How to know a woman can get pregnant
Female infertility accounts for about one third of all infertility cases. Infertility in women can be caused by conditions affecting any of your reproductive organs — your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Infertility affects an estimated 10 percent of women. Studies have found that about a third of infertility cases are due to female infertility, another third to men, and the rest to issues affecting both partners or a cause that may remain a mystery.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Fertility Advice for Women: Dr. Sanjay Agarwal
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Infertility: Problem of ConceptionContent:
Do you know what your Chances of Getting Pregnant really are?
To optimize women's fertility, taking better care of their bodies is a good first step. But what else can women do to improve their odds of having a baby? The most important advice for a woman who wants to get pregnant is to get to know her body, specifically her menstrual cycle, said Dr.
Mary Ellen Pavone, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and medical director of the in-vitro fertilization program at Northwestern Medicine's Fertility and Reproductive Medicine department in Chicago.
A woman who wants to have a baby should monitor whether the first days of her periods tend to come the same number of days apart every month, which is considered regular.
Conversely, her periods may be irregular, meaning her cycle lengths vary from month to month. By tracking this information on a calendar, a woman can better predict when she might be ovulating , which is the time when her ovaries will release an egg every month. However, a man's sperm can survive in a woman's body for up to five days. Women with regular cycles ovulate about two weeks before the arrival of their periods, Pavone said.
It's harder to predict ovulation in women with irregular cycles, but it usually occurs 12 to 16 days before the start of her next period. There are several methods women can use to help determine their most fertile days each month.
Home ovulation-prediction kits can take some of the guesswork out of figuring out when a woman is ovulating. Another method to predict ovulation is to track cervical mucus, which involves a woman regularly checking both the amount and appearance of mucus in her vagina. When cervical mucus becomes more slippery, it can help sperm make its way to the egg.
The "fertile window" spans a six-day interval, the five days prior to ovulation and the day of it, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Research has shown that there hasn't been a big difference in pregnancy rates between couples who had sex every day during the "fertile window" 37 percent compared with couples who did it every other day 33 percent , Pavone said.
For example, there's no evidence that sex position will influence a couple's chances of having a baby, nor does a woman lying on her back for a certain amount of time after intercourse increase the odds of conceiving, Pavone told Live Science. But she said there are some water-based vaginal lubricants that can decrease the movement of sperm, so Pavone recommended using Pre-Seed rather than Astroglide or K-Y Brand Jelly when lubrication is needed.
Research has shown that a woman who is overweight can take twice as long to become pregnant than a woman whose BMI is considered normal, Pavone said. And a woman who is underweight might take four times as long to conceive, she said.
Losing 5 to 10 percent of body weight before a woman starts trying to get pregnant could improve her fertility, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Pavone recommends that women who are attempting to conceive start taking a prenatal vitamin even before becoming pregnant. This way a woman can find one that's more agreeable to her system and stay on it during pregnancy, she said.
Another possibility is to take a daily multivitamin, as long as it contains at least micrograms mcg per day of folic acid, a B vitamin that's important for preventing birth defects in a baby's brain and spine, Pavone said. Getting a head start on folic acid supplementation is a good idea because the neural tube develops into the brain and spine 3 to 4 weeks after conception occurs, before many women may realize they're expecting.
Although there may not be a specific fertility-promoting diet, eating a variety of healthy foods can help prepare a woman's body for pregnancy by giving her adequate stores of critical nutrients such as calcium, protein and iron. This means eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, dairy and healthy sources of fat. Besides taking a supplement containing folic acid, a woman can also obtain this B vitamin from foods such as dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, fortified breads and cereals, beans, citrus fruits and orange juice.
When trying to get pregnant, eat lower amounts of high-mercury fish , such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and tilefish. Also, go easy on caffeine : Consuming more than milligrams of caffeine a day has been linked with a decrease in fertility in women.
Having 1 to 2 cups of coffee, or less than mg of caffeine, per day before becoming pregnant appears to have no impact on the likelihood of conception, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Being physically active most days of the week can help a woman's body prepare for the demands of pregnancy and labor. But getting too much exercise or doing frequent strenuous workouts could interfere with ovulation.
Doctors see a lot of menstrual disturbances in women who exercise heavily, and a lot of times these women need to cut back on their workouts if they want to become pregnant, Pavone told Live Science. As women get older their fertility decreases because of age-related changes in the ovaries that cause a decline in the quantity and quality of her eggs. These declines mean it may take longer to become pregnant. Smoking can lead to fertility problems in both women and men.
Smoking ages a woman's ovaries and depletes her supply of eggs prematurely, according to the Mayo Clinic. It's also a good idea for women to stay away from secondhand smoke, which may affect their chances of becoming pregnant. Marijuana and other recreational drug use should also be avoided while trying to conceive.
