Conceiving a baby for the first time

If you have a 28-day menstrual cycle, you're likely to ovulate around the middle of your cycle. One of the simplest ways of working out your fertile days is to check your cervical mucus every day (Germano and Jennings 2006, IRH 2009). The more irregular your periods are, the more difficult it can be to work out when you're fertile. Check out our 9 steps to getting pregnant fast, discover what happens at conception, or chat to others who are also trying for a baby in the Actively trying group in our friendly community. Join now to receive free weekly newsletters tracking your baby’s development and yours throughout your pregnancy. This information explains how you can prepare for pregnancy, how conception (getting pregnant) occurs and how you can improve your chances of getting pregnant.
If you are the partner of a woman who is trying for a baby you will also find useful information in this booklet. Deciding to have a baby can feel like a frightening decision, but it can also be an enjoyable and exciting time. Your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy and baby are better if you and your partner are as fit and healthy as possible. Before you try for a baby there are some things to consider that can help improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy. If you or your partner have disabilities which may make it harder for you to get pregnant, you may need specialist help.
If you take medicines for any reason tell your doctor that you are planning to get pregnant as some drugs may affect the developing baby.
If you buy any medicines from the pharmacy, always check with the pharmacist to see if these are safe to take while trying for a baby or when pregnant. You may be offered a cervical screening test if you have not had one in the last five years. It is very important to have a rubella (German measles) test before you try to get pregnant as infection when you are pregnant can harm your baby, particularly in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
If you have had a rubella vaccination, or the infection itself, you will probably be immune (protected against the infection) for life, but it is important to check before you become pregnant. Once you decide to plan a pregnancy, you will need to think about stopping the contraception you have been using. Don’t worry if you get pregnant very soon after stopping hormonal contraception, this will not harm the baby. See below section, Preparing for pregnancy - Foods to avoid for advice on peanuts, cheese and fish. Medical advice for all women planning a pregnancy is to take a daily supplement of folic acid.
Folic acid is a member of the vitamin B family and is needed for a baby’s development in the early weeks of pregnancy. The following health information is good advice for women trying to get pregnant and for women who know they are pregnant.
Severe food poisoning during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or damage to the developing baby. Other foods contain substances that can harm an unborn baby, and you should avoid eating them. You should not have an x-ray while you are pregnant unless it is essential for your health. You should avoid exercise or sports where there is a risk of being hit in the abdomen, such as martial arts.
If a woman drinks heavily and frequently in pregnancy, or regularly binge drinks (has five or more units of alcohol on any one occasion), this can harm her baby’s development and health.
To become pregnant (conceive) an egg must be fertilised by a sperm and become implanted in the uterus. The earliest and most reliable sign of pregnancy for women with a regular menstrual cycle is a missed period.
Pregnancy tests look for the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG), which is found in the urine of pregnant women.
There are many myths about getting pregnant – here are the answers to some of the most common questions people ask.
If you regularly have sex 2–3 times a week, there will always be sperm waiting to meet the egg at ovulation. There is no evidence that one sexual position is better than any other for getting pregnant. The menstrual cycle is the process during which an egg develops and is released from an ovary, and the lining of the uterus thickens in preparation for a possible pregnancy. The number of days in the menstrual cycle is calculated from the first day of a period to the day before the start of the next period. The average length of the menstrual cycle is around 28 days, although many women have longer or shorter cycles and this is normal. The hormone estrogen causes the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to start to thicken in preparation for a fertilised egg.
Regardless of how long or short a woman’s cycle is, ovulation (egg release from an ovary) will usually happen around 10–16 days before the start of her next period. Occasionally, more than one egg is released (if this happens it will occur within 24 hours of the first egg being released).
Some women, however, notice only a small amount of milky wetness which lasts for a few days and then dries up after ovulation.
Some women keep track of their basal body temperature (your temperature when you wake after at least three hours sleep). Getting to know your body and your menstrual cycle, and monitoring your cervical mucus, is a more effective way to find your fertile time. Even if you keep track of your body’s changes and have sex 2–3 times a week, it may still take a while to get pregnant. Even if there are sperm waiting for the egg when you ovulate, you may not become pregnant in the first few months of trying.

Your chances of becoming pregnant decrease as you get older as the quantity and quality of eggs deteriorate with age.
