From the second we are introduced to sex education in our teen years, we are taught to believe that we can fall pregnant with ANY unprotected intercourse; and it makes sense. The brain develops from the back, to the front – so when we talk about development of the prefrontal cortex and that part of the brain that is responsible for decision making (and understanding the consequences of those decisions) isn’t fully developed until our 20’s. Teens are more impulsive, are more likely to partake in unprotected intercourse, and aren’t truly capable of realizing what that decision can mean.
But, fast forward 15 years to when we’re in our 30’s and have spent years with infertility, it’s a slightly different tune; and trust us, the irony does not elude us! We spend half our lives thinking we can get pregnant at the drop of a hat, and then years trying to do everything we can to conceive.
If you start to google and deep dive down the rabbit hole of what you need to do to conceive – the vortex can suck you in and leave you there. Progesterone, HCG, PCOS, endo, LUF, anovulation, short luteal phases – the list goes on. But what about those cases where nothing is “wrong” with your bloods or tests, and you’re still struggling to conceive? Here are our top 3 non-hormonal reasons why you might be struggling to conceive!
1. Your uterus and cervix position
“Tipped” “retroverted” “tilted” – there’s a lot of things that can change the position of your uterus, which can in turn impact the position of your cervix opening. If your cervix opening is not aligned properly, sperm may not have the ability to travel through your cervix and to their final destination. This is not something that is seen as an issue in pregnancy, and doesn’t mean anything negative for when you do conceive; but it can prove a bit pesky before that wonderful positive line shows itself on a test!
Some tactics to help:
- Womb massage – both self massage and utilizing womb massage practitioners.
- Feet/legs up on the wall positions – get your bum as close as you can get it to the wall, and alternate between having your legs up, stretched out into a V, and placing your feet on the wall (that last one will test your mobility!).
- Daily sitting posture (stop sitting like a banana).
- Spending some time after intercourse with a pillow under your hips and deep belly breathing.
2. You are having intercourse TOO frequently
Yes – there is such a thing as too much intercourse once a fertile window opens! Having intercourse multiple times a day, morning and night, every day, will actually decrease those chances of conceiving. For conception, we want lovely mature sperm (just like we want lovely mature men, and not man-childs)! Sertoli cells are a type of cell found in human testes which contribute to the process of spermatogenesis (the production of sperm), and sertoli cells regenerate every 24 hours. If you are having intercourse too frequently in fertile windows, the male is not producing mature sperm which is optimal for fertilization.
We know how stressful conception might be, and how difficult it is to accept “less is more” sometimes. But in terms of conceiving, less really is more!
Some tactics to help:
- Upon opening of your fertile window (confirmed with cervical mucus, with cervix position, and in some cases OPK’s) have intercourse every second day.
- Ensure that your partner is not getting rid of that premium mature sperm in his own happy time!
3. You are timing intercourse at the wrong time all together
This one may seem like a no-brainer, and our women who have been faced with infertility may find themselves eye-rolling at this one. But, unfortunately, many couples do not know when to time intercourse for conception. In fact, in one study performed in Australian fertility assistance clinics, almost 70% of couples thought they had timed intercourse in fertile windows – and just under 13% were able to accurately identify this window. We are talking about couples seeking reproductive assistance, who have majoritively tried unsuccessfully for over a year – and only 13% were able to identify when the fertile window actually is. These are staggering statistics, and really indicate how much body literacy is still lacking for couples worldwide.
Some tactics to help:
- Track your cycle for at least 3 cycles where you observe cervical mucus, cervix position/sensation, temperatures, and in some cases OPK’s. Gather as much information as humanly possible, so you can accurately identify when your fertile window actually opens.
- Don’t rely on software only apps for the “fertile window”.
- Don’t rely on software to tell you that you’re in an “infertile window” when you have clear visible fertility markers screaming otherwise!
Our BBRing helps you gain that body literacy that may be lacking, and helps provide data which you can use to help your conception! Because remember, when trying to conceive, there is NO SUCH THING as too much information!