Getting Pregnant FAQs

Should I see my doctor before getting pregnant?
It’s a good idea. Your gynecologist or ob-gyn can identify and correct any problem that might interfere with a successful pregnancy beforehand. Your doctor will also make sure your immunizations are up to date and review preconception do’s and don’ts, and what medications are safe to use when pregnant.

What are preconception do’s and don’ts?
improve your diet, maintain a healthy weight, take a prenatal vitamin, and have sex regularly — especially near the time you ovulate. Don’t smoke, use drugs, or drink alcohol to excess. Do start tracking your monthly cycle, be patient, and relax. And Do make sure the dad-to-be is healthy too.

What should I consider when selecting my ob-gyn?
If you’re sticking with your current ob-gyn, find out what hospital he or she is affiliated with. This is important if you have your heart set on delivering your baby at a certain hospital. Ask questions to find out how compatible you are with the doctor, the doctor’s attitude toward routine interventions, and how experienced the doctor is in treating someone with your specific health issues.

When is the best time to have sex when trying to get pregnant?
The optimal time to have intercourse is right before, during, or just after you ovulate—when the egg is released from the ovary and begins its journey through the fallopian tubes. The moment of ovulation depends on the length of your cycle and varies from month to month.

How do I know if I’m ovulating?
You’ll have an increase in cervical mucus – it will appear thin and clear, with the consistency of an egg white when ovulation is imminent. Some women have cramps in the lower abdomen (mittelschmerz) when they ovulate. You can keep track of ovulation using a calendar and a basal body thermometer to monitor your temperature. Monitoring the position of their cervix is another way of detecting ovulation.

Do over-the-counter ovulation prediction kits really work?
Yes, to a degree. Ovulation prediction kits cannot pinpoint the exact time of ovulation. The most they can do is give you a window of time in which ovulation is likely to occur. These kits can be very helpful if you have difficulty monitoring your ovulation cycle by other means, such as by basal body temperature.

How can measuring luteinizing hormone (LH) in urine predict ovulation?
The level of LH in your body peaks just before ovulation occurs. Ovulation predictor kits that measure LH usually require you to pee on a stick, as you would when taking a pregnancy test. A positive result means that ovulation will likely occur within 12 to 24 hours, and having sex during that time could increase your chances of getting pregnant.

I’ve heard that there is a device I can wear on my wrist that predicts ovulation; is that true?
The ovulation predictor device that you wear on your wrist is sensitive to the various salts in your sweat. Once you know your baseline salt levels, you can identify your chloride ion surge, which occurs when the body is gearing up for ovulation. This gives you a four-day window when you might be ovulating.

Can a saliva test predict ovulation?
This test measures estrogen in your saliva. The test requires a little spit to be examined under a microscopic eyepiece. When you are ovulating, the pattern of the saliva will resemble that of a fern plant.

Now that we’re trying to get pregnant, how can I prevent sex from turning into a chore?
It’s hard to follow the ovulation clock and be spontaneous and fun at the same time. Keeping sex enjoyable is important, so try to be spontaneous in other ways. Turn up the romance in and outside the bedroom. Make sure you and your partner are connected not just physically but also emotionally. Conceiving is a huge responsibility. Remember you are in it together. Read more about sex and getting pregnant.

Can having sex every day decrease sperm count?
Recommendations vary on how much intercourse is needed to increase the odds of conceiving. The current conventional wisdom is that having sex every day around the time of ovulation is more likely to result in pregnancy than having sex every other day.

Will having sex during the day increase my odds of getting pregnant?
There is no evidence to confirm that having sex in the daytime can increase your chances of conceiving. However, it is known that sperm counts are higher in the morning, so it might be worth a try.

Are certain positions during intercourse better than others for trying to get pregnant?
If it were only that easy! The position doesn’t matter. The most important factor is that the cervical mucus provides the right consistency to carry the sperm through the uterus to the fallopian tubes and ultimately the egg. Lying down for a while after sex can help the sperm reach their destination.

Can use of a lubricant prevent conception?
Yes, it can negatively affect your chances of conceiving by changing the natural environment in the vagina and by reducing sperm motility. If you use lubricant, it is recommended that you choose one that is water-based.

Why should I take a prenatal vitamin before pregnancy?
A prenatal vitamin contains important nutrients that you may not be getting enough of in your diet, namely, folic acid, vitamin B6, and zinc. Zinc may also improve fertility. A prenatal vitamin should be taken in place of your normal daily vitamin supplements. 

What over-the-counter medications should I avoid?
If you are unsure whether a medication or supplement is safe, ask your doctor. In general, however, ibuprofen is not considered safe during pregnancy. Aspirin should be avoided, unless directed by your doctor. Certain herbal supplements, such as Echinacea, ginkgo biloba, and St. John’s wort, can interfere with conception.

Can my caffeine intake really decrease my chances of getting pregnant?
Yes it can. In general, caffeine intake of 200 mg or more per day can adversely affect fertility. Of course, this level varies, as all women metabolize caffeine differently. Reducing caffeine intake is advised for women who are having trouble conceiving.

When should I seek a fertility specialist’s help?
This depends on your age and how long you have been trying. A healthy 25-year-old woman might want to see her doctor after six months of trying, although some experts recommend trying for a year before seeking help.

This page was last updated on 06/2017

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