovulation. Once an egg is released, it can be fertilized for approximately 12 to 24 hours. This is your fertile period (highest likelihood of conception). This occurs typically any time during day 11-21 of your cycle (based on the average 28-32 day cycle). During the time of ovulation, an egg is available to be fertilized for only about 12-24 hours. But since sperm can live in the body for 3-5 days and then the egg is available for one day, your most fertile time is considered to be about 5-7 days.
Last part of your cycle:
Following ovulation, oestrogen levels drop and progesterone rises and becomes dominant for the next two weeks. Progesterone causes the uterine lining to mature, becoming more compact, so that it is able to support and nurture a fertilized egg. If implantation of a fertilized egg does not occur, progesterone levels drop, causing the onset of menstruation, within 48 hours (typically around day 28).
Other signs from your body on when could you be most fertile?
- Basal temperature gets higher (0.2-0.4 degrees Celsius higher than "normal"). So during the fertile period, the temperature range may rise to 36.3 to 36.8 degrees Celsius. As soon as it gets higher, it's a signal that your fertility period has started and you can step up sex.
- Cervical mucus is clear and sticky (can be stretched between two fingers like egg white)
- Cervix feels soft, open and easy to reach.
More sex during your fertile time
Have sexual intercourse daily (even multiple times a day) around this time to maximize your chances of conception. Do not rely just on one signal and do not wait for all signals. As soon as one signal surfaces, it is possible you might be fertile. So monitor these carefully.
Since sperm can live in the body for 3-5 days and then the egg is available for one day, your most fertile time is considered to be about 5-7 days. Many recommend that stepping up sex even before you ovulate will maximize the chances of the sperm fertilizing the egg and you getting pregnant.
Relax, have fun and give it time
Make sex fun and not as some task on your to-do-list. Leave your problems out of the bedroom.
It can take time. When no fertility problems are present, the average couple (less than 35) has about a 20 to 30 percent chance of becoming pregnant during any given menstrual cycle1.
If timing your ovulation with sex causes stress, then do not worry and just continue having sex frequently.
Studies show that in general, about 84% of couples will conceive within 1 year if they do not use contraception and have regular intercourse. Of those who do not conceive the first year, about half will do so in the second year (ie., 92% will get pregnant in 2 years)2.
So, in general you have a good chance to get pregnant in a year. Just relax and give it time.
Talk to other women who might be struggling like you or have overcome challenges and had babies. Join the Parentree group of women trying to have a baby
Am I pregnant?
If you miss your period, read our detailed article on how to confirm your pregnancy
Why am I not conceiving?
See our article on infertility
When should I see a doctor? (if not conceiving fast)
- For women under 30 - If you cannot conceive (or sustain a pregnancy) after one year of unprotected sex (without any contraceptives), you and your partner should see your doctor.
- For women over 30 - If you cannot conceive (or sustain a pregnancy) after about 6 months of unprotected sex, then you and your partner should see a doctor.
- Also, if you other fertility challenges like irregular cycles, have had miscarriages etc., you do not have sit out for the traditional wait-period, and should see the doctor as soon as possible.
1. Dunson, David B., Baird, Donna D., Colombo, Bernardo "Increased Infertility With Age in Men and Women", Obstet Gynecol 2004 103: 51-56
2. Guidelines of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists via US National Guideline Clearinghouse
Last updated: Aug 27, 2008