Getting pregnant quicker is possible with a tried and tested method that significantly boosts monthly conception rates and is called “fertility charting” to identify the most (and least) fertile days in the menstrual cycle. Simply recording two things makes a massive difference to the chances of falling pregnant:
- The basal body temperature (BBT) (the body’s core temperature)
- Changes to the cervix and the mucus from the glands there
A woman’s BBT changes in response to her sex hormones, making it possible to identify when she ovulated, and charts can also reveal the health of the phases and predict fertile days next month. However, illnesses, stress, alcohol, food, drugs and exercise also affect the BBT.
The cervix is the opening at the lower end of the womb, and it changes its shape and its types of mucus with changing sex hormone levels, which indicate relative fertility levels accurately.
Getting pregnant revolves around timing sex to a woman’s fertile days, which sounds simple, but a study found 73% of women who sought fertility advice couldn’t detect their peak fertility days, although: i
- 64% of the women had seen an MD/GP about their fertility
- 84% were using a fertility aid!
- 91% were pregnant within three cycles once accurate help was given
- The average spend by couples was $6,637 on fertility testing before this!! ii
Clearly, even with qualified advice and aids, it’s easy for couples to miss when their most fertile days. Couples trying to conceive are a vulnerable market, and some guidance is confusing, contradictory and unhelpful. Many couples need to maximise their chances each month, and fertility charting can be more accurate than ovulation predictor tests. iii
Ovulation predictor kits
|They record the luteinising hormone (LH) surge, which lasts 12-24 hours and can be missed
|Easy to use and reassuring
|The LH surge is about 24 hours after peak fertility, and the odds have already halved
|None of that messing about with thermometers and mucus!
|They put tremendous pressure on couples to have sex then, which stresses relationships, upsets hormones and reduces a man’s ability to perform
|They record one thing in the cycle without information on how to improve things
BBT charting can show
- When it’s possible to get pregnant
- When ovulation was
- The length of the two phases
- The strengths of hormone levels in the phases
- When ovulation is likely next month
- When you’re pregnant
Pregnancy rates are higher with fertility charting (almost double per cycle), and it’s especially useful for “sub-fertile” couples. iv
|With fertility charting
|Without fertility charting
Sex and timing!
Timing is crucial, and Fig.1 shows how the day of sex affects pregnancy rates:
- The lines on the diagram are “centile” levels of fertility: 95 is super-fertile, and 5 is sub-fertile
- “O” is the day of ovulation
- Sex two days (-2) before ovulation brings the most success for everyone and is 4x more successful than sex on ovulation day!
When ‘normally fertile couples’ have unprotected sex during the fertile phase of the cycle: v
- 80% conceive in the first six cycles
- 93% conceive in a year
- All “super-fertile” couples conceive in 6 months
- 11% of “severely sub-fertile” couples conceive naturally in the first year
- Overall about 80-85% of couples conceive by the end of the first year
- 17% of couples who have sex once a week conceive in 6 months vii
- 50% of couples who have sex three times a week conceive in 6 months
Sex is essential for natural pregnancy, but it doesn’t happen enough or at the right for many couples. Regular sex also changes a woman’s immune state and increases her womb’s receptivity (it affects IVF success too). However, having sex every day isn’t practical or raises pregnancy rates and sex on alternate days during the woman’s fertile phase is ideal as:
- Sperm are in the Fallopian tubes when they need to be
- Sperm numbers and quality stay high
Sex is vital for healthy relationships, but “having a baby” can become such a focus point that timing sex to conceive is the drive, with a loss of intimacy. When this happens, it’s time to step back as the negative feelings and stress will be upsetting the woman’s hormone balance and reducing her man’s ability to perform.