If you are worried that it is taking an unusually long time for you to conceive, there may be a problem your doctor could help you or your partner with.
If you are over 35 or if you have any known medical or fertility problems you may be referred for help after six months. Do go to your doctor for further help after trying for a year, or six months if you are 35 or over.
Some women do get pregnant but the pregnancy fails – this is called a miscarriage and is common.
Supplies leaflets on healthy eating, exercise and relaxation, giving up smoking and pre-pregnancy care, and the Department of Health The pregnancy book – a complete guide to pregnancy, childbirth and the first few weeks with a new baby. Free to first-time mothers from your general practice, maternity units and local health promotion units (see your local phone book). Unprotected Nation 2015 shows the effect of cutting spending on sexual and reproductive health services.
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If you are a first-time mother, wanting to get pregnant with a girl, then you should pay attention.
These six days are the five days leading up to, and the day of, ovulation (NCCWCH 2013:68, Lynch et al 2006), when your body releases an egg. If your menstrual cycle is different from one month to the next, your fertile window may also vary by about a week between each period. These conditions could affect your chances of conceiving, so it is better to get help sooner rather than later (NCCWCH 2013:68). So practise looking for changes in fertile mucus by checking daily (Germano and Jennings 2006, IRH 2009). Most of these kits test for the peak of luteinising hormone, or LH, which is the actual trigger for egg release.
Many pregnancies are unplanned – if you have just found out you are pregnant unexpectedly, the information on this page will still be useful to you. Try not to feel overwhelmed by the amount of information there is for women who are trying to get pregnant. Much of the information in this leaflet is simple advice about getting to know your body, eating well, keeping fit, and talking to your doctor, nurse or midwife when you need to. What you eat, how much you exercise, and whether you smoke or drink alcohol are all important factors to look at once you have decided to try for a baby. If you are being seen by a consultant for your disability you may require specialist advice. Don’t stop any medication you are taking for a medical condition until you talk with your doctor, as this may affect your health. Some sexually transmitted infections can affect your chances of getting pregnant, and if not treated they can be passed on to your baby during pregnancy or birth. Many women worry that some methods of contraception, such as the pill, injection or IUD, will make it difficult to get pregnant when they stop using them. Sometimes ovulation (releasing an egg) can be delayed or be irregular for a short time after stopping hormonal contraception.
Eating a variety of foods, with as much fresh food as possible, helps to ensure that you get all the vitamins and minerals you need.
You should take 0.4mg (400 micrograms) of folic acid from the time you stop contraception, or as soon as you find out you are pregnant, until week 12 of pregnancy. Infection with toxoplasmosis during pregnancy can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, or damage to the baby’s eyes, ears or brain. Whatever exercise you do, talk to your doctor or exercise instructor if you become pregnant, as you may need to adapt the exercise you do. You should take extra care during activities where there is a risk of falling or losing your balance, such as cycling and horse riding. These describe a range of symptoms that can be caused by drinking alcohol in pregnancy, including damage to the facial features, brain, heart and kidneys, and learning difficulties and behavioural problems in later life. You may have had a one-off binge and then later discover that you conceived at or around this time. If you are concerned, speak to your manager or health and safety officer to find out more about any risks there might be. Conception is a process that begins with fertilisation and ends with successful implantation of a fertilised egg in the uterus.
Many of these will swim up through your cervix (the entrance to your uterus) into the uterus and the fallopian tubes.
Some people believe that you need to have sex exactly at the time of ovulation in order to get pregnant, but this is not true. As long as your partner ejaculates in your vagina, the sperm will be able to swim to the fallopian tubes. It takes about 70 days for a sperm to be produced, but as production is a continuous process there are always plenty of fully mature sperm at any one time.
It also causes the cervical mucus (noticed as vaginal secretions) to become clearer, wetter and more stretchy, allowing sperm to reach an egg more easily. This prepares the lining of the uterus even further, ensuring that it is spongy, thick and full of nutrients so that a fertilised egg can implant into it. If the egg is not fertilised it will be reabsorbed naturally by the body, the level of hormones falls, and this menstrual cycle comes to an end. The lining of the uterus breaks down and leaves the body through the vagina as a period, also called menstruation. Keeping track of your cervical mucus can give you a clear picture of your body’s pattern and should make it easier for you to learn to identify the fertile times of your cycle.
