You know how it goes, you start off as a young girl, frolicking with baby animals as you skip through the fields with a balloon (there's always a balloon) first dates at the movies, wondering if he'll ask you to prom, sipping cocktails with your gal pals after work and BOOM you're thirty and all of your uterus just falls out of your body, no thank you no kids for you ma'am.
Surprisingly enough that's not the way it goes. For years it was assumed that a woman's biological clock is ticking away, counting down to zero once you hit the big 3-0, but the situation is a lot more nuanced than that. Here are 8 facts to help get a better understanding about fertility.
Listen to Your Sex Drive
Your libido is very important, in fact, it can be the key in knowing when to start knocking boots if you're trying to conceive. Just like men, our libido is powered by testosterone, and with heightened testosterone levels occurring just before ovulation, having your sex drive rev up and get into gear is exactly what you need if you're hoping to conceive.
A few days after ovulation those testosterone levels will plummet, which explains why one week all you want to do is rip all of his clothes off and the following week you're more interested in catching up with that new documentary on Netflix. Although, did you know that even at it's highest, most women's levels are 90% less than the average males?
Timing is Everything
You hear it here, there and everywhere, ovulation is paramount when trying to conceive. This is due to the fact that the window of fertility is a remarkably small one. You see, once you start ovulating, the egg will only last between twelve and twenty-four hours before dying, if it has not managed to be fertilized. Luckily enough, sperm can actually survive up to four and sometimes even five days after shooting out at a love rocket. What this means is that ideally, you would want to be having sexual intercourse in the days leading up to ovulation, so that the sperm is already in the area when the egg is released.
Conception Ain't Quick
We've all heard the story of Mary-Sue who got pregnant the first time she had sex, and well hooray and bully for her. For most women it can take much longer to conceive naturally, the time itself varies depending on how vigilant you are as a couple. Conception is like a baked potato, you can shove it in the oven and wait a couple of hours, or you can pop it in the microwave for eight minutes. Same results, just one way is quicker than the other.
A couple that is just trying for a baby, with normal fertility levels, that is having intercourse without really targeting the fertile period will take up to twelve menstrual cycles to conceive. Where as a couple of regular fertility who is monitoring the times of fertility is likely to conceive with 6 menstrual cycles. This is due to the fact that you only have a 15% chance of conceiving each month.
Patience After The Pill
26% of women in the United States that use contraception, take the pill. The pill works by suppressing hormones, effectively convincing the body that it's pregnant, so that ovulation does not occur. Because your hormones have been subdued, it can take a while for them to get back into whack again. If you are looking to conceive and you have been taking oral contraceptives, or you're about to quit taking them, then bear in mind that it can take anywhere between three to six months for your menstrual cycle to regulate. That's even after all of the medication has left your system.
Weight is a Factor
Your body mass index (BMI) is a huge contributing factor when you're trying to conceive. This applies to both sides of the scales, the ideal BMI is between 20-24 and anything over or under could hamper any attempts at conceiving. Obesity can seriously affect ovulation, causing abnormal and longer menstrual cycles. Even a low BMI from your teens can cause greater issues later on, and can even stop your cycle altogether. A healthy, balanced lifestyle including exercise and healthy fats is what you need.
Male Infertility is a Chunk of the Problem
Women have an extremely complicated reproductive system and therefore it is often assumed that all fertility issues are because of women, however with regards to couple infertility 30% of the time, it's actually men that have fertility issues. As we said before, a healthy, balanced lifestyle is important, for both sexes. That means getting plenty of exercise, no smoking, and avoiding processed foods.
Men Need To Quit Cycling
Male infertility is affected by extreme heat, which means that men need to avoid saunas, hot tubs, and tight clothing. The worst offender is, you guessed it, bicycle shorts. They're tight, constricting and squash the poor guy's meat and two veg, which over time, will reduce his sperm count and fertility.
Sexual Positions Don't Have an Effect on Conception
This is one of the more popular myths, varying from "you can't get pregnant on top" to "lying with your legs up in the air afterwards will help the sperm get there quicker." However let us assure you that no position, either during or after intercourse will boost or reduce the chances of conception.
Granted, aiming for the deepest penetration and greater cervical contact just makes good sense, but what works for one person may not work for another, as every woman is different, as is every man come to think of it. Go, have fun, try different positions and see what works best for both of you.