I'll never know if there was one miraculous remedy that lead to my pregnancy. Here are Five Fertility Secrets I wished I'd learned sooner.
Forget giving birth and having a kid — just simply trying to get pregnant is an overwhelming experience to navigate. Take it from someone who’s been there (twice!): There are a few important things to know if you’re deciding to go for it.
I foolishly assumed that my own pregnancy journey would mirror my friends’. Something about hearing their “How I Got Pregnant” stories left me naively assuming my body would work just like theirs. “Oh, Kelly got pregnant exactly two months after she started trying and experienced morning sickness approximately three times a week? So will I!” Lo and behold, this did not happen because — duh — everyone is different. It’s especially important to remember this when trying to get pregnant because…
Let me guess, you have a friend who got pregnant the day she started trying. Wait, no, scratch that, you have 10 friends for whom this happened. “OMG, I’m so fertile!” they laugh, half-thrilled, half-terrified. I had these people in my life too and the narrative was so common that I was certain I too would get pregnant on Attempt No. 1. (I had friends who seemed to get pregnant just from the mention of sex.) And because I was so sure this would be my path, I freaked out when one month of trying turned into two, and then six, and then eight. I finally got pregnant after 10 months of trying but not before I learned this:
Maybe I was a clueless teenager but growing up, I assumed that sex at any time of the month meant pregnancy could happen. I didn’t really get ovulation or understand that we’re more fertile at certain times. I was taught to be so “safe” that I assumed I’d get pregnant the second I started having unprotected sex to conceive — just like my high school sex ed teacher said! Not true. Sometimes, getting pregnant just takes a long-ass time. And because we so often hear those stories of women getting knocked up on the first or second try, it can be easy to assume there’s something “wrong” with us if we don’t get pregnant right away. And yes, there may be a medical reason why pregnancy isn't happening right away. But it might also just take a while. My OB told me that for someone my age, it could take six months to a year to get pregnant, and not to stress about it. And you know what I did, right? Stress like a motherfucker. But it turned out she was right.
Some woman resume normal menstrual cycles immediately after going off their birth control. But some of us have a different experience. After stopping my hormonal birth control, it took my body months to have a regular cycle. According to WebMD, this is normal. But if you’re worried about it, check in with your doctor for peace of mind.
Even after I’d been off birth control for a while, I still had 34-day cycles. Turns out this is also normal: The average cycle can run from 21 to 35 days. When my cycle finally did get shorter, I still ovulated later in my cycle; the average women with a 28-day cycle ovulates on day 14 but I was ovulating around day 20. (I figured this all out thanks to the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility, in case you need another thing to order on Amazon.) Your body may not operate like your fertility app or pregnancy book says it’s supposed to, and that’s totally cool.
You could download 10 fertility apps on your phone and that would still just be a small sample of the digital tools offered to track your body’s every rhythm. And sure, they’re helpful and give you that deeeeelicious feeling of control over a wildly unpredictable process. But they can also turn the experience of getting pregnant into a obsession, leading you to overanalyze every temperature dip or chart every single thing your body does. If they’re becoming more of a hinderance than help, delete ‘em off your phone for a couple of months. And maybe get rid of Facebook too, if all those “OMG, I’M PREGNANT!” posts are becoming too much of a bummer.
It can feel kinda unsexy to type “ovulating — have sex” into your Google calendar. But scheduling it doesn’t necessarily have to kill the mood. Get into it — toys, oils, outfits, cocktails before … whatever you like to take the pressure off and keep the focus on fun (and, you know, orgasming).
LOL at our bodies playing the ultimate practical joke on us. Pregnancy tests are not always accurate, especially when they’re taken right after conception. A positive test occurs when the HGC hormone is detected and this often doesn’t show up until two weeks post-conception. As annoying as it is to wait to take a pregnancy test, it can often spare you the roller coaster ride of thinking you’re not pregnant and then having a “Hey, wait a second…” moment.
