Ready, Set, Go: Preparing for Pregnancy

WebMD Live Events Transcript

You've made up your mind to start a family. But is the rest of your body ready, too? We discussed optimizing your conception chances, as well as the tests and tips you need to know about before you start trying, with Glade Curtis, MD, coauthor of Your Pregnancy Week by Week, as part of the Preserving Your Fertility Cyber Conference, on Sept. 29, 2004.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How do I maximize my efforts of TTC if I notice that my cycle is not regular?

CURTIS:
That's a good question, and one that most people don't need to worry about, because pregnancy happens without planning very often. One of the best things you can do to maximize your chance of success is to try to find out when you are ovulating each month. In other words, find that time during the cycle when you are able to get pregnant. People use lots of different methods to determine this, including taking their temperature, buying ovulation kits at the store, or getting to know their own body.

I think the most important thing, though, is to not get too caught up in this and make it harder to get pregnant and make it more of a scientific process than something that will just happen naturally, if you let it.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How do I maximize my efforts of TTC if my cycle is regular, but I have been TTC for a year?

CURTIS:
If your cycle is regular and you have been unsuccessful for a year, then I believe it is time to sit down with your partner and your provider and talk about things that you can do to increase your chances of pregnancy and also what tests you might consider in the months to come.

While we're on this subject, I feel like I should mention a few things that some couples ignore or forget:

  • When you are trying to conceive, intercourse once a day is plenty. More than that probably doesn't help, because it takes a man 24 hours to regenerate a sperm count.
  • After intercourse, lie in bed. It is sometimes even helpful to elevate your hips. Don't jump up and run to the bathroom or take a bath.
  • It is a good idea not to use douches or lubrication or any type of foreign substances that will change the environment in the vagina.

Those are simple suggestions, but they have saved many couples from going through further testing or workup for infertility.

MODERATOR:
If after a year of trying you are not pregnant, do you recommend seeing a specialist, like a reproductive endocrinologist?

CURTIS:
After a year of trying I would start with a regular ob-gyn that also does infertility. In most places those doctors can help you with what you need. They are the ones that usually will refer a more complicated situation to an infertility specialist at a university. So I wouldn't go directly to the university; I would start with your regular ob-gyn, and in most cases you'll be successful.

"One of the best things you can do to maximize your chance of success is to try to find out when you are ovulating each month."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I am about to ovulate but never know when the right time is to have intercourse. Some say every 24 hours; others say every 48 about four days prior to ovulation and continue through ovulation day.

CURTIS:
I have seen and heard both 24 and 48 hours. The advice I give to patients is to try and have intercourse about once a day during that time that they are trying to get pregnant. This may not always be possible because of work, travel, or even disagreements. But during the time you're trying to get pregnant it is a reasonable goal.

If you're timing it with your ovulation, I think it is good to begin the day that you think you are ovulating and then, if possible, continue for two or three days after that.

Again, we're applying science to something that has happened naturally for a lot of years and a lot of people, and part of the key to success is relaxing and letting it happen.

MEMBER QUESTION:
How do you let it naturally happen and not stress about it when you have been TTC for over a year? I find it very hard to not think about it.

MEMBER QUESTION:
It's very difficult to let go and think of it to happen naturally especially when you are doing everything and still not getting pregnant. How do you get de-stressed and stop thinking or planning it?


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