Could your hormones be dictating your love life?
The strong, primal urge to have children can strike you when you least expect it; it’s a deep, emotional pull that can be completely illogical, irrational, inconvenient and indeed bordering on insanity, as in my case.
I’ve just turned 41; I have three-year-old and two-year-old daughters; I work part-time and our household is so chaotic and noisy I’m often half expecting to hear the sounds of glass shattering – none of these conditions are ideal in which to bring another life into this world.
And yet, I feel an intense, inexplicable desire to breed – it’s like my fertility clock has started tick, tick, ticking again as my body approaches the end of its peak reproductive capabilities. I’m yearning for a baby to the point that when I see a newborn in the street, I have to quell a strong desire to sniff that cute, little bundle of joy’s head; nothing would smell sweeter to me right now. This is far from ideal and fairly offensive, anti-social behaviour: “Er, excuse me? Can I please sniff your baby’s sweet head?” Ugh.
And did I mention I already have both a preschooler and a toddler, born very close together? What am I thinking?! My head is overruling my heart on this one: my having another baby can’t and won’t happen – life is only just starting to get manageable as it is; my husband and I are finally starting to get seven-to-eight hours sleep nightly again and we have a happy, if hectic family life. Why would I want to ruin all that with another baby?!
Then there’s my fertility to think of: having a baby in your 40s can be very fraught. It is of course, thanks to the miracles of modern science, by no means impossible. But my husband and I have already endured the agony of two miscarriages and a down syndrome scare in our quest to have children later in life. It’d be way too much mental and emotional anguish to lose another child and/or suffer more pregnancy complications.
And then there are the long, sleepless nights to consider – my 45-year-old husband would happily go for another baby, but I’m not sure we’d survive it, to be honest – I think it would be very ageing and stressful. I’m sure, if it was to happen, I’d wake up one day, pregnant with our third child, with a giant patch of grey hair (no greys yet, touch wood).
And yet, despite all this, I am still longing for another baby; not even my boisterous and demanding two littlies can deter these irrepressible maternal urges. For having a baby is an experience like no other – one of life’s greatest gifts – a rollercoaster of emotions: giddy highs and the lowest of lows.
Interestingly, I never even felt this strong desire to have children until about six months before my wedding at age 36. I was extremely career-driven and rarely, if ever, got clucky. But now, perhaps because my husband and I have been blessed with two healthy and adorable children – so I know just how wondrous parenthood can be – it’s a heart pull that is starting to plague me.
However, here is a fun fertility fact which, for me, is yet another reason to stop having kids: from your mid-40s, if you conceive naturally, you have a one in two chance of having twins. Can you believe it? Women’s bodies are amazing; this twin lottery is due to the fact that as we approach menopause, our hormones work harder to release an egg from our ovaries. And so the result is often two eggs being released during ovulation which can be fertilised and implanted in our uterus, resulting in non-identical twins. Eek.
Every baby is a blessing, but I’m way too tired to have another and, I like to think, wise enough to know when it’s time to stop. Now, if I can just overrule these utterly ridiculous broody blues…
What do you think? Have you experienced the broody blues? How did you know it was time to stop having babies?
If getting pregnant hasn’t been easy for you, you’re not alone. Many women don’t get pregnant when they start trying, but there are things you can do to help your chances of getting pregnant faster.
Understanding your ovulation cycle is key to getting pregnant faster. Keeping a pregnancy calendar is a must, so you can chart your ovulation dates. Start by recording the day of your last menstrual period (LMP). Most women ovulate between day 11 and day 21 of their cycle (counting from the first day of the LMP). Fertility experts refer to this as the “fertile time” of a cycle, because the chances of getting pregnant are increased during this time. Ovulation can occur at other times during your cycle, and can change from month to month. So it’s important to note down any changes in to your pregnancy calendar.
How you have sex and how you position your body afterwards can help. Fertility experts recommend having sex on your back, and then laying down after sex. You may want to hop up and use the bathroom, or run to the kitchen to get a glass of water, but it is best to stay still to open up your ovaries and allow for better flow to the uterus.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Trying to get pregnant isn’t just about what you do in the bedroom. Make sure that you live a healthy lifestyle – from watching what you eat and drink, to maintaining an exercise routine to keep your body in shape and your weight in check.
The other important factor is learning to relax. Getting pregnant can sometimes feel like you’re racing against the clock. And if you find you’re not getting pregnant, that can add to even more stress. But the stress you put on yourself can effect your hormones, which can be counteractive to your reproductive efforts. So make stress-reducing efforts part of your lifestyle, like going for regular walks, meditating or doing yoga.
