Along with the decision to have a baby follows the responsibility of preparing the body both physically and mentally for the journey that lies ahead. It also helps to know all the facts regarding conception so that you and your partner can increase your chances of enhancing fertility and thus getting pregnant.
For some people, getting pregnant is easy and it happens with little effort, but for many others, conception takes a lot more work and planning than originally thought. The first step for women wanting to conceive is learning to know your menstrual cycle. While each woman has a different menstrual cycle, the average cycle is between 28 and 32 days. It’s a good idea to diarize the first day of each period to determine the length and regularity of your cycle.
Between 11 and 21 days after the first day of menstrual bleeding, an egg is released into the fallopian tubes in a process known as ovulation. It can be a little tricky trying to determine when ovulation takes place, but the average ovulation day for an average 28 day cycle is on day 14.
Once ovulation has occurred, there is a small window for the egg to be fertilized by male sperm, as the female egg only lasts between 12 and 24 hours. The male sperm, however, can last for up to five days in the fallopian tubes, so intercourse a few days before expected ovulation also increases the chances of conception. If the egg is not fertilized in this short window period, then the egg disintegrates and is re-absorbed into the lining uterus to be shed during the next menstrual cycle.
Conception is a sensitive and complex process, and couples should be aware that it can take up to a year for a healthy couple to conceive. A number of factors including reproductive health, overall physical health, and emotional well-being all influence the conception process, and it is important to address any concerns in these areas. If you and your partner are still struggling to conceive after 12 months (or 6 months for women over 35), or if fertility problems are suspected, then it is advisable to seek a medical opinion where appropriate screening tests can be done.
Other methods to determine time of ovulation
While ovulation usually takes place in the middle of a normal cycle (with a cycle starting on the first day of menstrual bleeding) this is usually more of a rough estimate and it can differ between women. There are a few methods that can help you get a more accurate idea of when ovulation takes place.
- Monitor changes in cervical mucous: Just before ovulation occurs, cervical mucous increases and becomes clear and slippery in texture. This is prime fertility time. After this ovulation phase and when pregnancy is less likely to occur, the cervical mucous becomes slightly cloudy and sticky, or it disappears altogether.
- Check your basal temperature: The basal body temperature is the body’s temperature when fully at rest. During ovulation this temperature rises between 0.5 and 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Diarizing your temperature around time of suspected ovulation can give you a clearer idea of when you are most fertile, the optimal time being two to three days before your temperature rises as well as during.
- Test for changes in hormone levels: There are a number of over-the-counter ovulation kits available that test the urine for the hormone changes related to ovulation. These can be quite accurate if you follow all the instructions as directed on the package.
Help for Conception
Flower essences are a part of an ancient system of healing that uses the harmonious and healing qualities of nature to bring about balance and inner serenity. Because of their gentle and therapeutic nature, many women incorporate the use of flower and gem essences to prepare the body, mind and spirit for the gift of conception.
Some natural ingredients that can be used in the holistic approach to conception include Evening Primrose essence, brings about inner calm and is often used to heal emotional pain. Another essence that can be taken is Blushing Bride, which helps to facilitate the development of feminine characteristics such as intuition and gentleness while encouraging emotional and physical intimacy.
When conception seems to be less straightforward, there are a number of herbal ingredients to assist with the fertility process. Chasteberry helps the pituitary gland in the brain to stimulate the ovulation process and helps to regulate the hormones involved in conception. Other herbal ingredients that help by improving reproductive health and balancing hormonal levels include Black Cohosh and Siberian Ginseng. Black Cohosh also helps to prevent early miscarriage.