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getting pregnant

a guide to daily food choiceslifestyle changes10 questions for your OB/GYNgetting pregnant
nutrition for preconceptionfoods containing folic acidexercise guidelinesresources
how long does it take to conceive?is infertility hereditary?stress reduction

Using Natural Family Planning to Get Pregnant

Natural family planning methods are based on your knowledge of your menstrual cycle to predict your fertile days. There are only a few days in your cycle when you can become pregnant. When you learn to observe and chart natural changes in your body, you can identify the days you are most likely to get pregnant.

Three common methods of natural family planning:

Cervical Mucus Method
Basal Body Temperature Method
Calendar Method

Ask the Doctor

How long does it take to conceive?
Is infertility hereditary?

Recommendations for Improving Conception

Cervical Mucus Method

Cervical mucus helps with the transportation of sperm and changes to help sperm live and travel in the uterus. Checking your cervical mucus involves the following steps:

1. Begin to check cervical mucus following menstruation.
2. Before or after urination, wipe with tissue over the vaginal opening.
3. When mucus appears, you are beginning your fertile phase.
4. When mucus is stretchy, you are most fertile.
5. Keep in mind... intercourse can change cervical mucus due to the presence of semen. It may take up to 24 hours for semen to leave the vaginal area.

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Basal Body Temperature Method (BBT)

BBT measures the body at rest. At ovulation, the BBT will rise approximately four degrees above the average.

How to Monitor Your Basal Body Temperature

1. Buy a Basal Body Temperature thermometer.
2. Take your temperature first thing in the morning when you wake up - before getting out of bed.
3. Record the temperature on the natural family planning chart.
4. Ovulation is assumed to occur when the BBT increases .4-.6 degrees between readings. A sample natural family planning chart shows a typical month.
5. Remember that illness, food, drink or stress can change your BBT.

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Calendar Method

Keeping track of your menstrual cycles can help you predict your fertile days. You are fertile 14 days prior to the first day of your period. This method is most effective for women who have regular menstrual cycles.

Calculating Your Ovulation Date

1. Keep track of six "normal menstrual cycles."
2. Calculate the average number of days in your cycle.
3. Subtract 14 days from the average number of days in your cycle. This will help you determine the day you ovulate.
For example:

  • First day of your period to onset (first day) of next period equals 28 days, then 28-14 = ovulation on the 14th day.
  • First day of your period to onset of next period = 32 days, then 32-14 = ovulation on day 18.

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Recommendations for Improving Conception

For Both Partners

  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Take vitamins
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Avoid caffeine, tobacco, alcohol and drugs
  • Discuss use of medications and herbal supplements with your physician
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothes, jockey underwear and other situations that increase testicular heat.

Intercourse

  • Refrain from intercourse at least 2 days but no longer than 5 days prior to ovulation to maximize sperm concentrations
  • Have intercourse no more than every other day during your fertile time
  • Avoid lubricants, as they may be toxic to sperm
  • Female orgasm may assist sperm travel
  • Rest for 20 minutes after intercourse prior to getting up. Holding your knees to your chest while lying on your back may be beneficial for women.

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