Ovulation: What is it, and what do you need to know?

Ovulation: What is it, and what do you need to know?

Trying to conceive is a complicated process. Whether and when you will succeed depends on a great many factors, but ovulation is one that is impossible to ignore. If youve never tried to get pregnant before, chances are that you have not given much thought to ovulating either. When you decide to take the plunge and try for a baby, all of that changes.

Go on — eat more healthily and exercise regularly. Take that 400 mg of folic acid a day to build up your stores and help prevent neural tube defects like spina bifida. Give up alcohol, smoking, and fast food along with your partner, to increase your fertility. Have sex regularly, obviously.

All those things are great. All those things will help you get pregnant and prepare for a healthy pregnancy. But if you want to get pregnant quickly, ovulation is something you just cant skip over and ignore. Yeah, we know you know (at least roughly) what ovulation is and that it takes place sometime between two menstrual periods. But here is a refresher course.

Ovulation — whats that again?

Modern medicine is advancing at a scarily rapid pace. Despite that, women are currently still born with all the eggs they will ever have. In fact, they form in a female fetus quite early on during pregnancy. A woman will have around 500 periods in her lifetime.

Young girls who just started menstruating might not ovulate during every cycle, and the same goes for ladies close to the menopause. Your average woman will also take breaks from periods and ovulation during the course of her reproductive life, when she is pregnant and during the postpartum period. Breastfeeding can keep cycles away for a very long time. I didnt have a period for two years after my son was born, due to breastfeeding the entire time.

So, a complex hormonal process triggers the ripening of egg follicles and the maturation of some. Eggs come from the ovaries, which a woman has two of — on the left and right side of her uterus. During ovulation, a mature egg is released from one of those ovaries. That egg will live between 12 and 24 hours before being reabsorbed by the body if the egg isnt fertilized.

If sperm cells (which can live for around five days within the female body) already happen to be waiting in the fallopian tubes, near the ovaries, when an egg is released, a chemical reaction will warn them that an egg is now available, and they will start the race to get to that egg first. If the egg is already there, the resting stage will be skipped and the fight is on right away.

Its quite simple. You can have sex an awful lot of the time, but if you dont do the deed within the five days before ovulation or right after it, you are just not going to get pregnant. You can just have sex whenever you feel like it and assume (or hope) that you will catch the fertile window at some point, and get pregnant. That will indeed happen for most couples who dont have a clue when the woman ovulates.

Finding out when you ovulate

You can also help nature along a bit and choose one of the many methods that detect ovulation, either very reliably or quite reliably.

Ovulation tests use your urine to pick up the hormone that demonstrates ovulation will happen very soon indeed, luteinizing hormone (LH for short). You can start peeing on a stick every early afternoon — which is when these tests are most reliable — at some point close to most womens fertile windows. A week after your period ended is a good time to start for most ladies.

A positive ovulation test tells you that you have the chance to get pregnant NOW very reliably. You could also go for some old fashioned math, of course. Most women ovulate around 14 days before the start of their next periods. That means that you could determine your average cycle length, calculate when your next period is most likely to start, and subtract 14 days. Bingo.

If youre bad with math or lazy, online ovulation calendars will do pretty much the same thing. If youre more of a visual girl, inspecting your cervical mucus is another option. This method involves inserting your thumb and index finger and pulling it out again. The structure and color of your cervical mucus will tell you where in your cycle you are.

Is your mucus red? Oops, your period didnt quite finish yet. Is there just not a lot of it? Then you are still very much within the follicular phase, the first phase of the cycle. Increasing in amount? Well, youre getting closer to ovulation. If you have lots of transparent, stretchy mucus, you can be quite sure you are either ovulating or are really close. And heavy, white, creamy mucus? Youve missed your chance this month. Ovulation has passed and you are in the luteal phase of your menstrual cycle.

Do you like complicating your life and getting up really early? Charting your fertility is a great option for you. OK, thats not fair — a great deal of people think this method is easy to implement. Charting your fertility using basal body temperature (BBT) is a method that relies on a slight temperature change to tell you if you are ovulating. Since basal body temperature actually means the lowest temperature you attain in a state of rest, you have to take it right after waking up, since sleeping is the ultimate state of rest.

The best time to have intercourse to achieve pregnancy

The best time to have intercourse to achieve pregnancy

When it comes to trying to conceive, knowing your facts pays off. True, you can achieve a pregnancy perfectly alright if you simply have sex almost every day. Knowing your menstrual cycle, being aware of your ovulation date, and planning your intercourse accordingly can definitely increase your chances of getting that much anticipated positive pregnancy test much sooner!

How long does that fertile period actually last?

