Fertility and Pregnancy FAQs
Q: What is considered to be a normal menstrual cycle?
- Normal menstrual cycles usually happen 26-30 days from the first day of one period to the first day of the next. Normal periods usually last between 3 and seven days. Bleeding between periods is never normal.
Q: When am I the most fertile?
- Most women ovulate (release an egg) between the 11th and 21st day of their cycle when the first day is counted as the first day of menstrual bleeding. Most women ovulate around Day 14. Women with longer cycles may ovulate closer to Day 21. Women with shorter cycles often ovulate in the Day 12 to 15 window but have a shorter post-ovulation phase.
Q: How can I find out when I ovulate? Try these tips:
- Look for cervical mucus-which is produced in greater amounts at the time of ovulation. Other signs of ovulation can include left or right sided cramping, breast tenderness
- Check daily basal body temperatures to detect the dip and rise of body temperature that marks ovulation and the body's production of progesterone hormone
- Use an Ovulation Predictor urine test to check for the hormones produced at the time of ovulation. These tests are 99% accurate.
Q: How often should we make love during my fertile times?
- Timing is everything, eggs live for 12-24 hours while sperm last 3-5 days
- Studies show that intercourse every other day allows the sperm count to recharge to allow a higher chance of conception. For a woman with a 28 days cycle, we recommend intercourse Day 12, 14 and 16.
Q: What should I avoid when I'm trying to get pregnant?
- Alcohol and cigarettes have been shown to hamper conception and early pregnancy.
- Seafood may negatively affect fertility due to possible mercury contamination
- Pesticides like DlhS and its chemical cousins may interfere with hormone receptors and block conception. Solvents, like dry cleaning solvents may also cause problems
- While moderate coffee intake is ok, drinking mmore than 5 cups of coffee daily can impair fertility
- Avoid sleep deprivation, it decreases leptin levels.
- Avoid commercial lubricants, they may kill sperm. Canola oil is a good alternative.
- Excessive stress may hamper fertility
Q: What things should I do to increase our chances of getting pregnant?
- Prenatal vitamins are better than multivitamins because they contain less Vitamin A, that can, in large amounts, cause birth defects.
- Vitex alone or in Fertility Blend increased conception rates in medical studies. It's key ingredients: folic acid, vitamins E, B-6, and B-12, iron, magnesium, zinc, the amino acid L-arginine, selenium, the herb chasteberry (also know known as Vitex), and green tea.
- A moderate intake of high fat dairy products (ice cream lover rejoice!)
- Lose weight-loosing as little as 5% of BMI or 20 lbs can dramatically increase fertility
Q: What should my husband do to increase our chances of getting pregnant?
- Stop smoking
- Reduce alcohol intake
- Supplement with Vitamin C and E and Increase daily zinc to 66 mg and folic acid to 5 mg
- Supplement with L-carnitine and L-acetyl carnitine and selenium
- Lose weight
- Avoid setting a hot laptop on the family jewels; avoid hot tubs, hot baths and saunas
- Reduce fish intake due to possible mercury contamination
Q: How long does it usually take to get pregnant?
- 90% of couples conceive within 1 year
- Talk to us if you're under 35 and haven't conceived in 12 months or if you're over 35 and haven't conceived in 6 months
Q: If I don't get pregnant how can I tell if it's because of me or my husband?
- We can order a semen analysis ("sperm test") to check your husband's fertility. Men who smoke, drink heavily or are exposed to toxic chemicals may have a more difficulty time fathering babies.
- For women, the task of proving fertility is harder. We advise tracking ovulation with a urine test kit to be sure that you're releasing an egg monthly.
- And of course you can always talk to us, your doctors
Q: How early can I tell if I'm pregnant?
- Many accurate pregnancy tests are available without a RX.
- They are extremely sensitive to pregnancy hormones and can detect pregnancy up to a week before you miss a period. Caution however, your can get a false negative if you test too early, so repeat the test a few days or a week later.
- Other early signs include fatigue, frequent urination, nausea, and/or breast tenderness
Q: How soon should I see the doctor if I think I'm pregnant?
- As early as 2 weeks after you miss a period or anytime that you feel discomfort, have bleeding, spotting, or pain.
Q: Eeek I'm turning thirty-five--how old is too old to get pregnant?
- Generally speaking, fertility starts to decline as early as age 30. Conception is more difficult after age 40 and decreases rapidly thereafter. But the decision to have a baby is about more than just about fertility.
- Ask us about testing to measure how many eggs you have (fertility reserve)
- Some women opt to have ovarian tissue collected and frozen at a younger age in order to have eggs available for an in vitro pregnancy at an older age.
Asela C. Russell, MD
Leslie T. Scariano, MD
Jackie Ziernicki, MD
Grace M. Holub, MD
Heather Fitzler, MD
Center for Women:
Parker Adventist Hospital
Skyridge Medical Center
Castle Rock Adventist Hospital
American Heart Association