Sperm + egg = baby, right? I used to think it was that simple.. but many of us realize in adulthood that it can be more challenging than expected.
While your high school "Sex Ed" class tried to scare you into thinking you could get pregnant just by looking at each other, the reality is you can only get pregnant during your fertile window, 5 days before and the day of ovulation (with the highest likelihood of conception in the 2 days prior and day of ovulation). This is because sperm live around 5 days and an egg can only be fertilized around 24 hours after ovulation. So if you’re trying to make a baby, I recommend having intercourse every day to every other day during the 5 days leading up to ovulation (or until you have a basal body temp shift). Why every other day? This can help “save up” sperm to have more healthy swimmers each time you try.
How do you know when you’re ovulating? Start by tracking your cycles using the Fertility Awareness Method. This will help you figure out your body's pattern and identify signs of ovulation. Read my article Tracking Your Menstrual Cycle to Uncover Your Fertility to learn more.
Cervical mucus is my favorite indicator of fertility. Not only does it hint that you'll ovulate soon, it’s also essential for conception. Fertile “egg white” cervical mucus allows the sperm to move smoothly through the cervix. If you’re not getting a lot of fertile cervical mucus, try increasing your water intake. You can also take supplements like fish oil, evening primrose oil, shatavari, and NAC but work with you doctor before starting any supplement. Not having a lot of fertile CM may be a sign of low estrogen so it’s good to talk to your functional med doc about how to get to the root cause to support your fertility. (For 10% off pharmaceutical-grade supplements mentioned above, you can visit my Fullscript dispensary.)
OPKs (ovulation predictor kits) can be helpful to confirm ovulation. These test for high LH (luteinizing hormone), which usually spikes around cycle day 14 and triggers ovulation. For women with anovulation, LH may rise but not trigger ovulation so OPKs can be deceiving. I recommend just using these as confirmation but relying more on your body's signs to determine ovulation.
To Lube or Not to Lube
I recommend using a paraben-free fertility-friendly lube like Fairhaven Baby Dance or Yes Baby lubricant, which are made to match fertile cervical mucus. Other lubes or spit can harm sperm!
Which Position is Best?
Any position that allows deep penetration (like missionary or doggy style) is optimal so the sperm is deposited near the cervix.
Do you have to hang upside down after? No. Standing up or laying flat after sex shouldn’t make a difference, but it can’t hurt to lay down and relax for a few minutes after. Putting a pillow under your butt may help the sperm swim in the right direction (and help you feel like you’re being proactive).
Male ejaculation is obviously necessary, but the female orgasm is also helpful for conceiving as it stimulates muscle contractions that “suck” sperm into the uterus. It also lowers your stress levels which can help boost fertility!
If it still isn't working..
If you're doing all of this for several months and still not getting pregnant, work with a Functional Medicine doctor specializing in fertility (like me) to identify your personal fertility roadblocks. You can schedule a free discovery call with me to start to identify what those may be for you.
You can also join the waitlist for my Foundational Fertility course which will be coming out soon!
[Remember, this is for educational purposes only and does not serve as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor before starting any supplements as they may not be right for you.]