Almost every woman knows how important ovulation is. But, do you know when in the month you can actually get pregnant? High school sex ed teachers may emphasize the idea that sex can always get your pregnant (possibly even when you use a condom), to stop teens from doing the deed. When that teen grows up and actually wants to get pregnant, shell quickly realize that the fertile window doesnt last all that long. Actually, many sources would have you believe that you can only get pregnant during ovulation.

In truth, a womans fertile window will last about six days, as you can see in the infographic. Why, when ovulation itself only lasts for 12 to 24 hours? Sperm can actually survive in the female reproductive system for up to six days. That means that, if you have intercourse during any of the days leading up to the release of that egg, you may get pregnant. The one to two days before the egg is released are still considered the days on which you have the highest chance of getting pregnant. What this means in practice is that couples who are hoping to have a baby soon are best off having sex every day or every other day in the days leading up to ovulation. Well discuss ways in which you can detect ovulation in a second, but you can safely assume that having intercourse during that part of the follicular phase of your cycle after your menstrual flow came to an end may lead you to the winning ticket — a pregnancy!

Choosing how to track your ovulation

Every couple that is trying for a baby knows that being aware when the woman ovulates can swing the odds in their favor. With so many choices out there, it can be hard to decide just how you are going to track that egg, though! Of the many methods, some have grown to be favorites among women. Here are some choices that you have.

Ovulation calendars, like the one we have right here on Trying To Conceive, mathematically calculate on which day you are most likely to ovulate. To use an ovulation calendar, you will need to know the average length of your menstrual cycles and the date on which your last period began. Our ovulation calendar will send users an email three days before ovulation, and again on the big day itself.

Ovulation predictor kits are perhaps the most reliable ovulation-detection method. Why? These kits detect a hormone that is only released as you are about to ovulate — luteinizing hormone. This makes them just as reliable as a pregnancy test. Ovulation tests can be pricey however, but you can obtain them from cheaply at dollar stores or on the internet.

Charting your fertility using a graph of your basal body temperature is also pretty reliable. Your temperature spikes right before ovulation, and stays a little higher throughout the luteal phase of your cycle. Charting your fertility is a little more labor-intensive than other methods because it requires you to take your temperature every morning, before you actually get up.

Cervical mucus may not be something you really want to think about. Dont stop reading here, though, because that cervical mucus can actually tell you when you ovulate. Thats right! Fertile cervical mucus is see-through and stretchy. After ovulation has passed and your luteal phase has commenced, your mucus will be thicker and therefore your uterus is inaccessible to sperm. It will also be white in color.

Some women also have other natural signs that point to ovulation. Do you ever experience ovulation pain, ovulation spotting, or tender breasts during ovulation? These signs can be so reliable for some ladies, that they never have to spend money on ovulation tests!

Whichever method you ultimately choose to track your ovulation, youll boost your odds of conceiving. Good luck! Feel free to ask questions by leaving a comment below. Did you like this infographic, by the way? This is only a small part of the whole thing.

The birth control pill — a guide for women

The birth control pill — a guide for women

“The Pill” has been around since the 1960s now. This contraceptive has changed the face of the 20th century and provided millions upon millions of women with the control they needed over their lives. Because of their long history, combined oral contraceptives are an extensively studied, very safe, and highly effective birth control method. Combined oral contraceptives are constantly evolving, with different pills appearing on the market regularly. Is the pill a good birth control choice for you?

Thanks to UC Irvine/Flickr Creative Commons.

 How the pill works

Combined oral contraceptives are called that because they contain two hormones: estrogen and progestin. Different forms of these hormones have been used throughout the various generations of the birth control pill, and with each modernization there have been fewer side effects. The estrogen content has not just been altered but also decreased, again reducing side effects.

The pill prevents pregnancy through a number of different mechanisms. First, it thickens the cervical mucus, making it almost impossible for sperm to enter into the uterus and beyond. Then, it alters the natural hormonal cycle that causes the various stages of the menstrual cycle, and prevents ovulation from occurring.

Progestin is the most active component of combined oral contraceptives. This is the hormone that thickens cervical mucus and inhibits the surge in luteinizing hormone that is so crucial for ovulation to occur. Estrogen suppresses Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which is another hormone crucial to a womans fertility.

With perfect use, the failure rate of the pill is less than one percent. This rises to about 11 percent in women with typical use. For more information, you may like to read: What is the risk of getting pregnant despite the pill?

Is the pill for you?
The pill may be a good contraceptive choice for you if:
  • You want an effective but quickly reversible method
  • Women who want a contraceptive that has been extensively tested and was proven to be safe
  • Women who are newly postpartum can use the pill, although women who are breastfeeding should discuss the possible risks
  • Did you know that the pill can be used as an emergency contraceptive as well?

The pill comes with plenty of non-contraceptive benefits — it does not merely prevent pregnancy. Some women use the pill for entirely non-contraceptive reasons, such as heavy menstrual cramps, irregular periods, acne, and endometriosis.

