If you’ve recently decided to grow your family or are planning on starting in the near future, it can be helpful to know a few things before/while getting started. Education about sex, procreation, ovulation, and menstruation can be lacking or not even present. Myths and misconceptions about getting pregnant are still widely spread. All this means that there is a chance that you and your partner could use time spent trying to conceive (TTC) in a less than optimal way. At PGOMG, we want to help ensure that those growing their families are able to do so on their terms, so the following five things you need to know about TTC could make the difference in your family planning timeline.
- Learn how to track your ovulation schedule – Your OB/GYN can provide guidance and resources on tracking ovulation, but there are also online guides as well as apps you can use. Be sure to only work with reputable, well-reviewed sources. Tracking ovulation will help you learn about the most optimal days during a month to have sex in order to concieve.
- Consider preconception counseling – preconception counseling is always advised, but it can be particularly helpful if you have a personal or family history where reproductive or genetic medical issues are already known. These services can determine if testing is needed ahead of TTC, provide nutrition advice, and review any needed immunizations.
- Talk to your OB/GYN about menstrual issues/concerns – if you have a history of inconsistent periods, heavy periods, painful periods, or have been diagnosed with endometriosis or PCOS, it is important to talk to your doctor about TTC. It is possible these conditions could make it difficult to conceive without some form of assistance. Your doctor can advise whether medical care is recommended.
- Schedule an appointment with your provider if needed – it is advised that for women under the age of 35, they try to conceive for a year before booking an appointment with their OB/GYN to discuss testing. For women aged 35 and older, it is advised that you only wait six months. If a known fertility concern is present or suspected in either partner, then you can discuss this during preconception counseling.
Plan how you’ll discontinue birth control – if you are on birth control, you’ll need to stop in order to conceive. This means no longer taking your pill or perhaps having your IUD removed. Some forms of birth control, when ended, can cause changes to your menstrual cycle which means there will be changes to ovulation. It can take months, in certain situations, for a woman’s body to regulate normally after taking birth control.