When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child I was pretty shocked. We weren’t trying and the only night we had unprotected sex turned out to be the right time to conceive – 2 weeks later I found out I was expecting. When my daughter turned 18 months my husband and I decided we were ready to try to conceive baby #2 and we thought it would be as easy as it was with my daughter but we were wrong.
It took us 6 months to conceive this baby and learning about my fertility to figure out when was the right time to become pregnant. I know 6 months is within the “normal” time frame to conceive a baby but we were really trying so it was disappointing when my period would come every month. I learned a lot about my body and learning about the right time to conceive so I want to share it with you in case you’re on the same boat as we were a few months ago.
First and most important, you should track you cycle. The easiest way to do this is using an app. At one point I had about 10 apps installed on my phone and was tracking my cycle in all of them because I couldn’t figure out which one was the best, they all seemed to have great features but none of them had all the same features. Eventually I realized that my fertility friend app was the best and the most comprehensive one. I would input information and it would tell me exactly when I ovulated. It also gives you pretty clear charts at the end of each cycle which will help you learn more about your cycle.
Trying to conceive is a learning process and it requires patience. There no 100% way to predict your ovulation but once you track your cycle for a few months you start seeing a pattern and learn when your body ovulates. By charting I was able to predict my future ovulation dates and that’s how this baby was conceived.
Just tracking your period is not enough. The apps will give you a predicted ovulation date but this is based on the general rule that you ovulate on day 14 of a 28 day cycle, which I learned is not always accurate. Best way to track your cycle is by taking your basal temperature every morning and/or using ovulation prediction kits. I used both of these methods and entered all the information on my fertility friend app. I did this for a total of 3 months and got pregnant on the 3rd month of tracking my cycle. We had already been trying for 3 months prior to me tracking our cycle and we were unsuccessful, which is what prompted me to learn more about my fertility.
Here is the most important information I learned during my trying to conceive journey:
Your cycle is composed by 2 main phases: the follicular phase, this is the phase between the first day of your period and the day you ovulate, and the luteal phase, which is the phase between your ovulation date and the beginning of your next period. Your follicular phase can vary a lot, from 7 to 40 days but your luteal phase doesn’t vary by much. It’s almost the exact amount of days each cycle and it usually lasts 12-16 days. So basically the start of your next period is determined by your ovulation date.
What I found out when I was tracking my cycle is that due to the fact that I was still nursing my daughter, my luteal phase was shorter than average. It was only 9 days. This meant that I was trying too early on my cycle to conceive this baby and that’s why I didn’t get pregnant. Once I found out that I had a short luteal phase, I could estimate when my ovulation was going to be and have sex a few days prior. I’m sure if I didn’t chart my cycle it would have taken me much longer to conceive since I thought all women ovulate 14 days after the beginning of their period.
Basal body temperature:
Your basal body temperature is the morning temperature of your body before you get out of bed, move or do anything. Taking your basal temperature every morning is a great key to learn about your cycle because it will let you know when you have ovulated. Although you cannot predict ovulation just by taking your temperature, you can learn when you usually ovulate and use it in future cycles to try to conceive around the time your ovulation. Once you have ovulated, it will help you confirm that you tried at the right time too. Remember that you don’t have to have intercourse on the exact day you ovulate. It is recommended to start trying about 5 days prior because healthy sperm has a lifespan of up to 5 days.
Your body basal temperature drops when you get your period and stays low during your follicular phase, once you ovulate it increases and stays high for a few days. This is how you know you’ve ovulated. If you use the fertility friend app all you have to do is enter your temperature every day and it will tell you when you have ovulated.
You can find cheap body basal thermomether on amazon or your local pharmacy. I already had a fertility monitor that I used to prevent pregnancy by taking temperature and I just used that to track it when I was trying to conceive. The device I have is called pearly. It was expensive but a great investment since it tells you when to have or not to have sex depending on if you’re trying to conceive or not. I had gotten this 4 years ago since I didn’t want to use artificial hormones nor an IUD to prevent pregnancy. However, if I was buying a fertility monitor today I would buy Daysy, it is exactly the same monitor I have but this one connects to an app on your phone where you can see all your information.
Ovulation prediction kits (OPK):
This was a very useful tool for us because it will tell you a day or two before you ovulate. I learned a lot about my cycle with OPK‘s. They confirmed that I was ovulating later than I suspected and they also gave me a heads up of when we had try for a baby. It definitively made the trying to conceive game easier. Of course I didn’t really announce to my husband each time I was ovulating because it would feel too much like a transaction, haha!, but I took advantage of him when I had this knowledge. 🙂
There are a lot of OPK’s out there but my favorite one is Clearblue Digital Ovulation Test because it takes out a lot of the guessing. Some of the OPKs that show one or two lines can get confusing and the last thing you want is to be all confused. Clearblue offer 2 types of digital tests: one called advanced and the regular one. You want to get the regular one because it’s more accurate and you can start any day in the cycle. The advanced one needs to compare one day after the other so sometimes it will give you confusing results. I used one box for 3 cycles and got pregnant on the 3rd cycle.
These OPK’s are a little bit more expensive but you can buy them through Subscribe & Save on Amazon and save 15% off the price. You need to buy 5 or more subscribe and save items to get a 15% off your total order but it’s worth it and you can always cancel the subscription so it will be a one time purchase if that’s all you need.
Cervical mucus and cervix position:
You can also learn about the consistency of your cervical mucus and the position of your cervix to help you determine ovulation. However, I found this to be confusing and annoying. I tried for 2 months and gave up. The OPK’s and charting are so much easier and even if you don’t want to take your temperature, just the OPK’s will be pretty accurate without you having to use these methods.
However, if you’re interested on taking this route then you need to learn more about what to expect and look for. Check out this post to learn more about cervical mucus and this one to learn about cervix position. You can find plenty of information on google about this but those 2 links summarize all you need to know.
Taking Charge of Your Fertility book
Taking Charge of Your Fertility: The Definitive Guide to Natural Birth Control, Pregnancy Achievement, and Reproductive Health is a great book to learn more about your fertility. Many couples have gotten pregnant using the tips from this book after trying for a long time so if you’re looking for more in depth information on how to conceive, I recommend you start with this book.
My biggest lesson out of trying to conceive was that it’s important to learn to track your cycle. In my case I learned I was ovulating late and that showed when was the better window to try for a baby. Also, if you end up having fertility issues your doctor will want you to track your ovulation first so why waste any more time? Better start from the beginning and that way you have all the info in case you need it.
Remember that a healthy couple will take an average of 6-12 months to conceive. I know it can be frustrating to get your period month after month when you’re trying for a baby but it’s part of the process. Some babies come faster than others. It’s easier for some couples than other and sometimes it just happens when “you’re not trying”. Stress plays a big factor so do your best not to stress about it and have fun with your partner.
Sending baby dust your way!
Do you have any other trying to conceive tips to share? Leave the in the comments below.