Women who stop using the pill will quickly return to fertility; the pill does not cause long-term fertility changes. The pill is often said to cause weight gain, but studies have suggested this is not really the case. Finally, the contraceptive pill will not put a fetus at risk if you do get pregnant despite pill use (something that is more likely to happen if you do not use it correctly).

You should not use the pill if you are a smoker and youre older than 35. If you have heart disease, coronary artery disease, or a higher risk of blood clots, you should not use the pill either. Some women who have diabetes or hypertension wont be suitable candidates for combined oral contraceptives either; discuss this with your healthcare provider. Migraines and neurological symptoms, liver or gallbladder problems, and certain tumors also rule out pill use. Finally, women who have undiagnosed uterine bleeding should steer clear of the pill too.

Different pill choices

Monophasic pills contain an equal amount of progestin and estrogen throughout their cycles. Multiphasic pills, on the other hand, vary in their estrogen vs progestin content through the cycle. Though multiphasic pills are said to increase cycle control, there is no evidence that this really works in practice.

Pills are formulated as 21/7 or 24/4. The first option consists of 21 active days and seven withdrawal days. These seven placebo pills will cause a “period”, or the shedding of the endometrium due to a break in the medication. The second option contains 24 active pills followed by a shorter withdrawal phase of four days.

The “periods” a woman gets when she uses birth control pills are not the result of the normal hormonal cycle, but are rather caused by the break in hormones during the non-active stage of pill use. Many women continue with the next pack of pills and discard the placebo pills to prevent bleeding at a time when it is not convenient to them. Now, there are also birth control pills that are designed that way. These continuous use pills have been found to be just as safe as other hormonal contraceptives in large studies. These pills are comparable in safety and side effects to the normal combined oral contraptive, depo provera, and the Mirena coil.

Combined oral contraceptives will come with different dosages of their respective hormones. Discuss what the best option is with your prescribing healthcare provider. Those women who do experience side effects on a certain pill can easily switch to another brand, as long as they are in regular communications with their healthcare providers.

Pill risks and side effects

Possible side effects of the pill can be separated by the active hormones that cause them. The side effects and risks of estrogen include nausea, arterial thrombosis, venous thrombosis, and elevated levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Progesterone-related side effects tend to be a little less scary: bloating, constipation and fatigue. A more serious side effect caused by progesterone is depression.

The symptoms associated with a blood clot are abdominal pain, chest pain, headaches, eye problems and severe leg pain. Though the absolute risk of blood clots is very low for most pill users (weve already mentioned that smokers over 35 just shouldnt be using the pill at all!), it is good to be aware of these symptoms.

Trying to conceive with an abnormal menstrual cycle

Trying to conceive with an abnormal menstrual cycle

Are you trying to conceive, but suffering from painful periods, bleeding between periods, irregular menstrual cycles — or perhaps get no periods at all? What do you need to know about the cause of your menstrual cycle abnormality and how this affects your quest to get pregnant?

There is no such thing as the typical menstrual cycle.

Many women believe that the typical menstrual cycle is 28 days long and regular. In fact, average cycles can last between 21 and 32 days and still be absolutely normal and healthy. Normal menstrual periods last between two and seven days.Common cycle abnormalities

The most obvious problem with menstruation is its total absence. This is called amenorrhea, and it can have many causes — if youre not pregnant or menopausal, you may be stressed or underweight, or experiencing unusual hormonal fluctuations. Women who are not menstruating wont be able to get pregnant. If this applies to you, a make an appointment with your doctor immediately.

Around one in five women experiences painful periods, including cramping. Possible causes are endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Teenagers are also more likely to have painful periods because of an excess the chemical prostaglandin. If you are older than 20, see a doctor about painful periods. Its possible that you simply have a low tolerance for pain, but if you have a medical problem you certainly want to find out about it before you get pregnant.

Bleeding in between periods is another menstrual cycle abnormality. It may just be caused by ovulation bleeding — which 20 percent of all women of childbearing age experience — but regular bleeding in between periods can also be caused by sexually transmitted infections, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, or other medical problems. This kind of bleeding should always been explored by a competent  medical professional.

What is the cause of your irregular cycles?

Irregular periods — in other words periods that dont come at regular, predictable intervals or intervals that are either shorter than 21 days or longer than 32 days — are perhaps the most common menstrual cycle problem. Irregular periods deserve their own section, because they have many possible causes and women often find themselves clueless as to what they can do about their irregular periods, especially if they would like to conceive a baby. Lets take a look at some of the causes of irregular menstrual periods:

Age is one reason your periods may be irregular. Women usually start menstruating between 10 and 16 years, and start the menopause between 45 and 55. Teens and women in their mid- to late forties normally have no reason to be worried about cycles that fluctuate in length. If you are premenopausal and hoping to get pregnant, your irregular periods are an indication that you should get in touch with a fertility clinic now.

