Planning to have a baby is the most beautiful time for a couple, and one that starts with lot of enthusiasm. However, once you start trying to conceive, it is natural to feel a little impatient for it to happen soon! And then there are stories that say how your ‘friend’s cousin got pregnant even when they were not trying’ doing the rounds. If you do not get pregnant as soon as you want to, it is but natural to feel stressed – and stress again hampers your chances of getting pregnant. It can be a vicious cycle that could steal all the fun and confidence in you, giving way to impatience, self-doubts, guilt and negativity. And the biology is not in your favor as well, a stressed body decides that it is not the right time to conceive. Sounds tough, eh? Well, we are here to help you maximize your chances of conceiving and providing you with information that you need along the way.
Why Am I Not Getting Pregnant Despite Having Regular Sex?
One of the key reasons for it taking longer to get pregnant than what you expect is due to couples not having intercourse on the right days of a woman’s cycle, and trying for a baby on all the other days! As you might already know, there are only a few days every cycle when you can get pregnant – and these are different for every woman, varying even in different cycles. These are the days leading up to and including the day of ovulation. Getting a precise idea of the day of ovulation is very important to get pregnant faster-women who do know when they are ovulating have maximum chances of getting pregnant sooner.
How To Understand The Process Of Ovulation?
Even if you are just thinking about having a baby or have been actively trying, knowing how your body is working can be a huge help. Infact, research has it that 1 out of every 2 couples could be having an intercourse on the wrong days of a woman’s cycle and then wondering as to why pregnancy is not happening. Understanding your fertility, timing intercourse accordingly and fitting this all in your mind is the first step to get pregnant fast.
Every menstrual cycle, one mature egg is released from either of the ovaries into the Fallopian tube. This process is called ovulation. The lifespan of this mature egg is just 12-24 hours and conception can happen only if the sperm is present during this time. As the sperm can survive up to 5 days, the 3-5 days leading to Ovulation or before ovulation is considered the Fertile Window. To increase the chance of conception, it is important to have timed, planned and frequent intercourse in the fertile period or the fertile window.
Let us understand this in more detail:
- Your ovaries contain eggs, and it is during the first part of your menstrual cycle an egg is matured and released
- As the ovulation nears, your body releases a hormone estrogen that makes your womb sperm friendly – thickening the lining of your uterus
- At the peak, estrogen triggers another hormone, known as LH (luteinising hormone). Ovulation happens 24 to 36 hours after LH surges and causes the release of the mature egg from the ovary. Getting to know LH surge is thus a great way to predict fertility
How Can I Know When I Am Ovulating?
The day of ovulation is not always the mid cycle day as is commonly presumed. It is 12-14 days before the date of ovulation and varies every cycle and for every woman. In fact, research shows that greater than 46% of cycles vary by more than 7 days. Hence it is very important to use one of the various methods to track ovulation. As explained above, measuring LH surge is the best way to know when you are ovulating.
What Are The Different Ways To Track Ovulation?
- Follicular tracking by Ultrasound Scans: Doctors track ovulation by taking ultrasound scans about 4-5 times per cycle to track and study the follicle size. The day when the follicle ruptures, is the day of ovulation.
- Pros: This method is the most accurate method of ovulation tracking. The doctor also screens for other problems like blocked fallopian tubes, cysts etc
- Cons: Follicular scan has a success rate of only 1 in 10 due to the stress it adds. It is extremely inconvenient as the woman must go to the hospital 4-5 times per cycle with a full bladder. Transvaginal scan gives the most accurate picture, but trans-abdominal scans are performed in many centres. In fact, it usually adds so much stress in the journey of trying to conceive that the fertility starts reducing because of stress. Follicle tracking is heavily subject to operator error. Do ensure that a skilled doctor is performing the scan
- OPKs (Ovulation Predictor Kits): Ovulation Kits of various brands can be used to detect the day of ovulation. They are disposable strips that detect the presence of a fertility hormone Luteinizing Hormone (LH) in urine and give upto 2 fertile days. Manufactured by a lot of Indian & Chinese pharmaceutical firms, they are quite common to track fertility and predict ovulation.
- Pros: Tests are done at home, so much more convenient than follicular scans
- Cons: Interpretation of lines is difficult to interpret and causes anxiety about the ovulation time. Does not work for women where LH surge is not very strong. Tracking just LH will only give 2 fertile days, this may cause anxiety as the window can be small. Further, taking the test and charting it regularly is required. This can lead to errors
- Fertility Monitors To Detect Ovulation: Fertility monitors are devices that store the cycle information specific to your body and measure two hormones (LH & Estrogen) in urine to give upto 6 fertile days. There is no confusion in the test interpretation as it is done by the monitor automatically and accurately. These fertility monitors are so designed that they specifically increase your chances of getting pregnant. They do not just predict ovulation, but also confirm when you are ovulating.
In India, fertility monitors have just been launched and the Inito fertility monitor is quickly gaining popularity for its accuracy. The Inito fertility monitor is available online at www.inito.com.
- Pros: Most precise method for tracking ovulation at home. As accurate as follicular scan but at the comfort of your home. This easy to use device provides the highest number of fertile days to improve the chance of pregnancy. The monitor works well for women with irregular cycles if they are between 21 to 45 days. It will not work for some women with PCOS depending on how out of balance the hormones are
- Cons: Slightly expensive because of the use of a monitor to read the hormone levels accurately
When you have a baby on your mind, it can take away everything else off your plate. It doesn’t matter whether you have just started to try for a baby or have been sailing in the boat for some time, everyone wants it to happen real quick. This impatience leads to doubts and you start to think if there is a problem, where the real reason is just the timing. Hence before you start any complicated treatments, track your ovulation at home and have intercourse on fertile days so that you can maximize your chances of conception.