Have you been trying to conceive for months? Maybe even years? Getting pregnant is not always all it’s cracked up to be! You may be making one of these common mistakes when trying to conceive. Read on!
Back in the day (woof, I’ve been using that phrase too often these days), we used to think that having sex… AT ALL… meant we were going to get pregnant. One accidental broken condom or poor night of judgment in college meant panic mode. Little did we know, getting pregnant is not always that easy.
Now, it’s go-time: you’ve gotten off of birth control and decided with your partner that you’re ready to start a family. You rush to the pharmacy and stock up on pregnancy tests, your partner thrills at the thought of not having to use condoms anymore, and you baby dance the days away. Some months go by and nothing yet. You become the QUEEN of symptom-spotting, you start to overthink and stress about what you’re doing wrong, and you wonder if there may be something bigger to worry about.
After all, it was supposed to be as simple as unprotected sex, right?
Hate to break it to you, but conceiving isn’t always simple. Whether you’re just starting your journey of trying to conceive, or if you’ve been at it for a while, don’t get caught making these common baby making mistakes.
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Other helpful TTC articles:
- How to Stay Positive When Trying to Conceive
- Best Products to Help You Get Pregnant
- The Painful Process of Trying to Conceive
What does TTC mean in pregnancy?
Simply put, TTC is an acronym for trying to conceive. Trying to conceive means trying to get pregnant.
Common Mistakes When Trying to Conceive
1. Waiting Too Long To See a Fertility Doctor
Typically, it is recommended that you see a fertility specialist after actively trying to conceive for one year. However, this general rule of thumb does have some exceptions, such as if you have a pre-existing condition, irregular cycles, painful or heavy periods, or infrequent OB/GYN visits, to name a few.
Often, couples hold out on asking for help in hopes that this next month will be the one, or out of nervousness. Let me tell you, it does not hurt!
We tried for almost three years before seeing a fertility specialist. And while we believe that everything happens for a reason, and are grateful for the baby we have (and don’t stress about all the “what if” babies), we do sometimes kick ourselves for not swallowing our pride and seeing someone sooner. For years I tracked my period and ovulation like clockwork, went through a phase where I took my basal body temperature daily, did the baby dance at all the right times, you name it. And yet, nothing happened. There was no obvious reason why, no known health conditions that could be contributing factors, and we lived pretty healthy lifestyles. But, there would have been no way for us to know what we know now without seeing a fertility doctor. Crazy to think that all it took was a semen sample to point us in the right direction.
If you’re read to meet with a fertility doctor, be sure to ask these questions to make the most of your experience.
2. Not Tracking Ovulation or Doing the Baby Dance at the Right Time
If you don’t know when you’re ovulating, how are you supposed to send in the troops at the right time? Unless you and your partner have sex religiously (more on too much sex in a bit), you’re really kind of going in blind, right?
Conception really boils down to a science. In order to get pregnant, your ovary must release a mature egg into your fallopian tube. During this time, sperm must have traveled to the fallopian tube in order to fertilize the traveling egg. Pregnancy is really only possible if you have sex in your fertile window (the few days leading up to ovulation day, or on ovulation day). When the egg is no longer in the fallopian tube, a woman is no longer able to get pregnant.
So, if you didn’t plant the seed (pun intended) within that fertile window, you likely missed your opportunity during this cycle.
Understood, so how am I supposed to know when I am ovulating?
My favorite way to track ovulation was with the Glow app, or another app on which you can log your period and calculate your fertile window. Alternatively, you can keep track of your menstrual cycle on a chart or in a physical or digital journal (love these TTC digital stickers), or use ovulation kits which are very much like pregnancy tests, in that you pee on a stick and hope to see a positive. Most women have a 28-day cycle, which means ovulation typically occurs around day 14.
3. Continuing Unhealthy Habits
Drinking regularly, smoking, drugs, poor eating habits… they are all factors of an unhealthy lifestyle, and they can all impact your fertility. Your lifestyle (and the product of your lifestyle – your body) can play a massive role in your ability to get pregnant. Severely overweight? Very much underweight? Poor diet? Never exercised a day in your life? You may be surprised to hear that you can be stone-cold sober and still unable to conceive due to other unhealthy habits.
If you are trying to conceive and have yet to be successful, your first order of business should be to clean up your act. It’s a natural fix that may just do the trick! Besides, you’re going to have to curb your bad habits when you’re pregnant anyway.
4. Assuming the Woman is the “Problem”
There is such a frustrating stigma around getting pregnant: if it isn’t happening fast enough, it must be the woman. The truth of the matter is that of all infertility cases, 40-50% are due to male factor infertility. From low sperm concentration to poor sperm motility, almost half of the problems we see today are not something to do with the female’s reproductive system.
Male infertility is not talked about enough (which was part of our motive in starting this blog in the first place). If you have been trying to conceive for a year, make a point to see a fertility specialist with your partner so you can both be tested.
Mind-body health is a real thing! After such a long time trying to get pregnant, you will naturally feel stress, some anxiety, maybe even depression – all of which can trigger a hormonal imbalance. If you are experiencing any of these feelings due to other situations in your life, keep in mind that they may be impacting your ability to conceive.
Make a point to engage in activities that you enjoy to help get your mind off of whatever is burdening you. Meditation, yoga, and therapy are all ideal, but if you have other outlets, by all means!
6. Overthinking Sex Positions
If you are more focused on having sex in the “right” position than you are in the actual act, you’re doing it wrong. Sex is supposed to be fun and enjoyable, not a task. There is no “best” position to get pregnant, and there are many other factors that come into play that matter more.
This includes propping those hips up on pillows after you’re all done in hopes of the semen traveling in the right direction. While it doesn’t hurt, there is no evidence that suggests it will improve your odds. In fact, in most cases, sperm travels toward the egg within moments of ejaculation, so by the time you detach yourselves from each other and get into position, the work has already been done.
Conception is all about timing, so stop agonizing over which position is the best position, and just have a good time.
7. Only Having Sex on Ovulation Day
Your fertile window starts three to five days before you actually ovulate.
After sex, ejaculated sperm are viable for up to five days within the female reproductive tract. Therefore, you are more likely to conceive by having sex a couple of times in the days leading up to O-day than you are if you only have sex on the big day.
This means that you aren’t just limited to one day a month! You actually get close to a week!
8. Only Having Sex During Your Fertile Window
This is more of a relationship tip. Again, sex is supposed to be enjoyable. When you start having it “by appointment only,” you’re inadvertently treating your partner like an object. This not only takes the fun and passion out of the act but can impact your relationship.
I completely understand that after months, maybe years, of trying to conceive, sex may be a touchy subject, especially when you don’t know why you aren’t getting pregnant. This can lead to less sex when you’re “off the clock” so to speak. Rather than reserving sex for your fertile window only, be sure to indulge at other times throughout the month. This will not only relieve some TTC stress but also remind you why it’s fun, and it’s good for your health.
9. Having Too Much Sex
Yep, there is such thing as too much sex in the world of getting pregnant!
You may think that the more frequently you do the baby dance, the better your odds are. But, that isn’t exactly true. In fact, less is more. Having sex too frequently can reduce the number of sperm in your partner’s semen. So, rather than daily sex around ovulation, try every other day on for size.
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