Trying for a baby

Trying to conceive a baby can be a very emotional time, your excited that this time could be the one, impatient waiting till you can test, disappointed if your period starts or over the moon with joy when you finally get that positive test. Remember that before you start trying you should talk to your doctor about any medicines you are on, and once you start trying you should behave as if you are pregnant (i.e. not drinking, smoking and eating sensibly, following pregnancy guidelines about what to avoid).

How long will it take?

Now first of all it's important to remember that it may take quite some while to conceive, so don't expect to become pregnant straight away. How long it will take depends upon certain factors, such as how old you are, whether you have any fertility problems and how often you have sex. On average you have a 25% chance to conceive each cycle and 75-85% chance over a year. If after a year of trying you still haven't conceived then go see your dr again for advice.

When is the right time to have sex?

If you have sex frequently enough you will no doubt eventually fall pregnant, but you can work out the best days on which to have sex, which will also mean you can save up your energy for your most fertile time! Eggs only live from 24 to 48 hours, but sperm can live a lot longer inside the female reproductive system, up to a week. Obviously since sperm and egg have to meet for conception to take place, the best time to have sex is around the time of ovulation, from a few days before to the day you ovulate.

Ovulation is not especially easy to calculate, as every woman has a slightly different cycle. However generally women ovulate about 14 days before there period is due. You can download some software called Femta which helps you calculate your most fertile days from the days of your period at www.femta.com, other software is also available.

Fertility awareness Method

It is also possible to work out when you ovulate by charting your basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes. This is called fertility awareness and you can find more detailed information at http://www.fertilityuk.org/index.html

If it is the woman who suffers from ME you may not find charting her temperature to be very accurate, as temperature fluctuations are quite common with ME. However even just being aware of cervical mucus changes can be enough to tell you when the most fertile time is.

Briefly the changes in cervical mucus are this; after your period has ended your cervical mucus will be white and sticky, you will then get increasing amounts and it will turn wetter, cloudy and slightly stretchy, the next mucus is described as being like egg whites; clear, stretchy and slippy. The egg white type of mucus is produced around the time of ovulation, so this is your most fertile time and the time when you should have most intercourse.

Positions

The position in which you have sex (or at least the position in which the man ejaculates) can affect the chances you have of conceiving too. The idea is to let gravity help the sperm get to the right place, so obviously woman on top is not going to help (the sperm will have an uphill battle).

The best positions are: Man on top (missionary), side to side (or spoons, where the woman lies with her back against the mans chest), or rear entry (either lying down or kneeling).

It is also suggested that if the woman stays lying down for at least 10 minutes after intercourse that the sperm have more chance of getting past the cervix. Some people even suggest lying with your legs in the air! Another theory is that female orgasms after ejaculation help to draw the sperm into the cervix, a theory that shouldn't be wasted in my opinion!

Am I pregnant?

For most women the first sign of pregnancy is a missed period, but some women get symptoms even before their period is due. Symptoms you might get before a period is due include, implantation bleeding (light spotting, about 8 days after conception), period like cramps, morning sickness and painful breasts.

The only real way to be sure you are pregnant though is by taking a pregnancy test, either by buying a home test or asking for one from your GP. Most of the tests available claim to give an accurate result from the day your period is due, but with some people the hormone it tests for (HCG - Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) isn't present in high enough quantities to be detected for quite some while. I personally was about 6 weeks pregnant (calculated from first day of last period) or 2 weeks overdue for my period before I got a positive result. Remember that false negatives are quite common, but a positive result means you are pregnant.

Try not to be too disappointed if you get your period this cycle, remember that it does take a while to become pregnant, and the next cycle could be the one.


Good luck to you all!