Listen to your doctor (duh). But listen to yourself too. Only you know the patterns of your body and life. Getting pregnant can be a fun and frustrating process, and everyone has an opinion, advice, or a sure thing. Friends, doctors, parents, coworkers, Starbucks baristas, and spouses may have a lot to say about you, your body, and trying to conceive, but trust your own gut too. And your uterus.
Kate Spencer is the author of the upcoming The Dead Moms Club. Follow her on Twitter.
Pregnancy wishes and congratulations messages to the lucky couple and especially to the lucky mother! Browse many cute wishes and make.
When you reveal that you're trying to get pregnant, you'll get some kind wishes, while other people take the moment as an opportunity to launch into a well-worn comedy routine. If the person trying to conceive is a cisgender woman partnered with a cisgender man, folks seem to think they know exactly what "trying to conceive" means (wink wink, nudge nudge). I've heard everything from, "Bet your husband's enjoying it!" (though as a queer mom, I wasn't on the receiving end of that) to, "This is the fun part, because you'll never get to do it again once the baby's here." All these jokes about trying to conceive rest on one basic assumption: that if you're trying to get knocked up, it means you're having lots and lots of sex. And boy, do these jokes make the merrymaker look clueless.
Getting laid and making a baby are not necessarily connected for everyone — not just for straight folks struggling with fertility issues, but also for LGBTQ people, who (spoiler alert) are not always having PIV sex to make a baby. For them, the process of TTC is a lot more complicated, and your jokes about how much sex they're having aren't helping. So, let's cut it out already, OK?
I'm a queer woman married to another person with a uterus, so getting knocked up didn't need to involve any sexy-times at all. We used a known donor and were able to perform artificial insemination at home, which basically just means that my spouse put some sperm in my vagina. But let me tell you, it wasn't the wild romp peoples' minds seem to jump to when they hear "making a baby" or "trying to get pregnant."
These jokes — vintage offerings from the "take my wife!" era — send me back in time to sex-ed class in high school. I can vividly remember sitting next to my girlfriend’s ex-girlfriend while our teacher announced that “the only foolproof way to prevent pregnancy is abstinence” and, “all it takes is one time, people!” It was kind of beautiful, because I knew for a fact (*gestures left, gestures right*) that the teacher was wrong. If you believe that gay sex counts as sex, it's actually possible to get plenty of action without running the risk of pregnancy (though there are other risks — practice safe sex, everyone!). In actuality, it doesn’t take one time to get pregnant, so much as it takes one sperm and one egg.
At 16, I was too shy — and terrified of homophobia — to point out to the teacher that gay people exist, and therefore her information was incomplete. But I’m in my thirties now, and I’ve more or less gotten over that. These days, I have no problem calling people out on their crap.
Does trying to make a baby look like a whole lot of sexy action for some people? Sure! Maybe that’s the case some people. But this leaves out many couples who use IVF or IUI to conceive — queer couples and hetero couples alike. Queer people of all different stripes absolutely do exist, and sometimes, we make babies. To assume that the word “sex” means penis-in-vagina intercourse between two cisgender and fertile people is both massively incorrect and just… messed up. It's heteronormative to the point of knocking on homophobia's door, and leaves out tons of straight folks as well.
when you joke about making babies via sexy times, you really don’t even know whose feelings you could be hurting
We may have gotten pregnant in a fairly low-tech way at home, but there's actually a lot of variety amongst people who use artificial insemination. Other families get pregnant in clinics and doctors’ offices, using varying levels of technology, and it isn’t just homos like me, either. Plenty of straight people can’t get pregnant by getting it on, and use reproductive technology to help grow their families. That's cool, and I'm really glad they have that option.
When you joke that "heh heh, babies come from doin' it" you kind of sound like an idiot, and it's just insensitive as hell.
