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The Patient Portal is exclusively made available to Queensland Fertility Group (QFG) patients, to allow them to share their experiences and support each other through their fertility treatments.

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Let's Make It Your Year - Week One

Let's make 2017 the year you achieve your pregnancy goals!

Over the next four weeks, you will receive helpful tips and advice on how to maximise your chance of falling pregnant.

This week, we start with the basics – understanding your cycle and identifying your most fertile days, staying positive on your journey to pregnancy, and what goes on in the bedroom when it comes to conception.

Understand your body

Understanding how your reproductive cycle works can help you identify the best time of the month to conceive.

To get pregnant naturally you need to be ovulating regularly and be having regular sex to give the sperm and egg the best chance to meet.

How to fall pregnant

Watch our short video, Moving from Contraception to Conception.


Recently stopped taking contraception?

It’s important to understand that your body may need some time to adjust after you have stopped using contraception , but for most forms of contraception it’s not as long as you may expect.

Most women begin to ovulate normally and have menstrual periods a month or two after they stop using the pill or most other forms of birth control. However, if you’ve been using a contraception injection, keep in mind it may take 8-12 months after your last injection for your cycle and fertility to return to normal.

While it is possible to become pregnant immediately after you’ve stopped using most forms of contraception, it is uncommon.  For most women (whether or not you have just stopped using contraception), falling pregnant simply takes time, so don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t happen quickly.

Your age significantly influences how long it can take, and 6-12 months is a reasonable expectation. If you’re over 35 and not pregnant after 6 months of trying, it’s important to ask your doctor for advice (or after 12 months if you are under 35).

How to calculate your fertile days

Did you know that after you ovulate, the egg survives for just 24 hours, while sperm retain fertilising capability for 2-3 days in the fallopian tubes? This means you should actually be having sex before ovulation occurs to maximise your chance of getting pregnant.

A typical menstrual cycle is around 28 days (or at least somewhere between 26 and 32 days), with ovulation occurring halfway through the cycle. The second half of the menstrual cycle is fixed at approximately 14 days, so you can count back from your last period to see when you ovulated.

If your cycle is longer, 35 days for example, you’ll probably ovulate later too – around day 21 (35 minus 14 days). This means you should be having sex around day 18-24. If your cycle is shorter, e.g. 25 days, you’ll probably ovulate earlier – around day 11 (25 minus 14 days), and should be having sex around day 8-14.

To calculate when you’re likely to be ovulating, try our Ovulation Calculator. This will also help you identify the best days to have sex while you're trying to fall pregnant.

Should I use an ovulation test kit?

If you do not have regular periods, it may be difficult to calculate your ovulation date, so ovulation urine tests may be useful   you can buy them from most chemists.

The thing to note is that these tests will only tell you when you have ovulated – not when to have sex (which is before you ovulate). Having said that, knowing that you are ovulating at all is still valuable information.

You may want to consider seeking further advice from your GP or Fertility Specialist in relation to ovulation tracking and other treatment options.

The importance of folate

Folate plays a vital role in reducing the risk of neural tube defects in babies. Hear from Accredited Practising Dietician Melanie McGrice on your folate requirements, and how to increase your intake.

Staying positive

Many women spend years trying not to get pregnant, so it can come as a shock when conception does not occur as quickly as they had hoped. As months pass, you may find yyourself contemplating the possibility that conception could take longer than you had imagined, and it's normal for this to cause stress.

The good news is there are self-care strategies that you can put into place (ideally, as early as possible) to help minimise the impact this stress has on your emotional and physical wellbeing.

The science behind stress

The “fight or flight” response is a natural and automatic response our bodies produce to deal with a threatening situation. Stress hormones are released and our blood flow diverts to muscles as our breathing and heart rates increase.

The goal of this biological process is to help us become stronger and more energised when needed, and then return to normal after a threat passes. However, when stress is prolonged it can become chronic and our bodies stay in a state of high arousal. In this situation stress has stopped being a motivator and instead leaves you feeling overwhelmed.

How can I minimise stress?

Our body has an inborn relaxation response which is essentially the opposite reaction to the “fight or flight” response.  This is known as the “relaxation response” and it allows our minds and bodies to rebalance and find a sense of peace and better health.

Relaxation techniques ranging from meditation to progressive muscle relaxation to yoga are all designed to elicit our inborn relaxation response.

Looking for simple relaxation techniques you can do yourself at home? Try this guided 15 minute muscle relaxation exercise, or a 9 minute visualisation exercise

How can I stay positive?

It is very normal when you are trying to get pregnant to think about what has already happened or what might happen in the future.  This may leave you feeling optimistic, or just as commonly, pessimistic. For example, if you start to think that the months keep passing and it may never work, your emotions start to match that thought and you may feel sad, frustrated, or even angry - all before you even know the ultimate outcome.
When we start to treat thoughts as facts our bodies and emotions respond to these thoughts as if they are actually happening. The best way to be aware of our thoughts is to pay attention to what is happening - that is, to be mindful. Mindfulness practice allows us to become aware of our thoughts and to notice these thoughts without getting bogged down in them.

These 3 minute or 9 minute mindfulness exercises may help you focus more on your breathing, and notice when you become caught up in your thoughts. However, they take practice to perfect and you should not expect to immediately feel calm or relaxed. The aim of the practice is to know where your attention is; to notice when it has wandered off and bring it back to your breath. We recommend you try and set aside 5 minutes twice a day for this practice.

Let's talk about sex

Deciding to have a baby is an exciting time! While it is important to know when you ovulate and your most fertile days each month, it’s also important to not let having sex to a schedule take away from the fun in the bedroom.

Enjoying your sex life

Hear from relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein on enjoying your sex life and maintaining intimacy and connection in your relationship while trying for a baby.

When should we be having sex?

Sex should be a fun and intimate activity, however many couples trying to conceive find that having sex to a 'schedule' can take the fun out of the activity. The best advice is to make sure you are having regular sex (about every second day) in the week around ovulation. For example, if you have a 28 day cycle it is best to have regular sex between day 11 and 17 of your cycle.

What are the best sexual positions for conception?

You may have heard that some positions, such as your partner on top (missionary position), are better than others for conception. However there's no evidence to back up these theories. You can get pregnant having intercourse in almost any position, as long as the sperm is ejaculated into the cervix.  While science doesn’t yet offer a definitive answer, if you want to try out some different positions - it will at the very least keep things interesting!

Should I stay lying down afterwards?

Some people believe that semen is more likely to stay in the vagina and around the cervix if they stay lying down after sex, rather than getting up straight away. To date, there is no research or good evidence to back this up.

Sperm are capable of living for up to 3 days inside the uterus. Although lying down immediately after sex may seem like a good idea, fertilisation often occurs hours or even days later. Each sperm has one agenda – to get to the egg first. Having to swim upwards, downwards, across or sideways is unlikely to make much of a difference.


To do this week:

  • Calculate your ovulation date and fertile window.
  • Talk to your partner and plan to have regular sex during your fertile window – about every 2-3 days.
  • Start taking a folate supplement, and ensure you’re eating folate-rich foods.

See you next week,
QFG Fertility Specialists
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