Stop using birth control
If you’re thinking of getting pregnant, stop using birth control. It is important that you stop taking your birth control as early as possible so that your body can start to get back to its normal cycle, and flush out the chemicals. No matter what type of birth control you used, your body may vary in terms of how long it takes to get back to your regular ovulation cycle.
Trying to get pregnant can sometimes feel like a job. But instead, enjoy the intimacy that comes with having sex, and lots of it! It might be easier said than done, but it’s important to try and not become obsessed with getting pregnant. Relax, and keep trying. If things don’t change, then consult your doctor. But in the meantime, enjoy having lots of great sex!
What are your tips for getting pregnant faster?
Planning your pregnancy? Some of your friends may have mentioned a pregnancy calendar, and you’ve scoffed at them assuming it was just a trend of the week. But we’ll show you why this type of calendar really is a smart idea.
If you’ve decided to dive head first into trying to conceive, but don’t know where you are in your cycle, then it’s time to get out your calendar and mark some dates. The first thing to do in your pregnancy calendar is note the date of your last period. If you’re not sure of the date, you will probably have to wait for your next period to ensure that you are on track. Once you know the start and end dates, you can mark those down on your calendar to get started.
Meeting with your OB-GYN
When you go to meet with your gynecologist, bring your pregnancy calendar. Although plenty of information about ovulation and conception is available on the internet, speaking with your doctor is always a better idea. By bringing your calendar, your doctor can help you to start crafting a plan toward conception, and then, your pregnancy timeline. Your doctor will be able to help you figure out when ovulation happens within your body and when the optimal time for conception might be. Then, you’ll know when to try to conceive.
Knowing your due date
Wouldn’t you like to know your due date as soon as possible? By looking at your calendar, your doctors can give you a due date. Remember, mark down the dates on which you had sex so that you can estimate when the baby was actually conceived.
Tracking the trimesters
Your doctor will tell you when your trimesters are. But there is something special about tracking this information on your own. Once you find out all of the information from your doctor, you can mark down when the second and third trimesters of pregnancy are beginning. By reading up on information and speaking with your doctor, you can also mark down the milestones that your baby is reaching by the weeks. Use your calendar to mark down changes in your body and emotions, and it will become a precious keepsake.
Creating a sense of anticipation
Having a pregnancy calendar allows you to keep track of important information and dates, but it also allows you to build up a sense of excitement. You can mark off the days until your little one arrives. You might even want to note the number of days or weeks that are left till your due date.
Now that you are pregnant you will want to know absolutely everything about you and your baby’s health and progress. A week-by-week pregnancy calendar is one of the first things you should look into after you find out you’re pregnant.
There are plenty of online pregnancy calendars as well as apps and good old-fashioned books. Simply enter in the date for your Last Menstrual Period (LMP), and the cycle length of your period, and you will get a week-by-week list of physical changes that will happen to your body and keep you updated on your baby’s progress. Things like when you should expect to feel that first kick or comparing the size of your baby to a piece of fruit so you have a tangible understanding of how big they’re getting.
Pregnancy Trimesters and Due Date
Trimesters are the physicians’ ways of grouping your body changes, and offer an easy way of understanding pregnancy for new parents. A full term pregnancy is usually 40 weeks, and will be divided into three trimesters, each of around three months of duration.
Let’s start with the due date. The due date of your pregnancy is generally calculated from the day of conception, which is again calculated from the day of your ovulation. Your physician will determine your due date and there are plenty of online due date calculators like this tool from Mayo Clinic.
The first trimester usually consists of first 12 weeks of the pregnancy and are the most critical of your pregnancy. You will likely feel tired so take it easy and start prenatal care.
The second trimester is generally from the 13th week to 28th week. Nausea usually (but not always) is less, and you’ll start to feel your baby kicking.
The third trimester is from 28th week to childbirth – you may be getting uncomfortable and spending all your time in elastic waistbands, but your due date is approaching. Get plenty of rest.
Best Pregnancy Calendars
Russ Baby Pregnancy Calendar – great book which also makes a handy gift for those expecting
What To Expect Pregnancy Calendar – from the makers of the bestselling book What To Expect When You’re Expecting
WebMD Pregnancy Calendar – trusted source in online medical advice
The most important part of your pregnancy is you and your health. So follow medical advice and remember a healthy mother means a healthy baby.