My hubby and I have been talking a lot lately about when we should try for baby number 2. Of course, I would love to give Madeleine a sibling but there’s just a small part of me thinking, “I’ve just got my life back!” Haha, I definitely will be doing it all again in the near future, but I currently enjoy being back at work and juggling everything.
There are a few things that you need to work out before trying to conceive. I am so clueless when it comes to my dates, my cycle duration and when I ovulate. The first time round, we just went in blind. Thankfully, it worked out and we didn’t have to try for too long. Second time round though, I would like to have a clearer idea so that I can track how far along I am.
So what do you need to know?
- Once you’ve stopped your contraception, start documenting your menstrual dates. Writing down your first day of menstruation each time will allow you to determine your cycle length. Day 1 is considered the first day of menstruation.
- Once you’ve worked out your cycle length, you can get a better idea of when you ovulate. This is when your ovaries release an egg. It is the ‘fertile period’ of a woman’s menstrual cycle. When you are trying to conceive, you will need to pinpoint when ovulation happens to optimise conception. Pregnancy is technically only possible during the five days before ovulation through to the day of ovulation. Also bear in mind that the lifespan of sperm is 5 days and the lifespan of the ovum is 24 hours.
- If intercourse takes place 6 or more days before ovulation, the chances of pregnancy is basically zero. If intercourse is within 5 days of ovulation then there’s probably a 10% chance. The probabilities rises significantly up until the day of ovulation. When the ‘fertile window’ is over, the probability of pregnancy declines rapidly. This is why determining your ovulation date is so important.
- I came across this very useful table which helps you work out your ‘fertile window’:
* If your menstrual cycle is typically longer than 42 days of shorter than 22 days, then follow my next suggestion.
- I have previously worked in an IVF clinic before, and the doctors usually recommend for those who are not aware of their ‘fertile window’ or when they ovulate, it is best to have intercourse every 2 to 3 days to help your chances of falling pregnant. But seriously, who has the time and energy for that?! Especially when you already have another baby, this is hard work!
- Alternatively if you have no idea and going about it blindly, you can use an ovulation kit. I will make a another post on this, but it is basically like taking a pregnancy test. The test detects an increase of luteinising hormone (LH) in your urine. The closer you are to ovulation, the more luteinising hormone is present in your urine. The test will turn positive if you are nearing your ovulation date. Daily tests will be required and once the line gets darker or matches the colour of your control, you have 24 to 48 hours before you ovulate.
- Take prenatal multivitamins, especially folic acid. The first 6 to 8 weeks after conception are critical for your baby’s development including development of it’s vital organs. Yet most women would not know they are pregnant until they are about 4 weeks pregnant, which is why it’s so important to start taking supplements before you are trying for a baby.
- Start eating healthy. A baby’s development can be affected by what you eat. You won’t know when you’ll fall pregnant that’s why it’s best to start before you’re trying. Eating a well balanced diet will help keep you healthy and ensure your baby gets the nutrition it needs when it develops. This includes limiting any caffeine (maximum of 200mg a day), nicotine or alcohol from your diet. If you’re taking any medications that concerns you, speak to your doctor and they can advise you of the changes you might have to make. Sometimes it’s as simple as changing over to another medication that’s considered safer in pregnancy.
- Consider your age. Fertility declines with age in both women and men. If you have a choice, take into consideration both your ages when planning to conceive. If you have been trying for longer than a year, then it’s time to see your doctor for further tests on your fertility.
- Try to aim for a healthy BMI between 18 to 24. Exercising and eating healthy will help maintain a desired weight to increase your chances of conceiving.