Pregnancy occurs when the egg (scientifically called ovum) is fertilised by sperm.
Usually, a woman’s body produces one egg per month except in cases of superovulation where more than one is released while the man produces millions of sperm cells in every ejaculation but only one is required to fertilise the egg for pregnancy to occur.
If you have been trying to have a baby for some time without any success, here are seven pointers that may help.
Understand your monthly cycle
This is probably the first thing to do when trying to have a baby. When you know your menstrual cycle, you improve your chances of getting pregnant.
The first phase starts with the first day of bleeding during your period. Your body releases hormones, like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), that make the eggs inside your ovaries grow. Between days 2 and 14, those hormones also help thicken the lining of your uterus to get ready for a fertilised egg. This is called the follicular stage.
The average menstrual cycle is 28-35 days. Ovulation usually happens between days 11 and 21 of your cycle. A hormone called luteinising hormone (LH) is released and this triggers the release of the egg that’s most ripe. At the same time, your cervical mucus becomes more slippery to help sperm make their way to the egg.
Keep track of your ovulation using a thermometer
After your body releases an egg, a hormone called progesterone is also released to build and maintain the lining of the uterus, this makes your body temperature increase slightly.
If the timing is right, sperm may fertilise the egg on its way to the uterus. If fertilisation doesn’t happen within 24 hours of the egg leaving the ovary, the egg dissolves. Sperm can live for about three to five days, so knowing when you are ovulating can help you plan for when you’re most likely to conceive.
This means that you can check your temperature every morning to know if you have ovulated. You can get one of these at a drugstore. This method is not foolproof because there are various things that could increase your body temperature.
Take note of your weight
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight may boost your chances of getting pregnant. A study found that women whose body mass index (BMI) was above normal took twice as long to get pregnant as those with a normal BMI.
Little weight loss can improve ovulation and pregnancy rates. Obesity has also been known to cause infertility and low testosterone in men.
Being significantly underweight can also lead to infertility.
Fertility reduces as you grow older, especially after the mid-30s. It also lowers the chances that fertility treatments will be successful.
It is recommended that you consult a doctor if you’re under 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than 12 months, or over 35 and have been trying for more than 6 months.
Pregnancy is serious business for the body and this applies to both sexes. A man’s body has to be in good shape to produce a lot of active sperm cells in one ejaculation and a woman’s body has to be in good shape to allow her cycle go the normal way.
Stress has been known to cause a number of illnesses in the body and high levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, is not exactly body friendly.
Keep the testicles cool
For a man, keeping the testicles cool is important for producing healthy sperm. No long, hot baths, hot tubs, or saunas.
Look out for the early signs
Sometimes, it might not occur to you that you are pregnant already so you have to look a little more closely because you might not miss a period at the onset of pregnancy.
Some of these signs include getting tired easily, larger or tender breasts, feeling nauseated in the morning or all day and feeling the need to pee more often.
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