Category: Preparing for Pregnancy

When is the best time to have sex if we're trying to conceive?

When is the best time to have sex if we’re trying to conceive?

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When is the optimal time to have sex if we’re trying to conceive?

Timing is the key to everything. Sperm can live for three to five days, but the egg is only around for 12 to 24 hours. To increase the likelihood of conception, it’s critical to have sex every day in the days leading to ovulation and on the day you ovulate. A good approach is to have sex one to two days prior ovulation and again on the day you ovulate. In that way, there is a higher chance for there, to be a healthy supply of sperm waiting in the fallopian tube when an egg is released.

Certainly, exactly when a woman ovulates isn’t completely known. It depends partially on the length of your menstrual cycle. A woman usually ovulates about 14 days before her next period — not mid-cycle, as is commonly believed. If you have a 28-day cycle, which is the average, then you would ovulate about halfway through your cycle. However, if you have a 35-day cycle, you would ovulate around day 21, not day 17. (The first day of your period is day 1.)

How can I know when I’m ovulating?

The ovulation calculator can predict the moment when you’re most likely to be fertile. Some women can deduce when they ovulate, but most women don’t observe any changes at all. If you’re considering conceiving, attempt to record your cycle for a couple of months. Some signs of ovulation include:

+ Increased vaginal discharge that takes on a wetter, egg-white-type quality

+ A modest increase (about 0.4 to 1 degree Fahrenheit) in basal body temperature, or BBT, which you can detect by taking your temperature each morning before you get out of bed, one or two days after you ovulate. You can get a good feeling of your cycle if you track your BBT for a couple of months.

For details on how to record these symptoms, see our articles on detecting basal body temperature and cervical mucus and ovulation. Toni Weschler’s book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health, can also educate you to read your body’s symptoms.

If you still have difficulty pinpointing the definite date of ovulation, you could contemplate trying an ovulation predictor exam.

If my periods are irregular, will it be tougher for me to get pregnant?

Most women have about 12 periods a year, but some have fewer and others skip months or don’t get a period at all. Dramatic weight loss or gain, heavy exercise, and stress — all of these can cause intrusions in your period. It is more difficult to forecast ovulation if a woman’s period is irregular.

Say your cycle is 28 days one month, 21 days the next month, and 32 days the following month. A record of your menstrual cycles should be kept for several months. From your shortest cycle, you should subtract 17 and 11 from your longest cycle. The days in across the two are the ones in which you’re most likely to be fertile.

You should consider seeing a fertility specialist or your ob-gyn to check for other causes of an irregular cycle, such as excessive weight loss or an elevated prolactin level, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), ovarian dysfunction, or thyroid disorder, if your cycles are irregular and more than 35 days apart or longer.

Can’t we just try and see what happens?

Admittedly, orgasms are not even needed to conceive. You don’t have to keep complicated logs or plot basal body temperature if you don’t want to. You should try having intercourse at least two to three times a week habitually, and the laws of averages probably will triumph.

Can Soy Isoflavones help me get pregnant?

Can Soy Isoflavones help me get pregnant?

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Regrettably, there is simply no clear-cut answer. There are women who claim that taking soy isoflavones did indeed help them to conceive. However, scientists have not studied the efficacy, and there isn’t any data to say whether it’s effective – or if it is safe.

Some experts even caution that ingesting highly concentrated soy products may hinder fertility, especially in ladies who have a “normal” menstrual cycle, meaning regular and under 35 days. In those women, soy supplements added to the diet could cause a woman’s natural cycle to go off-kilter.

The idea behind the theory is that soy isoflavones, which are a type of phytoestrogen (plant-derived estrogen), may work similarly to the fertility drug clomiphene (brand names Serophene and Clomid). They act on estrogen pathways in a woman’s body and can be used to manipulate the menstrual cycle. If your ovulation is irregular or non-existent, this could jump-start it. That being said, the remedies won’t help if your fertility problems are due to something else.

Theoretically, it works like this: estrogen receptors in your brain are blocked by the soy isoflavones, and your body thinks its estrogen levels are low. The body then kicks estrogen production into high gear. During this process, a group of eggs matures to prepare for one to be released during ovulation. After five days of taking the isoflavones, you stop. When this occurs, your body believes there is plenty of estrogen and so signals for ovulation.

Unfortunately, not all soy isoflavones react with the body in this way.

“Some soy isoflavones work as an estrogen blocker but others mimic estrogen – meaning the body thinks it is estrogen. This can cause health problems and make a hormone imbalance worse,” says Jill Blakeway, a licensed acupuncturist and clinical herbalist and co-author of Making Babies: A Proven Three-Month Program for Maximum Fertility. “Someone with uterine fibroids, for example, may find that her condition gets worse after taking soy isoflavones.”

Clomiphene does not present this danger because it is explicitly designed to act as an estrogen blocker, whereas soy isoflavones are more unpredictable in their impact.

On top of this, estrogen-like soy isoflavones may wreak havoc on other areas of the body, such as the ovaries, uterus and breasts. Research has shown that large doses of soy may cause cancerous cell overgrowth in these tissues. Eating too much may also lead to hypothyroidism.

Plus, says Blakeway, taking soy isoflavones in the first half of your cycle to boost estrogen production, then taking nothing in the second half to boost progesterone levels, may cause a hormone imbalance that damages fertility. That’s because the hormones linked in the menstrual cycle ebb and flow in a finely coordinated dance. If one is altered, it can affect the others.