It's safest for a woman to avoid alcohol when she is hoping to become pregnant. A woman should also stop consuming alcohol if she stops using birth control because she wants to get pregnant.
Both the woman and the man should consider having an infertility evaluation if the woman is 35 or older and has not become pregnant after six months of having sex regularly without using birth control, Pavone said.
Pavone also recommended that a woman who is under 35 and her partner should consult a fertility specialist if she has failed to become pregnant after one year of having unprotected intercourse on a regular basis. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to offer medical advice.
This article was updated on Oct. Live Science. Please deactivate your ad blocker in order to see our subscription offer. There are a number of ways a woman can increase her chances and make it more likely that she will conceive a child.
Am I Fertile? Am I Ovulating? Am I Pregnant?
There are possible early warning signs of infertility. There are also risk factors, things that make it more likely you may have difficulty getting pregnant. While many couples will have no signs or symptoms , if you do have any, you should talk to your doctor sooner than later. Infertility is defined by how long you have been trying to conceive unsuccessfully.
For the best chance of getting pregnant, you need to get your eggs and your partner's sperm together as often as possible. More than 8 out of 10 couples where the woman is aged under 40 will get pregnant within one year if they have regular unprotected sex. More than 9 out of 10 couples will get pregnant within two years. Having vaginal sex every 2 to 3 days will give you the best chance of getting pregnant.
Your Fertility right time for sex
Although there are a number of days in the month when you are more fertile, there has not been a lot of high-quality research into whether timing sex around the 'fertility window' increases your chances of pregnancy. Having regular, unprotected sex every 2 to 3 days without contraception will give you the best chance of success. More than 9 out of 10 couples will get pregnant within two years. If you find that regular sex is too stressful or if you are unable to do it for other reasons, working out the time you are most likely to be fertile in the month makes sense. This is sometimes referred to as your 'fertile window' and there are various ways that you can work out when it happens for you. As long as the man ejaculates into the vagina, sperm can travel through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tubes where it can fertilise the egg. Sexual positions that allow for deep penetration are likely to be the best for conception as they allow the sperm to be deposited as close to the cervix as possible.
Can I get pregnant if I have sex without penetration?
Having sex intercourse during this time gives you the best chance of getting pregnant. Ovulation is when a mature egg is released from the ovary. The egg then moves down the fallopian tube where it can be fertilised. Pregnancy is technically only possible if you have sex during the five days before ovulation or on the day of ovulation. But the most fertile days are the three days leading up to and including ovulation.
Back to Pregnancy. Yes, although the risk of getting pregnant in this way is very low. If you want to avoid getting pregnant, you should use contraception.
Age and Fertility (booklet)
Infertility is defined as trying to get pregnant with frequent intercourse for at least a year with no success. Female infertility, male infertility or a combination of the two affects millions of couples in the United States. An estimated 10 to 18 percent of couples have trouble getting pregnant or having a successful delivery.
Fertility changes with age. Both males and females become fertile in their teens following puberty. For girls, the beginning of their reproductive years is marked by the onset of ovulation and menstruation. It is commonly understood that after menopause women are no longer able to become pregnant. Generally, reproductive potential decreases as women get older, and fertility can be expected to end 5 to 10 years before menopause. Even though women today are healthier and taking better care of themselves than ever before, improved health in later life does not offset the natural age-related decline in fertility.
How to get pregnant
To optimize women's fertility, taking better care of their bodies is a good first step. But what else can women do to improve their odds of having a baby? The most important advice for a woman who wants to get pregnant is to get to know her body, specifically her menstrual cycle, said Dr. Mary Ellen Pavone, a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist and medical director of the in-vitro fertilization program at Northwestern Medicine's Fertility and Reproductive Medicine department in Chicago. A woman who wants to have a baby should monitor whether the first days of her periods tend to come the same number of days apart every month, which is considered regular. Conversely, her periods may be irregular, meaning her cycle lengths vary from month to month.
Editor's Note: Read more stories in our series about women and political power. I put off telling my parents about the split for weeks, hesitant to disappoint them. When I finally broke the news, they were, to my relief, supportive and understanding. I know you want to have kids.
Trying to Conceive: 10 Tips for Women
Women who get their periods every 24 to 35 days are probably ovulating normally, says Lynn Westphal, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and an associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine. Aside from cycle length and predictability, being able to detect your body's subtle clues that ovulation is actually occurring each cycle is a good sign. Plus, knowing the exact window of time when you ovulate is the best way to time your babymaking sex to boost your pregnancy odds. Most women ovulate 14 days before their next period.
Sponsored by First Response :. While many women think that getting pregnant will be no trouble, millions of women in America struggle with infertility. According to a new survey conducted by RESOLVE, 70 percent of women who may want to have children think they can get pregnant whenever they want.