Stress is another disruptive factor for the menstrual cycle. Both emotional stress and physical stress can have a huge impact on the cycle, but these changes are usually temporary. Have you recently lost a lot of weight? Are you a professional athlete or a fitness junkie? Are you buying a house or do you think you may be at risk of losing your job? All of these things can interfere with your cycle, and all of these things can prevent ovulation from taking place during any given cycle.

Medical problems like the ones we mentioned in the previous section can cause irregular cycles too. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, sexually transmitted infections, and endometriosis can be counted among the usual suspects. Thyroid disorders can also interfere with your cycles, and if you normally have regular periods but suddenly have an irregular cycle, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or just pregnancy can also be responsible. Not that were saying a normal pregnancy is a medical problem, of course!

Birth control is one of the most frequent reasons women who recently decided to try for a baby are experiencing irregular periods. Hormonal contraceptives can cause irregular periods, which are also often without ovulation, for a few months after you quit. This is normal, and not something most women need to fret about. One exception is the injectable birth control method Depo Provera, which is renowned for being an effective form of contraception for much longer than desired.

Finding out when you ovulate

Lets be clear — any woman who is worried about her menstrual cycle after displaying symptoms that could indicate a problem should absolutely seek medical care. The menstrual cycle is such a complex physical system that its really not possible to self-diagnose through the internet or books. Women who are trying to conceive with an abnormal menstrual cycle need to be especially diligent about seeing a doctor, because any medical problem they have may affect their baby as well.

Having said that, most women who have slightly irregular periods will be wondering if they are fertile, in other words if they are ovulating. An ovulation calendar be be a handy and popular tool among women who are trying to get pregnant, but if your cycle lasts 24 days one month and 32 the next, it will absolutely be useless to you. In this case, you could start using ovulation tests as soon as your period comes to an end.

Ovulation tests, which are also called ovulation predictor kits, work by detecting a hormone that only appears upon ovulation. When you get a positive ovulation tests, you dont just find out that you are currently ovulating; you also find out on which cycle day your current ovulation is taking place. This will give you further information about your chances of getting pregnant. The luteal phase is the phase between ovulation and the next period, and women who have a luteal phase shorter than 10 days are extremely unlikely to get pregnant. In these cases, any fertilized egg simply doesnt have the time to implant in the uterine lining successfully.

What seasoned moms think you should know about having a new baby

When I started writing for Trying To Conceive, I was juggling a baby and a toddler and hoping to have another one very soon. Passionate about everything from using cervical mucus to find out when youre really fertile (it works!!!) and natural childbirth to baby carriers and breastfeeding, I was tremendously excited to share the world in which I had landed — the new mom world — with women who were just about to walk that path.

My miscarriages and fertility were just behind me. I felt so incredibly blessed to be the mother of not one, but two sweet kiddos. It was a blessing I didnt take for granted. Though I was committed to spending the unique phase of early childhood with my children, I also missed the intellectual challenge one can only find at work with other adults. Sharing my blog posts with readers here gave me an outlet I really enjoyed, and that could also help other people.

Time has passed now, and I find myself in other waters along with many friends. Because Im getting older, and I have some medical issues, and my other half is pretty sure he doesnt want any more babies (sob!), my no-longer-baby kids will probably be IT for me, childbearing-wise. From this perspective, my views have changed. Some things that didnt matter much back then matter more now, and others that were all-important then are irrelevant now.

No matter how many kids you will end up having, youll also inevitably end up in that post-having babies stage of your life. Are you trying to conceive your first now, or have you recently become a mother? Id like to show you how I feel about the roller coaster of trying to conceive, being pregnant, and mothering young babies a few years down the line (my babies are eight and six years old now).

It IS wonderful — even the sleepless nights

Both my babies cried, but especially the second. There were moments at which I just needed that to stop, and yet it didnt. I was so happy when my husband was at home for a long period of time (he travels for work rather a bit), so I could sleep instead of walking around with the baby. I remember feeling isolated from the rest of the world, wishing with great vigour that some of my childless friends would invite me to have a coffee or lunch, to talk about dating and work and stuff.

I remember being anxious when my babies had a fever, and especially when my daughter fell off the bed (I had no idea she could turn over by herself) and I was convinced something was wrong with her brain. I remember having to carry a heavy and overpriced travel system up many stairs because the lift was broken, and being utterly exhausted when I finally reached the top floor on which we lived. (Husband bought me a baby carrier after that!) I remember stress over potty training, and delayed speech, and grandmas complaining I didnt put socks on my babies in summer.

