You’re wanting to make a baby. Congratulations on taking the first steps on your journey to family!
You are probably wondering exactly what you are supposed to be doing. Or not doing? Is it just a matter of ditching the contraceptives or is there more you need to know? Are there tips and tricks that can nudge you towards conception. This is probably both exciting and terrifying!
In this blog, I’ll share some of my favourite fertility tips, with the intention to help you get to know your body. Before you read this, please read my blog post “Are we doing it right?” for a general overview.
And also take 5 big breaths and RELAX! It’s the first step too, by the way.
Step 1. Relax and enjoy this amazing time of preconception
Whether it takes one night or one year to conceive, you can enjoy connecting with your partner without barriers, and connecting with your own body and embodied knowing.
If you have never conceived before, it will certainly be mysterious, and may take you into deeper body-knowledge that ever before. Even if you have had previous pregnancies, every time is different.
You could regard this time a bit like preparing yourself for a wedding or another awesome event, and take on the task of maximally nourishing and nurturing yourself on every level. (See my blog “What to eat…” for more about preconception nutrition.) You could also take on creating the most juicy sensual energy imaginable; n my experience, that is perfect for magnetising a baby, or anything else you want to create at this time.
Step 2. Read the signs
As I talk about in my blog “Are we doing it right?”, you can read your body’s fertility signs from simply observing your interactions with the outside world. Did more men look at you in THAT way today? Did you look at yourself like that? Was sex more urgent and pleasurable for you? Even your dreams can give you clues. The late, great Jeannine Parvati Baker, author of the amazing book Conscious Conception (see below) suggested that we describe our dreams as though to an alien who knows nothing about life in Earth. This can help us to uncover the meanings for ourselves. The estrogen peaks that accompany ovulation will also put a spring in your step, a glow to your skin and, of course, a twinkle in your eye.
Step 3. Up close and personal
There are fertile signs from inside your body as well. You may already know that your cervical mucus changes throughout your cycle, and is maximally clear and stretchy – looking like egg white–at ovulation, which generally occurs on the last day that you observe this mucus. The texture of your cervix will give you even more information, if you are willing for some internal exploration. You can usually feel your own cervix as a fleshy ring at the top of your vagina. (Squat or put one foot on the toilet seat to get the best position). When fertile, your cervix is “SHOW”- soft (texture of your lips rather than your nose, as it is at other times), high (you may not reach it so easily), open (you could almost fit your finger tip into the ring) and wet, due to this glistening mucus. And by the way, getting to know your cervix- which you can do when you pee as well- could be really helpful in knowing when your fertility returns after birth. See resources below for more information.
Step 4. Measuring up
There are also ways to measure your fertile signs that might give you additional helpful information. These include:
- Taking your temperature – either in your mouth or your vagina—first thing in the morning. This detects ovulation after it has happened (because your temperature rises 3 days in a row), so this sign is most helpful when you are wanting to avoid conception.
- Charting, which is the best way to see what is happening in your body. Ideally chart for a few months to understand your cycle- Programs like Fertility Friend, and apps Glow and Ovia can help you to collate all the information and predict your fertility. See also my simple One Moon Fertility Chart and the books below.
- Checking your hormones in saliva. This can pinpoint ovulation more accurately, but is more expensive to use- see Clear Blue below for one system.
Step 5. Tuning into love
In the beginning, it can be liberating and fun to have sex without contraception, but the novelty might wear off after a few weeks or months. Even worse, sex can become a chore for both of you, rather than an expression of love. How can you keep the love and magic while also intending to conceive? Probably the best–and hardest–advice is to take the pressure off in any way that you can. How can you “make love” without having sex? (Hint, oxytocin, hormone of love and orgasm is also the cuddle hormone). Making times to connect and cuddle, or to be sexual without full intercourse might be helpful. (Remember making out as a teen?) And sometimes a break from routines is just the thing for baby-making. (Ideally visiting an exotic location but with a little imagination – a “stay-cation” could work too!) However it all unfolds, remember to breathe and relax!
- Take Charge of Your Fertility. Comprehensive look at your fertile cycle
- Conscious Conception by JP and R Baker. Wonderful exploration of preconception and “pre-babies”
- A Cooperative Method of Natural Birth Control A simple book to help identify your fertile times
Apps and online resources
- Fertility Friend Online cycle recording
- Ovia app
- Glow app
- Clear blue ovulation detection and more
- One Moon Fertility Chart A simple way to chart your fertile cycles with more information and resources, devised by Sarah.