Why haven't you conceived yet? What could be wrong? Are you infertile or just unlucky? Is there anything you can do to increase your chance of getting pregnant?
If the situation I described above sounds familiar to you, you are probably very worried and frustrated among other reasons, because you have no way of working the answer out for yourself, and no idea what the future will bring. In short, some couples who have been trying to conceive for a while are just unlucky. Others are having sex at the wrong time of the month, or are struggling with lifestyle challenges they could remedy at home.
And some face a fertility problem of one kind or another. If you're reading this, you are probably hoping that you are just unlucky or having sex at the wrong time of the month, and looking for tips that will help you get pregnant instantly. I know. I've been there. I know what it's like when negative pregnancy tests appear month after month, and you're sure you'll never have a baby. The official definition of infertility is not achieving pregnancy after 12 months of trying. If you've not reached that milestone yet, you can experiment with some of the tips below. If you have, you may still be simply unlucky but should certainly consult a fertility specialist.
Do you know when you ovulate?
Knowing your menstrual cycle intimately, and being aware when you ovulate, is crucial if you want to maximize your odds of getting pregnant especially if you have been trying for a while, and want to be sure you are doing absolutely everything in your power to increase your odds. On the Trying To Conceive blog, we have written extensively about all possible ovulation-tracking methods. The methods at your disposal include:
- Ovulation calendar
- Cervical mucus
- Ovulation saliva tests
- The body's natural ovulation symptoms
- Charting basal body temperature
- Ovulation predictor kits
All of these methods can be really useful in their own way. But, if you are worried about infertility, I strongly suggest that you use ovulation predictor kits, also known simply as ovulation tests. Why? These tests react to luteinizing hormone in your urine, and the surge in this hormone happens only when you are on the verge of ovulating. A positive ovulation test doesn't just tell you that you are ovulating right at the time when you get a positive (which is great!), but it also confirms that you are ovulating at all.
Since anovulation is a big problem amoung infertile couples, this is good news for anyone worried about infertility. Those women who have been using ovulation tests (correctly!) for a few months and have never seen a positive test definitely have a great reason to see their doctor, and to be referred to a fertility specialist. If you don't ovulate, you can't get pregnant. Ovulation disorders can sometimes be resolved fairly easily with fertility medications such as Clomid.
Is there anything you do that could decrease your odds of getting pregnant?
If you are already very familiar with your menstrual cycle, and are sure you ovulate, there are still things you could look at before seeing a doctor about fertility. Many things can reduce a person's fertility, and when you take a critical look at your lifestyle, always remember that it takes two to tango in other words, your partner's lifestyle is just as important as yours. Some negative lifestyle and environmental factors that can have a serious impact on a couple's chances of conceiving include:
- A poor diet
- Drinking alcohol for women, this is especially dangerous because it can cause birth defects if they do get pregnant
- Overheating the testicles by wearing tight, synthetic underwear, having a laptop near the testicles, etc.
- Lack of exercise
- an undiagnosed medical problem, such as diabetes
If none of the items on this list apply to you, and you have been trying to conceive for 12 months (for any couple) or six months (if the woman is over 35)? It's time to start the fertility testing process.