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Why baby-making is still a mystery

Did you know that as recently as the year 1875, scientists still did not know where babies came from? Yes, they knew that men and women had sex, but they were still working on the details of how everything worked.

For women, it has been a guessing game, never knowing exactly when their period was coming or when the all-important fertility window may appear. Sometimes women’s intuition kicked in and it worked. Other times, we were left trying and waiting until the next cycle.

Researchers at Yale University surveyed 1000 women between the ages of 18 and 40 and found that many women are unclear on the finer points of baby-making.

A surprising study, also out of the Yale School of Medicine, found that about 50% of reproductive-age women had never discussed their baby-making health with their doctor.

What did the survey say?

  • Two-thirds of women believed that having sex in the two days after ovulation would increase their chances of conceiving. This is false – the best time is to have sex the day before and the day after ovulation.
  • Half the women surveyed thought having sex several times a day would boost their chances. This is false – it decreases the sperm count.
  • Forty percent of women believed that certain sexual positions and raising your hips after sex can help you conceive. There is no scientific proof that this works.

How to get rid of the mystery?

To improve your odds of getting pregnant quickly, make sure you’re having sex at the right time in your cycle. If you have regular cycles, you’ll ovulate around two weeks before your period according to Healthline. The fertility window will be the seven days before your expected ovulation.

Healthline also notes that a healthy, 30-year-old woman has only a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month. It’s normal for it to take a few months longer. For women with irregular cycles, it can be a little more difficult to predict when you’ll ovulate and when your fertility window will be.

Can you pinpoint your window?

The good news is that science and technology have upped the game to help pinpoint the fertility clock. There are a number of ways you can help pinpoint ovulation, if you are trying to conceive (TTC), including:

  • Visit your Ob-Gyn: If you are having fertility issues, talk with your doctor who may recommend diagnostic testing (blood work, pelvic ultrasound)
  • Ovulation Predictor Kit (like a pregnancy test kit)
  • Basal Body Temp Thermometer**
  • Fertility tracking app*
  • Online ovulation calculator
  • Create a menstrual diary (paper journal or mobile app)
  • Monitor your cervical mucus

*There are a number of different types of apps or thermometers available. **Some women may also ovulate without their basal temp changing at all.

What to focus on?

  • Striving for a healthy body weight
  • Eating healthy foods
  • Take those prenatal vitamins
  • Cut back on strenuous workouts
  • Be aware of age-related fertility declines
  • Kick the smoking and drinking habits

Now is the perfect time to take the mystery out of it by creating your window of opportunity through education, health and wellness and of course, baby-making!

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The information on this site is intended to raise awareness, and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis, or a substitute for health care by your physician.

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