The Menstrual Cycle
A woman's cycle starts on the first day of her period. For most women, ovulation occurs two weeks into the cycle. However, that can vary. Women can ovulate anywhere from 11 to 21 days into the cycle. It's important for women trying to conceive to keep a diary of their cycle. This will help them get to know their cycle.
A woman can get pregnant, even if intercourse occurs before ovulation. This is because sperm can live in a female's Fallopian tubes for up to seven days. This means the sperm can fertilize an egg several days after intercourse. It is important to remember that even though there are days that pregnancy is more likely, pregnancy can occur anytime with unprotected sex.
Factors Affecting Pregnancy
There are several factors that can affect a woman's chances of getting pregnant, states WebMD.
- Age: The older a woman, the lower the chances. After age 30, a woman's chances of conceiving decline. After age 40, women experience a sharp decline. However, it is still possible to get pregnant after 40.
- Irregular periods: For women who have irregular cycles, it can be hard to determine ovulation. That is because ovulation may not occur at the same time each month.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions or illnesses can affect pregnancy. If a woman has concerns about her medical history, she should talk with a doctor before trying to conceive.
How to Increase Pregnancy Chances
There are things couples can do to increase their odds of getting pregnant, notes WebMD.
Learn more about Pregnancy
- Frequent intercourse: Many couples will time sex with ovulation. However, it is recommended that couples have intercourse more than just on ovulation days. Some experts say couples should have intercourse every other day to increase their chances of conceiving. However, if it is suspected that the male has a low sperm count, talk with a doctor first.
- Stay in bed: Right after intercourse, stay in bed for about 15 minutes. This can increase the chances of the sperm getting into the cervix. There are myths that raising legs in the air will help, but doctors say that is not true.
- Relax: Stress can interfere with ovulation. So, the more a woman is stressed, the harder it will be to conceive. Harvard Medical School conducted a study of 184 women experiencing fertility problems. More than half of those who completed a course on relaxation training become pregnant within one year, compared to 20 percent who did take the relaxation training.
- Get moderate exercise: Too much exercise can affect ovulation. However, moderate exercise can help. Try to get exercise five times a week for at least 30 minutes.
- Don't smoke: Smoking can actually decrease fertility as it affects estrogen levels.
- Follow a healthy diet: It is important to have a healthy diet and avoid alcohol. Speak with a doctor about taking prenatal vitamins when you are trying to conceive. This is good for both the mother and essential for a baby.