Aug 22 2009

Making A Baby

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Unfortunately these are the things that our mothers should have told us but they probably never knew it either. Sex education is also more aimed at scaring you from enjoying a healthy sexual life than actually informing you about your body. Hopefully we will teach our daughters these facts.

Your cycle consists of a number of phases: menstruation, follicular phase, ovulation, luteal phase (LP), and then it start with menstruation again. The only time you can get pregnant is when an egg and a sperm meet in the fallopian tubes. The egg gets released at ovulation and it only lives 12 to 24 hours. Luckily the sperm lives longer. Sperm can live as long as 5 days (some scientist claim 7 days but it is not likely) but more typically it is only good for 3 days inside your body. The secret is to have the sperm ready and waiting for the egg when you ovulate.

After you ovulated and the egg did not get fertilized, you are infertile from 24 hours after ovulation until just a few days before your next ovulation when the sperm can get in and wait for the egg again.

The time from ovulation to your next period (the luteal phase or LP or ‘two week wait’) is constant for you. It differs somewhat for different women (between 12 and 16 days with an average of 14 days). It is the time it takes YOUR body to prepare the uterus lining for implantation and move the egg slowly down the fallopian tube to the uterus and a for the egg to implant if it was actually inseminated. This will be the same for you every month, even if the other phases of your cycle are a different length every month.

In order for the sperm to survive the 3 to 5 days inside your body, it needs the correct pH and fertile cervical mucus. Cervical mucus is mucus that fills the canal in the cervix between the top of the vagina and the uterus (you will normally see it as vaginal secretions in your panties, on your pantyliner or on toilet paper during the month). The sperm will mostly hide here where it gets fed and protected by the mucus. Other times of the month, the mucus is harmful to the sperm (and any other germs) and will prevent it from entering the cervix.

(When you use birth control pills, these are two of the things that get manipulated – ovulation is prevented and the mucus is made permanently sperm unfriendly.)

The secret to getting pregnant is thus to know when you ovulate and plan sex accordingly. You can rely on pure luck and have regular random sex, or to try to determine when you ovulate and make sure you have unprotected sex around that time to increase your chances dramatically. The luck method will often not work well, especially if there are some minor fertility issues with either the man or woman.

Ovulation happens under control of your hormones. There are a number of ways to predict/track ovulation by looking for the clues generated by your body because of the hormonal changes in your body. The primary clue is the change in your body temperature (basal body temperature or BBT). A day before your ovulation your body temperature will rise and stay consistently higher than before ovulation until your next menstruation. The tutorial I am linking to below will tell you all about it and how to track and chart it.

The second sign is the consistency and feeling of your cervical mucus. Fertile cervical mucus is like raw egg white and is very stretch between your fingers.

The third sign is not considered a primary sign but can corroborate the other signs. Your cervix will lift up to the top of your vagina and it will become soft. The opening will also open up a bit.

Other signs are that we get horny when ovulation nears (it is Mother Nature’s way to help us even if our mothers did not tell us the facts), and you can often feel a faint pain in your ovary when you ovulate. You can also use an ovulation monitor to track ovulation and you can read all about it in the tutorial.

Of course having sex at the right time does not guarantee pregnancy, but IT IS THE ONLY WAY to get pregnant. Other things also play a role. The egg starts to prepare for release 3 months before ovulation. A healthy lifestyle is needed in those 3 months to ensure a healthy egg for that cycle. Lifting your hips after sex to have the semen pool up at the cervical entrance for 10 to 15 minutes will help. Having an orgasm after your partner ejaculated in you is also helpful. It changes the pH level of the vagina to be more sperm friendly and the contractions you are having makes the cervix dip into the semen pool and suck up semen. (I also makes sex a whole lot more fun for us J, and we deserve it!)

Some (or should I say most) personal lubricants including saliva are somewhat harmful to sperm. This is especially important if your partner’s sperm is not very healthy. There are sperm friendly lubricants available that will feed and stimulate the sperm just like your fertile cervical mucus. The best known is “PreSeed”.

Men also need to refresh their sperm. After they ejaculated they need to “reload”. This is normally accomplished in 24 hours if the man behaves himself. If the guy masturbates during that time or he warms his testicles (tight underwear, tight pants, hot tub, sauna or other heat on his genitals, alcohol) this process is impeded. If he has a low sperm count, 24 hours may also not be enough. Many doctors will recommend sex at least every 48 hours during your fertile time for this reason. Outside your fertile phase of about 5 days, you can have sex for fun as often as you wand or as little as you want. It makes no difference.

You can learn more at the following places (as well as get support and help from other ladies):

http://www.fertilityfriend.com

http://www.fertilityfriend.com/HelpCenter/ffhandbook.html (Fertility Friend’s handbook)

http://www.fertilityfriend.com/courses/ (Free 20 day tutorial on tracking your fertility)

http://ovusoft.com/

http://forums.ovusoft.com (Excellent forums for like minded support)

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