And while LGBTQ people are certainly important, there's also straight folks with fertility issues to think of. Many people struggling with infertility would never share that with you (because it’s none of your business) so when you joke about making babies via sexy times, you really don’t even know whose feelings you could be hurting. Imagine how you would feel if you were struggling to conceive. Maybe you're using in-vitro fertilization and you're feeling anxious about your next embryo transfer. Then someone makes one of these jokes around you — or maybe even about you. I don’t know how that feels, but I imagine it’s pretty freaking painful. I was blessed to be able to conceive fairly quickly and easily when I wanted to. But that's certainly not everyone.
The book What Makes A Baby gives a lovely explanation of where babies come from — one I think many heterosexual adults could use. It says that “when grownups want to make a baby, they need to get an egg from one body, and a sperm from another body. They also need a place where the baby can grow.”
That’s it! No “when a mommy and daddy love each other very much…” nonsense required. It really can be that simple, and there's no need to even mention straight people boning to explain to a child (or anyone else) where babies come from. Babies get made lots of different ways, and that's OK!
Look, I’m not against jokes. What I’m against are repetitive, boring, unfunny jokes that hinge on inaccuracies and perpetuate stereotypes and misinformation. I think sometimes we all need to slow down and think about what we’re saying, and what it actually means. So the next time a woman says she’s trying to conceive, and you feel the urge to respond with “Oh, yeah? You getting tired” with a meaningful wink, just take a minute to think it over. Remember that you don’t actually know how she, or anyone else, is making a baby.
If you’re plus size and trying to conceive (TTC), odds are you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet and have come across some discouraging articles. Or perhaps you’ve met with a care provider who told you that you needed to lose upwards of 100 pounds before you should even attempt to get pregnant. Are you feeling hopeless or as if there’s not much you can do in your effort to have a baby? Let's change that with this plus size trying to conceive advice!
I’m often asked to give plus size trying to conceive advice. My advice might seem obvious or maybe even a little inconsiderate but here it goes –treat your body as if you’re already pregnant!
Hear me out, by doing this you’ll be nourishing your body in a healthy manner and preparing your body for pregnancy. It makes sense both physically and emotionally but it's easier said than done. So let's break down “acting like you're already pregnant” with the tips below…
I know, I know, again, this is easier said than done but take things one day at time and we're not striving for perfection. Try your best, and that's good enough.
Try to limit processed foods and fill your belly with healthy fruits, veggies, proteins, dairy, fats, and carbs.
One helpful way to accomplish this is to stick to the perimeter of your grocery store. Load up on fresh produce and then dairy and meats, organic when possible.
Focus on eating food that comes from nature with the fewest ingredients possible.
Please think of this more as a lifestyle change than a diet.
No restriction is necessary for you to implement healthy, happy choices.
If your work is having a birthday party for someone and cake is offered, don’t deprive yourself of something really worth it, but definitely decline if we’re talkin’ dried out store-bought cake.
If you really want a candy bar then go get it. Just be sure to take note of how you’re feeling in that moment. Ensure that you actually wanted that food item and that you’re not actually bored or thirsty… or lonely or tired.
Now is an amazing time to start listening to those cues your body is giving you and to transform your relationship with food.
When you fuel your body with nutritious items, your digestive system thanks you for paying attention to the food choices you’re making. You’ll be more regular and experience less bloating – a bonus whether you’re pregnant or not!
Pinterest is a great tool for finding healthy and delicious recipes and we just happen to have a pregnancy food board that we’re adding a lot to for you to enjoy.
Below are some additional resources to help with eating a nutritious diet while you’re trying to conceive.
I highly recommend, to anyone who has previously suffered from an eating disorder or who isn’t sure where to even start with changing their food habits, to connect with a registered dietician or naturopathic doctor. It’s a real gift you can give yourself and there are so many great providers out there who can truly help you to learn a lot.
Also, be sure to start taking a prenatal vitamin and talk to your care provider about other vitamins you should be taking (I really recommend getting your vitamin D level tested).