I also remember the unique baby-head smell, the breastfeeding, the snuggles, the first smiles, the snuggles, the private moments with those babies late at night when everyone else was asleep, and the tiny little clothes. It was wonderful. All of it. Even the stuff that caused me stress back then.

Mommy wars dont matter

Before I became a mom, I enjoyed a good dose of politics. That didnt prepare me for the radical feelings so many moms have about so many issues, from how someone gives birth, to whether they breastfeed or bottle feed, whether they enroll their babies in reading programs, and whether they stay at home or go to work.

Those things mattered, because I needed to be Sure I made the Right Choice. Whether I did or not, my kids arent just alive but also thriving now. So are the kids of moms who made completely different choices. In some cases, friendships were lost over vaccinations vs no vaccinations and other stupid stuff like that. The bottom line is that if youre making choices that are right for your family, knowing all the pros and cons and sometimes not even that, everything is dandy. Your infant care practices matter nothing to anyone outside of your own family. Dont lose sleep over that. On a similar note, what others you know and dont know (online!) do with their babies is none of your business. Unless they are doing something truly abusive. Hint: Formula feeding is not abusive.

It passes. way too quickly

It does. Youll be stuck with a hopefully wonderful adolescent soon. Remember that baby-head smell. And those kicks you get from inside your uterus. And the crying. And the simplicity of it all.

Dont lose yourself

That one speaks for itself, doesnt it? I did lose myself a bit. I forgot about all the things I really enjoyed, including clean hair and make-up, but also reading Hegel and visiting art exhibitions. Dont do that if you can help it. Yes, taking a hiatus is pretty much inevitable unless youre wealthy and have a live-in nanny, but dont forget about the things you really enjoy. Yes, that may also include all-night wine-fueled conversations with your significant other. Those are important.

Youre really not that important

I remember a point at which I sincerely believed everything that went wrong was my fault or I could impact everything. Among the most embarrassing was a time at which my cat peed in my babys stroller and I only noticed after we left the house with the baby in the stroller. OK. That one may have been my fault. Dont judge, pregnant women. Something like that WILL happen to you too.

I fault it was my fault my firstborn wouldnt potty train easily, that my second kids teeth turned out weirdly, that my kids fought with each other and pulled each others hair, and that they preferred chocolate to organic green smoothies. Most of these things are just normal, and youll find a way to deal with them. Nurture, loving and guiding your kids, is extremely important. When they do that annoying thing your husband or mom always does, its probably nature though, something that is just as important. Reading to your baby in utero wont make them love Tolstoy, so if they dont want to tackle that in High School, its probably not because you didnt do this. In a big way, kids are just who they are regardless of what you personally do or dont do.

Daycare vs Grandparents: Who should look after the kids while you work?

he first debate would be whether you stay at home with your baby, or whether you return to paid employment. For many parents, who are sure that they either need two incomes or want to continue their career, that is one discussion that can be skipped. If you are going to work outside of the home, who is a better caregiver for your young child — a professional daycare facility, or one of the grandparents?

Professional daycare facilitiesWho will look after your child while you are at work? Not everyone has the luxury of making the choice between grandparents and professional daycare facilities, I realize this. Not every child has grandparents who are still alive, grandparents who are able and willing to look after them, or grandparents without boundary issues that would make them a poor choice. Here, well look at the benefits and problems with both choices for those who are able to make this decision, and who are in a dilemma.

Professional daycare facilities have several benefits that lead many parents to enroll their children. To start with, a daycare is a business, making your dealings with them formal and businesslike. This may mean that you are in a better decision to make certain requests — or demands — and to be confident that your wishes are respected. You pay a daycare facility good money, and in return you should expect them to take good care of your child. They cannot bottle out suddenly on any one day, and if one employee is ill, another will replace her. A daycare facility is one that you can formally count on to take care of your child, every day.

Daycare workers have experience with many children who are exactly the same age as your child. They are paid to have lots of patience for your little one, and to show their best face. Your child will be surrounded with other kids, and will hopefully make some good friends there. Then, there are organized play and craft activities that will turn your kids day into one filled with fun, and with a good dose of stimulation. Your child will get all that socialization that many parents are so concerned about, without question.

A daycare facility should always be licensed, and all its workers (and especially volunteers, if there are any) vetted by the state. Parents should always be sure that their child is absolutely safe in a daycare facility. This can be an advantage, if you have checked that the daycare is licensed and all the workers have been scrutinized. It can also be a huge disadvantage, because these things do not always happen.

A childs safety should always come first, but many parents assume that the daycare has this covered without checking themselves. Id like to take this opportunity to shamelessly promote a book called Protecting The Gift, by child safety expert Gavin de Becker. The book has a list of questions to ask, and instructions on how to vet your daycare facility. Plus some horror stories that will absolutely ensure you do take these steps. You can also read more about this topic by clicking: How to choose a daycare facility for your child.