Using a kit involves testing your urine on specific days in your cycle to detect the luteinising hormone which surges 24–36 hours before ovulation. If you have recently stopped taking hormonal contraception, ovulation may be delayed or irregular for a short time.

Sometimes fertilisation does take place but the egg does not implant securely and is lost in the next period.
Sperm production can be damaged by mumps, untreated sexually transmitted infections, injury to the testicles, excessive heat (such as hot baths), tight fitting underwear, alcohol, smoking or recreational drugs, or there may be unknown causes. Because some couples do take longer than others to conceive, many doctors prefer you to have been having sex without contraception for at least a year, 2–3 times a week, before referring you for fertility tests.
Produces resources for deaf and visually impaired people on pregnancy, childbirth and parenthood. Offers free vouchers which can be exchanged for vitamins, milk, fresh fruit and vegetables. The information is based on evidence-guided research from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. We give straightforward information and support on sexual health, sex and relationships to everyone in the UK.
So if you don't want your sex life to be ruled by the calendar, your best bet is simply to enjoy sex every two or three days. Also, sex every two to three days improves the quality of sperm compared to daily sex (NCCWCH 2013:68).
Mucus observations in the fertile window: a better predictor of conception than timing of intercourse.
New approaches to fertility awareness-based methods: incorporating the Standard Days and Two Day Methods into practice. Estimation of the day-specific probabilities of conception: current state of the knowledge and the relevance for epidemiological research. Cervical mucus secretions on the day of intercourse: an accurate marker of highly fertile days.
You can also request that your maternity care is carried out at the same hospital where your consultant is based. You should also check that any herbal or alternative remedies or complementary therapies are safe to use during pregnancy, or while trying to get pregnant.
If you use the contraceptive injection, your periods and fertility may take longer to return to normal than after other methods of contraception. You can buy folic acid from the pharmacy or you may be given this on prescription from your doctor. To reduce the risk of infection, avoid changing cat litter (if you have to do it, wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards), wear gloves when gardening and wash all soil off fruit and vegetables.
Stopping smoking may be the most important thing you can do for your health and the health of your baby. If you do drink you should avoid getting drunk, and try to limit alcohol to the occasional drink and not more than one or two units once or twice a week. If you don’t have regular periods, the earliest time you can do a test is 21 days from the last time you had unprotected sex. But women can sometimes get a negative result if the test is carried out too early or not correctly, even though they may be pregnant.
Sperm can survive for up to seven days in the uterus and fallopian tubes, and can meet the egg when it is released. These events are caused by hormones – chemical messengers which travel around the body in the blood stream.
As your body prepares for ovulation, and around ovulation, it becomes wetter, clearer, slippery and stretchy like raw egg white. If you have been using a contraceptive injection, ovulation may be delayed or irregular for up to a year. If this happens to you, there is a high chance you will be able to have a successful pregnancy in the future.
The more active and fit you are the easier it will be for you to cope comfortably with pregnancy. It is thought that a single episode of binge drinking is unlikely to be harmful to a woman or her baby. The fertilised egg travels down the fallopian tube over a number of days and eventually reaches the uterus, where it attaches itself to the thick nutritious lining.
Wheat grass also negatively affects the acid levels in the body and that is not what you want (how to make a baby girl). Beverages like lemonade and cola should be consumed to keep the acid levels high.Conceive a girl by avoiding orgasmsThere are all sorts of various ways to help women conceive a female child and some are a bit strange.
There are numerous women, who think that it is important to avoid orgasms, to give birth to a girl. So if a woman is planning to give birth to a baby, then it is better to avoid having orgasms. If you combine this method with some other methods, then it will increase your chances.To get pregnant with a girl you need to try biorhythms methodMany couples these days, want to decide the gender of their baby and that is normal.
It is believed that at certain periods, the woman is hormonally susceptible to give birth to a baby girl (click here to find out the best foods to conceive a girl). And therefore there are periods, that make the woman more susceptible to get pregnant with a boy. Many claim that the biorhythm technique has proven to work, and help them conceive a baby girl.There are also certain supplements that can help you get a female child. By taking these specific supplements, you create the right conditions for getting pregnant with a girl. When wanting to conceive a daughter, the key is to make conditions really tough for the spermatozoa. Creating difficult conditions reduces the survival rate for spermatozoa, that produces boys (how to conceive a girl baby).

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