You’re busy. I get it! Just imagine how much busier your life will become once you have a baby. Now’s the ideal time to build an exercise routine into your life.
The key is to find something that’s fun (and fun is different for everyone). From water aerobics to Zumba – what sounds appealing to you?
Here’s an article with many different activities to do while you’re pregnant and it’s sure a perfect list for while you’re trying to conceive so you can keep up with your routine indefinitely –7 Plus Size Pregnancy Exercise Tips
When you’re being physically active it’s super important to drink a lot of water throughout the day. Don't undervalue getting a good night’s rest. So be sure to factor those two things in as well.
Check out this pregnancy fitness Pinterest board I made just for this topic!
When you’ve changed your eating habits and are being physically active, weight loss is often a byproduct. There are some studies that show that a 5% – 10% decrease in weight alone can improve your fertility.
While this is certainly helpful to know, it’s important to be aware of your personal history with weight loss. Many of us plus size women have a yo-yo relationship with weight – lose a little and then gain a lot. That’s precisely the opposite of what you want to happen and that’s why I recommend focusing on health and not the number on the scale.
When care providers meet with women seeking plus size trying to conceive advice, and simply say lose 100 pounds, I get frustrated! That advice isn’t really advice AT ALL because it’s not something most people can accomplish, not in good physical and emotional health anyway.
Rapid weight loss, in an unhealthy manner, can actually harm fertility.
Speaking of rapid weight loss, some care providers will push women to get weight loss surgery. While, yes, surgery has helped some women to become mothers, it comes with a lot of risks (including re-gaining all of the weight you lost overtime). You'll also have a year’s waiting period before you should become pregnant. It isn’t a decision that should be made lightly and it also shouldn’t be the only recommendation care providers make.
Focus on health – acknowledging how much better your body feels when you’re nourishing it with healthy food and moving in a fun way (sex totally counts and it’s sure important to get in a lot of great practice!!!).
You’ll want to connect with a size-friendly provider to support you not only during your journey to trying to conceive but also into motherhood if you become pregnant.
Having a preconception checkup with a size-friendly care provider is ideal! They will give you a physical and blood work to look at your overall health. Remember, people of ALL sizes can be healthy!
During your trying to conceive journey, it’s very possible that you might need support from a medical professional.
For example, if your periods aren’t regular (and you’ll sure want to be tracking your ovulation and menstruation throughout TTC) then you need to find out why and possibly be tested to see if you have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
As we've said throughout this article (and website) there's a ton more that goes into health and fertility than just weight. Blood sugar and hormone levels can play a big role in your ability to conceive. Let us also not forget that your partner might be the reason why conception isn't happening.
You’ll want to connect with someone who will hold your hand throughout this experience and explain medical terms, risks, and hypotheticals to you in a respectful manner.
When it comes to finding a size-friendly provider, I can’t speak highly enough about the midwifery model of care so look into that option. If you need a fertility specialist, know that you'll probably have some extra hurdles to jump over if you do have a high BMI.
Click here to get our free guide on how to connect with a size-friendly provider.
When it comes to understanding your body and how it works with conception we can't recommend the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility enough! Here are other recommended books.
What doesbody love have to do with trying to conceive or acting like you’re pregnant? A lot!
This body of yours, a body you’ve probably spent a lot of time hating, is magnificent!
In the same way you’re working on changing your relationship with food and physical activity, it’s also time to develop a new relationship with your body.
You might’ve of already come to this place, and if you haven’t you will soon…the place of being angry with your body after so many negative pregnancy tests. I want to tell you that it’s okay to feel those feelings. Feel them, grieve for as long as you need, and then start right back on working to love your body!
Learning to forgive yourself and move forward in a healthful way is something you’ll practice through TTC, pregnancy and as a forever part of motherhood.
It’s so important that you don’t quit and I have many body love resources to support you along the way.