Another possible disadvantage of a daycare facility is a rigid schedule or routine, with little room for the childs own creativity or wishes. Kids may all take naps at the same time, for instance, and all engage in the same activities at the same time. And because of the professional nature, a daycare worker will never care about your childs personal inclinations quite as much as a good grandparent.

Cost would be the final obstacle that well discuss here. If most of your salary is used to pay for the daycare, something isnt right. Unless, of course, you enjoy your job so much that you are willing to work nearly for free. Hang on, one more disadvantage — lots of kids in one space may mean that your child gets exposed to viruses frequently, and may end up ill pretty often. That would mean you still have to arrange for alternative childcare, because sick kids cant come to daycare.


Those who love and trust their kids grandparents (either your own parents, or your partners) may have a powerful child rearing ally. If you see eye to eye on parenting issues, having a grandparent look after your child while you work can be a blessing for everyone involved. The advantages are obvious. There are so many of them that I think bullet points will work better here:

  • Your child gets to spend time with his or her beloved grandparents.
  • The grandparent gets to spend time with their beloved grandchild.
  • You all forge closer familial bonds than you may otherwise, and you yourself may get a new chance to develop a deeper relationship with your parents or inlaws.
  • Your child may have more say in what his day looks like, and get to choose some of the foods he eats.
  • Your child could take plenty of trips out of the house, and see more variety than she would in daycare.
  • I am not for a moment suggesting that grandparent care should be free, unless you all really, really want it that way. But it will probably be a lot cheaper than daycare.
  • You have already taken years to vet the grandparents, and if you think they are suitable candidates to look after your child, you would trust them completely. That is really, really important.

Now for the drawbacks. Grandparent care can still work out if you have slightly different parenting philosophies, but only if you have a very good discussion first. You should make sure you both understand each other, and can tolerate each others opinions. Dont assume it will work out — a grandparent, as a close blood relative, will always be much more involved in the childs upbringing (vs simple care) than a daycare facility.

You also have to make sure that the grandparent actually really wants to look after your child, as opposed to feeling pressured into it. If your parents or in-law would rather be doing retired people stuff, they should be able to. You should also make clear agreements on the amount of time your kid spends in the grandparents care, and you should at the very least offer to cover expenses. If you are significantly better off financially, a salary is not a weird idea by any means.

You should make sure that the arrangement can be discussed by any party at any time. If the caring grandparents health goes downhill, dont expect them to carry on caring. And if you notice that your child is not being cared for in the way you would like, you too should be able to say enough without ruining your relationship with the grandparents forever.

From the safety perspective, it is also important that you discuss that your child should constantly be supervised by your parents or in-laws, and that they do not leave your child in anyone elses care without your consent. Some grandparents may feel tempted to allow your child to go play at a neighbors house, for instance. Stuff like that is dangerous, unless you are very sure it isnt.

All of this is, of course, based on the understanding that the grandparents are not overbearing, boundary-crossing, personality disordered folks. It does happen. In many families. If you are in a family like that, get some therapy and enroll your child in a good daycare.

Clomid Side Effects

A woman taking any type of fertility medication can expect to go through a variety of different side effects.  Perhaps one of the most common and bothersome side effects of Clomid, most women would agree, are the hot flushes.  Hot flashes occur because of the hormonal fluctuations a woman will experience while taking Clomid. Some can be mild and others can be very bothersome and uncomfortable.In  medical jargon, hot flushes are referred to as “vasomotor flushes.  Approximately 10 percent of women on Clomid report having hot flushes which in turn come with their own symptoms.  Hot flushes are a feeling of warmth that will spread over a woman’s entire body, but felt most strongly in the neck and head.  They can also cause perspiration or flushing and can last from 30 seconds to many minutes in length.

Though the exact reason why some women will experience Clomid-related hot flushes while others do not is not completely understood, it is believed to be connected to hormonal fluctuations.  Hot flushes can also present as night sweats in which a woman will become completely drenched in sweat.  Nightly hot flushes can lead to difficulty sleeping and daytime tiredness, which robs a woman of energy.

After a hot flush, a woman can be left feeling very cold and even shaky. But the good news is that these flushes are never dangerous – just mostly uncomfortable.  There are many ways of alleviating the symptoms of hot flushes which  include cold packs on the neck and head, non-estrogen medications and alternative or natural treatments that can be very effective.  Alternative treatments for hot flushes can include incorporating soy, phytoestrogens (plant estrogens), black cohosh and Vitamin E into the diet.

