by Julie Snyder
The baby-making window
You're ready to have a baby! Wonderful. There's a problem, though. You've spent the last several years trying not to have a baby and don't remember exactly how baby-making works. Read on for fertility facts, tips and a general timetable for starting your pregnancy. Most women release an egg about 2 weeks before their period begins. If your cycles are fairly regular, you can figure about when ovulation will occur. Your egg lives 12-24 hours after being released. If it joins up with a handsome sperm, you've got a baby in the making! To estimate when ovulation will occur, begin with your typical cycle length, in days. Subtract 14. Step up that many days from the first day of your period. Let's say:
First day of period: March 1st Cycle length: 31 days Cycle length minus 14: 31 - 14: 17 days You can expect ovulation to happen on or close to March 18th
Some signs that you're near your most fertile time include increased vaginal secretions, breast tenderness, feeling on top of the world and sexy, and short-lived, sharp pain in your side. Sperm, on the other hand, can live several days in your body. Sexual intercourse can be a few days before ovulation and still make a baby. The window for baby-making is considered to be 5 days before an egg is released to one day after.
Keeping track of your cycles
Irregular cycles or very short or long cycles can make it difficult to forecast your ovulation date. If you want more than an estimation, you can use a fertility monitor or chart your temperatures. A fertility monitor watches for either hormone changes signaling ovulation to be close or look at changes in vaginal secretions. Charting your temperature and keeping a basal body temperature chart helps you know your own cycle so you can better be prepared in future months. Hormonal changes after ovulation cause a slight rise in basal body temperature. These charts can be helpful if trying for a baby takes a while.
Keeping baby-making fun
Trying to get pregnant can take all of the fun out of sex if you're not one of those couples that conceive easily. Making love can seem forced and mechanical instead of an expression of love commitment mixed with a bit of desire Here are some tips that just might help: Romance: Don't forget to be lovers. Date. Share your joy in your partner whether tonight is the ideal time for making a baby or whether tonight is the ideal time for a great time. Experiment with new positions: You don't have to just stick with the missionary position. Check out something novel! Need ideas? You'll find them in Best Sexual Positions for Baby Making. Remember it's a number's game: The average couple has a 10% to 25% chance of getting pregnant each cycle. It's not unusual to take a few months. Relax -- yeah, right! Looking for a natural way to relax when you're trying to conceive? An orgasm could be just what the doctor ordered! According to The Unofficial Guide to Having A Baby, studies have shown that an orgasm is 22 times as relaxing as the average tranquilizer. Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.