This post is sponsored by First Response. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Over the past year, I've gotten SO many emails and DMs about how I was doing and got over my fears about being pregnant and having kids. A lot of you messaged me with similar fears, and like me, still really wanted kids and are worried about “waiting to long.” I totally get that! Especially with fertility struggles seeming to increase with every social media swipe. Today, I've partnered with First Response to get some insights from Yale University’s Clinical Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D on ways to maximize fertility and hopefully increase your odds of getting pregnant. I know a lot of you are control freaks and type-a like me, so I hope this helps give you some peace of mind and comfort throughout your own journey.
Let's get the facts straight about conception:
I had a friend get pregnant from missing one birth control pill. That's unusual; but also was the only real reference I had for how quickly people can get pregnant. So when I went off birth control and three-month later still wasn't pregnant, I started to get frustrated and a little worried. Turns out, that the odds just weren't in my favor. Statistically, if you are having regular intercourse (defined as every other day around ovulation in the study), in any given month, you're chances of getting pregnant are 15-20%. That's pretty low if you think about it. It goes up to 50% in a six month period, and 80% after a year. So if you aren't pregnant right away, don't stress. That's the last thing your body probably needs. Try to stay calm and let nature take it's course that first year.
How To Increase Your Odds Of Getting Pregnant
Make an appointment with your health care provider
Do this before you're trying to conceive. This way you can talk with them about any medications your currently taking and get their tips for setting yourself up for success (mine recommended I start taking a prenatal before we started “trying”).
Figure out when you're most fertile
You can do this easily with the First Response™ Ovulation Test Kit, which helps predict your two most fertile days. It's over 99% accurate in detecting the hormone surge in your urine which indicates when you're most fertile. Then you can plan your sexy time accordingly or get a jump-start on talking with your health care provider to figure out why you're not experiencing the hormone surge.
Develop healthy habits
Conception and childbirth are like training for a marathon. You don't show up to run 26+ miles without getting in good shape mentally and physically. The same applies along your conception journey in my opinion. Even before you get pregnant, it's good to get into a healthy routine. Work out regularly so it's easier to keep up with while pregnant (this paid off hugely when I was giving birth, which you can read about here). When trying to conceive you'll also want to get close to your ideal healthy weight. Being over or under weight can contribute to infertility according to Dr. Minkin. Start taking a prenatal rich with folate even before you get pregnant too. These are all ways to start preparing your body for the miraculous journey it's about to embark on.
Choose the right lube
Personally, I dreaded when we were actively “trying.” It felt so unnatural, and apparently my body agreed because things were *ahem* drier down there. Turns out, that's totally normal! According to Dr. Minkin, when you're planning on having sex around a certain time, and the added stress, it can take away from the spontaneity and natural lubrication that comes with it. It's actually quite common for women to feel drier when actively trying to conceive. But a lot of the lubes on the shelf today actually impair and damage sperm. Dr. Minkin recommends Pre-Seed Fertility Friendly Lubricant. It's clinically proven to be fertility-friendly and is specifically formulated to mimic the pH, osmolality, and viscosity of fertile fluids.
I know this is easier said than done, but it's good practice for once baby arrives! I know how stressed I felt when we were tracking my cycle, having scheduled sex around my ovulation, and my period would show up. If you aren't enjoying it, I'd recommend stopping and letting go of some control for a period of time. A lot of you know from this post that Shaman Durek had told me there was a block in my uterus preventing me from getting pregnant in January 2018.
He also worked on my friend who had undergone a couple of rounds of IVF and was struggling to get pregnant, within a month of her session with him she was pregnant. I do believe that there are loads of things happening on a physical level when trying to get pregnant, but I also believe there is an emotional and spiritual component we don't talk about a lot.
For instance, our daughter was late. I was starting to go a little stir crazy as we approached 42 weeks, so the hubs texted Shaman Durek and asked what was going on spiritually. He asked if I was holding onto any anxiety or stress and suggested I lay down, place my hands on my stomach, and send emotional signals to our daughter that I was ready. So that's what I did. I cried and cried during it, even though I had no idea I was holding onto anything (read about more about that here). And guess what? That night I started to go into labor.
Release, release, release
If you can look at your fears, release them, reduce stress, and really channel that you're emotionally, mentally, and spiritually ready miracles can happen. I know that's SO much easier said than done too. I mean I didn't even realize I was holding onto any stress or anxiety about feeling ready for Reagan to join us Earth-side so when I was told to do this, I thought it was silly and wouldn't work. But low and behold, when you create space to just sit with yourself and release shifts can happen.
So even if you don't think you're holding onto any stress while trying to conceive, try to dig deeper. You may have some anxieties you haven't even revealed to yourself yet. When you are finally ready to take a pregnancy test, check out the First Response™ Triple check Pregnancy Test Kit which has three unique tests in it: First Response™ Early Result Pregnancy Test, First Response Digital Pregnancy Test, and First Response™ Rapid Result Pregnancy Test. Each test has a different way for you to learn the results, so there's no need to run to the store and pick up a bunch of varieties for added reassurance of your result.
Remember that every conception journey is different. Try to focus on things that fill you up rather than deplete you during this time. It's an important skill to harness and develop, because you'll definitely need it when you do become a mother! Show yourself some self-care, self-love, and patience (again, all skills you'll be grateful you cultivated even more once you do hold your baby!).