Prior to beginning any type of alternative treatment for hot flushes due to Clomid, the issue should always be discussed with your obstetrician or fertility specialist.  A woman should never attempt to treat hot flushes using any type of herbal supplements without consulting her doctor, because of the risk of contraindications between the medication and Clomid.  There may be dangerous or serious side effects if another medication is mixed into the equation and is something that women should completely avoid.

Hot flashes while sometimes uncomfortable are nothing to worry about and can be completely normal for women taking Clomid.  With some lifestyle adjustments and natural home remedies, hot flushes can be handled and addressed with relative ease.  If the hot flushes become severely uncomfortable or diminish the quality of a woman’s life, the best thing to do is talk with your physician for more advice and any possible relief.

Clomid Side Effects After Ovulation

Clomid Side Effects After Ovulation

Clomiphene citrate, also known by its brand names Clomid and Serophene, is the most commonly prescribed fertility drug used to induce ovulation. Although being successful in infertility treatment, not all women are advised to use Clomid, before the doctor recommends them to do so. This powerful ovulation inducing drug could also have various side effects that you should be aware of.


It’s usually your doctor who will determine that Clomid is the best fertility option for you. You will be asked to start taking Clomid 2 to 5 days after you begin your menstrual period. Your doctor will carefully monitor your hormone levels during the week of taking Clomid.
If you start ovulating, you will be instructed to stop taking the medication and when to have intercourse after in order to increase the chances of successful conception.

If you were not successful in getting pregnant with the first cycle, you will repeat Clomid, but no more than six menstrual cycles. You will be advised to look for another fertility option.

However, if your treatment with Clomid was successful, inducing the ovulation after the first cycle, you should be aware of the fact that this fertility drug could have potential side effects after the ovulation.

Most common problem when taking Clomid is probability of having twins and multiple pregnancies. During clinical trials of Clomid, 6.9% of pregnancies were twin pregnancies, while the 0.5% were triplets, 0.3% were quadruplets, and 0.1% were quintuplets. To reduce the chances of having multiple pregnancies while taking Clomid, your doctor should always start you on the lowest dose of Clomid first, before trying higher doses of Clomid.

Another common side effect are hot flushes or night sweats, with 10% of women experiencing them as feeling of sudden warm episodes, followed by chills. It’s not dangerous, but it is uncomfortable.

Changes in cervical mucus as well as dry vagina could be frustrating potential side effect of Clomid. Cervical mucus helps transport the sperm into the cervix, and if it becomes thick because of treatment with Clomid, this can decrease the chances of getting pregnant.

More or less uncomfortable conditions such as headaches, dizziness, weight gain, nausea and bloating are also side effects of Clomid. They all could be lessened with medications, proper diet and hydration during treatment. However, severe nausea could be a sign of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which is rare, but dangerous side effect of fertility drugs.

Spotting in the middle of your cycle can be related just to the Clomid and doesn’t necessarily indicate pregnancy. However, if accompanied with other symptoms such as fever, nausea or abdominal pain, you should contact your doctor.

Besides these ‘mild’ side effects of Clomid, treatment with this fertility drug could cause more serious conditions such as ovarian cysts or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Less than 1% of women treated with Clomid will develop an ovarian cyst, which is typically benign (not cancer), disappearing on its own not long after the treatment cycle is over. If the cyst does not go away after the treatment is over, the doctor should be consulted.

As been said, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is rare but potentially dangerous condition. It means dangerous enlargement of the ovaries with a fluid that could leak into the stomach or chest, causing further complications. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can only occur once ovulation takes place after treatment with Clomid. Symptoms may occur a few days after ovulation, including:

Mild symptoms:

  • Bloating
  • Mild pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • Mild weight gain
  • Mild nausea
  • Diarrhea

Or serious symptoms:

  • Excessive weight gain, more than 10 pounds in 3 to 5 days.
  • Severe nausea
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe bloating
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble with urinating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you are using Clomid and have one or more of symptoms, you should visit your doctor immediately.

How Can Acupuncture Help when Trying to Conceive

How Can Acupuncture Help when Trying to Conceive

Acupuncture is as a part of Traditional Chinese Medicine and is an insertion of sterile and hair-thin needles into acupuncture points, specific points on the body.  Chinese medicine recognizes 2,000 acupuncture points connected with pathways called meridians that conduct vital energy or qi (pronounced chee) throughout the body. These points reside on ‘channels’ or ‘meridians’ and as such are pathways in the both interior and exterior body, and when these points are needled, practitioner actually ‘regulate the way in which the body functions’. There are a few points on the body that aren’t advisable during pregnancy, and should be avoided.

Acupuncture is actually a safe practice during pregnancy as well as in preconception period. Traditionally in pregnancy, acupuncture is used to relieve nausea, mood swings, bladder discomfort, etc. In preconception time acupuncture can address problems that affect fertility such as under-functioning (hypothyroidism) or over-functioning (hyperthyroidism).  In the first trimester, acupuncture can also relieve fatigue, migraines and bleeding.