Bonus Tip: Become educated about having a healthy plus size pregnancy! It’s never too early to start learning all that you can to have a healthy pregnancy and empowered birth. I’ve written a guide to walk you through anything and everything you could want to know about being plus size and pregnant. Check out the My Plus Size Pregnancy Guide today!
I hope you found this plus size trying to conceive advice helpful! Please also know that you aren’t alone on this journey! Join a community of women supporting one another before, during and after pregnancy on Instagram.
Best wishes with trying to conceive and be sure to enjoy all that practice!!
I'll never know if there was one miraculous remedy that lead to my pregnancy. Here are Five Fertility Secrets I wished I'd learned sooner.
You’ve had the chat, abandoned the birth control and are ready to start trying to conceive. But your body doesn't always act fast, so make sure you're clued in on how to prepare and stay healthy in the meantime, in order to conceive naturally.
Before you leave everything in the hands of fate, here's some useful advice on how to maximise your chances of getting pregnant and fast!
To really boost your chances of getting pregnant fast, think about your lifestyle. Here are the tips the experts want you to know:
Most of the time, a healthy couple having frequent, unprotected sex, will become pregnant within a year. A study by the Mayo Clinic showed that 38% fell pregnant after one month, but that rose to nearly 70% after three months, 81% after six months and 92% after 12 months.
So, for those of you in your early thirties or younger, it is usual and healthy to try for a year before any success. This is because technically, you only have a 1 in 5 chance of conceiving every month, so luck plays a big part in how long the process will take, even if you're monitoring your ovulation cycle closely.
If you're over 35 and aren't pregnant after 6 months of trying, it might be worth visiting your doctor and looking into fertility treatment options.
Women are only fertile for a few days each month, so knowing you are having sex at the right time will definitely improve your chances.
Have you tried our ovulation calculator? Just put in the first day of your last period and the length of your cycle and it’ll show you the optimum days to try and conceive every month. It's also worth buying an over-the-counter Ovulation Test Kit, so you can keep track of your fertility window and boost your chances.
A low sperm count has often been linked with factors such as a zinc deficiency or a lack of vitamins. So, making some nutritional changes can be a great way to bring that sperm count up.
Check out our complete guide on boosting his sperm count for pregnancy.
Your weight can not only play a role in how quickly you become pregnant because it can affect the frequency of ovulation, it can also affect your health during pregnancy.
Work out your body mass index by putting your height and weight into an online BMI calculator. If the results show you’re over or underweight, your GP may refer you to a dietician or recommend an exercise programme to help you reach your ideal BMI and get your body in the best condition to conceive.
Diet isn’t only important for health, it can impact your fertility, too. Making sure you include certain healthy foods in your diet will ensure your body isn’t deficient in any of the key baby-making nutrients and vitamins. Here are our recommendations:
Spinach is a leafy green that is key for healthy egg and sperm production as it contains zinc. Bananas are rich in Vitamin B6, which helps regulate hormones, and eggs and fortified cereals help you get your fair share of Vitamin D. A lack of vitamin D has been associated with increased rates of infertility. Lastly, beans, lentils, and nuts are known as fertility-boosting as they are full of great plant-based protein!
Take a look at fertility superfoods for lots more ideas.
The Kama Sutra won’t guarantee a pregnancy, but if you’re trying to conceive, there’s no harm in making these sex positions your new favourites… Click here to find out the sex positions which can help you become pregnant - and quickly!
If it’s been over a year, then visit your GP. They will be able to refer you to specialists who will run a range of fertility tests to see if there’s an underlying medical reason why you’ve been struggling to conceive.
Good luck! And for lots more advice on how to get pregnant, take a look at our Pregnancy Planning section.
Try our ovulation calculator
Read next: 11 trying to conceive tips the experts want you to know
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An anonymous contributor talks about her struggle to conceive and the I wish you so much luck, and be gentle with yourself and be good to.