Finally, soy isoflavones are sold as dietary supplements, which means they are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Because of this, they are not subject to the same meticulous testing that prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines are.

“There’s just no way to tell that what you’re taking contains the amount of soy (or other ingredients) you think it does,” says nutritionist Hillary M. Wright, director of nutrition counseling at the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF and author of The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for Women With Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Clomiphene, on the other hand, is governed by the FDA, has a long track record of safety, and is prescribed in specific amounts.

Soy isoflavones aren’t significantly more affordable than clomiphene, so saving money alone isn’t a good motivation to use them. The diet supplements generally cost $10 to $20 for one cycle. Clomiphene is covered by most insurance policies, so the expense would usually consist of just the co-payment (often in the range of $5 to $20). Without prescription drug coverage, one cycle of the brand-name drug Clomid costs around $60, while a cycle of the generic version (clomiphene citrate or Milophene) costs approximately half that – around $30. Of course, clomiphene does require a prescription and monitoring from a health professional.

If you are still interested in soy isoflavones to help with fertility, please consider the following advice:

• Any women over the age of 35 should seek medical intervention right away rather than exploring alternative options like soy that may not be practical or effective, says Shari Brasner, a professor and ob-gyn at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and author of Advice From a Pregnant Obstetrician.
• Soy isoflavones should be utilized only if you ovulate irregularly or not at all. Do not use them if you have any health issues such as uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, endometriosis, fibrocystic breasts, or thyroid disease, as those could be made worse by taking concentrated phytoestrogens,
• Likewise, it’s wise to avoid soy isoflavones if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)– even though clomiphene is in fact often prescribed for women with this condition. Phytoestrogens can aggravate PCOS, says acupuncturist Blakeway. Clomiphene is a safer bet for women with PCOS since specialists know exactly how the drug acts and it has better-expected results.
• The recommended dose to take is 80 to 200 mg per day on cycle days 3 to 7 or 5 to 9 (just as you would if you were taking prescription clomiphene), advises Blakeway. Always use the lowest dose possible, and don’t change it during the five-day period. Moreover, stick to supplements – it is simply not realistic to try to get the advised amount through food alone.
• Always speak with your doctor about possible interactions between soy and any medications you’re taking, including thyroid medications, antibiotics and clomiphene.
• You may experience short-term side effects. These include fatigue, headaches, breast tenderness, and digestive disorders. Taking the supplements before going to bed may help decrease the impact of these side effects.

Is Parenthood for you?

Is Parenthood for you?

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To Parent or Not to Parent: What will be your answer?

Some people have set their lives up to be parents, making this an easy question to answer. These individuals have saved up the funds, created a 10 year plan that included children, and based almost every decision made in their adult lives around becoming a parent. However, there are other people in this world that have no idea if they want to be a parent or not; therefore; they change their answer to this question on a regular basis. Lastly, there are people who never entertain the question, giving a firm no, and moving on with their lives.

You might be somewhere in between the three scenarios mentioned above, but hopefully after reading this article, answering this question is something that we hope you can do, without regretting that decision later on in life.

Weighing the Hardships Associated with Parenting

Being a parent is a feeling that you can never truly understand, until you have children. It is a fun, exciting, and great part of life, but it does require a lot of work. Ironically, you could never know the true amount of work that it takes to be a parent, until you have children of your own.

What is it that makes parenting so hard? The answer is: countless reasons. You have to devote a great deal of your energy to your children and their needs, while trying to handle the outside distractions, such as work, finances, and finding time to socialize with other adults outside of your home. At times, you will feel so full of love and positive emotions, but at other times, you will feel completely drained.

You may be thinking, “Parenting is a two-person job; right?” Yes, it is; however, it is true that women bear more of the responsibility of parenting, in comparison to men. There are many men that uplift mothers, and try their hardest to be active in their children’s lives. Even with all of the help that men offer in today’s society, the expenses of having a child still fall on the shoulders of women. This includes daycare expenses, healthcare bills, meals, help with schoolwork, emotional counseling, and more.

Here Comes Reality

Even with the images creating a picture of how great parenting is, no one can know what being a parent is like until they have children. Even if you carried a five-pound sack of potatoes around, or were responsible for watching over an egg for a week in class, this is not the same as being a real parent. Unlike the sack of potatoes and egg, you cannot undo your decision to have a child once that child enters the world.

There are many people in this world that thought about the hardships mentioned above, but still have a strong desire to be a parent. Even after reality has set in, they realize that caring for another life is something that they were destined to do; therefore, they want to be a parent. This is okay; the decision to be a parent is entirely up to you!

Are you Ready?

Before you and your partner decide to become parents, there are some questions that you should ask each other. This helps you determine if your partner is truly ready to become a parent. The answers could also help you gauge the type of parent that your partner would be.

You will need to focus on your dreams, desires, and hopes. Decide if being a parent falls into those categories.

• Have you spent time with children in the past? How did that make you feel?

• During your childhood, what did you enjoy the most? What do you wish you could change about your childhood?

• Did you receive great parenting? What didn’t you like about your parenting? What would you change, and what would you repeat as a parent?

• What do you expect parenting to be like?

• What emotions and thoughts do you have while answering these questions?