As it helps maintain balance during the second trimester, acupuncture can alleviate heartburn, hemorrhoids and stress. In some cases acupuncture can also be used to treat edema, elevated blood pressure or excessive weight gain.
In third trimester acupuncture can help relief back pain, sciatica pubic and joint pain and even carpal tunnel syndrome. Acupuncture can even help with a proper positioning of the baby.

It is essential for woman to receive regular preventive care during postpartum. Postpartum is actually one of the most critical times for a woman to see an acupuncturist. This way theoretically serious postpartum depression can be prevented.

Acupuncture is a safe practice, as long as the practitioner has gone through a three- or four-year training program and as long as the practitioner is a licensed acupuncturist.

There are minimal risks when using acupuncture for fertility treatment. A risk of miscarriage may develop if wrong acupuncture points are used when a woman is pregnant. Therefore it is essential that you are treated by an acupuncturist who specializes in treating fertility disorders. Acupuncture is not contraindicated for anyone regardless of their pathology or what medications they are taking.

Its still not entirely clear how the technique works, but there is some evidence that it increases the production of endorphins, or brain chemicals that make you feel good and help reduce stress. It may also improve blood supply to the ovaries, which improves their function, and the uterus, which can make it easier to nourish a fetus and reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat infertility, often in combination with herbs.

Research suggests that acupuncture may be helpful to couples undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF). German researchers discovered that acupuncture significantly increases the odds of pregnancy among a group of 160 women who were undergoing IVF treatment. 42% of women who received acupuncture got pregnant, compared to 26 percent of those who didnt receive the treatment. Scientists believe that acupuncture helped increase blood flow to the uterus and relax the muscle tissue, giving the embryos a better chance of implanting.

The verdict is still out on whether it can improve fertility in general. Studies show promising results, but more research is needed before we can say for sure.  Some studies indicate that acupuncture can help to improve an egg quality in woman, that it can help if a woman has problems with blocked Fallopian tubes or whether she has trouble ovulating. Since acupuncture increases blood flow to the endometrium, it helps to facilitate a thick, rich lining.

Some studies also suggest that acupuncture can also help men if trying to conceive: this Chinese technique partly increases number of healthy swimmers, as well as improve their quality.

Some studies claim that acupuncture cannot increase a mans sperm count over the threshold needed for conception, but others suggest that acupuncture can significantly improve the quality and health of sperm and that  sperm  is associated with fewer structural defects and an increase in the number of healthy swimmers.

Acupuncture has been often applied both among men and women when dealing with stress, and since stress has proved to interfere with trying to conceive, it makes a perfect sense that reducing tension with the help of acupuncture could increase your chances of conceiving a baby.

At what time of the day can you take a pregnancy test?

At what time of the day can you take a pregnancy test?

Whether you have started noticing pregnancy symptoms sometimes after ovulation and want to take an early pregnancy test, or you have already missed a period, you definitely want to get an accurate result when you do pee on a stick, dont you? Many women wonder at what time of the day you can take a pregnancy test and get the most reliable result possible. This article explains how pregnancy tests work, and how you can get the most accurate results from them.

Over the counter pregnancy tests all work by detecting hormones through urine. You determine whether or not you conceived by peeing on the test itself, or by peeing into a cup and then inserting the test into the cup. Most pregnancy tests are sensitive only to human chorionic gonadotropin, a hormone that is also known as hCG. A select few can also detect hyperglycosylated hCG. which is produced by the body a bit earlier, sometimes even after an egg is fertilized but before it implanted itself into the lining of the uterus. Both these hormones will be present in higher quantities as pregnancy continues, so the later you test, the more likely you are to get a more accurate test result.

If you have heard that you have to test in the morning to be able to trust the result as shown by the test you used, there is some truth in that claim. Urine generally contains higher quantities of hCG first thing in the morning. This has little to do with the actual time of the day, and more with the fact that your urine is more concentrated and has remained in your bladder for quite some time, because you were asleep all night.

That does not mean that early morning urine is the only urine that can give you accurate results though. DIY pregnancy tests are improving in quality all the time, and the modern ones are so sensitive that they can pick up even small amounts of hCG. If you are not doing a pregnancy test early in the morning – probably because it just occurred to you that your period is late, or that you are having some symptoms, and you need to know if you are pregnant NOW! – the one thing that you should never do is drink large amounts of fluid, just to be able to pee. Drinking more fluids than you normally would, in a shorter amount of time, dilutes your pee and the hormones detected in it.

In short, you can take a pregnancy test at any time of the day and night, but you get the best results if your urine has had some time to stew. Early morning pee is still considered the best, but well a girl has got to do what a girl has got to do, right