Many women have concerns about whether their fertility is affected
by using contraception but, for most, getting pregnant after stopping
is not a problem. Also, there are ways to calculate the best time
to try and conceive although they vary in their reliability.
Stopping contraception does not normally affect your chances of
conceiving, although it is generally recommended that you allow
at least three cycles to pass before you start trying in earnest.
However, if timing is all-important there are ways to calculate
the best time to try and conceive although, none of which are 100%
Research has shown that 80% of all women who have never had a baby
and 90% of those who have will conceive within one year of stopping
the pill. This is the same proportion as those who have never used
contraception. Also, the length of time you are on the pill has
no effect on your fertility. A mere 1% of women do not restart periods
after coming off the pill and have difficulty in conceiving. Again,
this percentage is the same as in women who have not taken the pill.
For some women ovulation occurs immediately after stopping the
pill whereas for others several weeks may go by before the normal
menstrual cycle restarts. If you are one of the rare percentage
of women (1%) whose periods do not return within three months it
is necessary to visit your doctor. Treatment is usually very simple,
requiring a 'fertility pill'. Fewer women still, may require stronger
drugs to stimulate their ovaries.
However, some women seem to be more fertile after stopping the
pill and can fall pregnant straight away, but it is normally recommended
that you wait at least three clear months before trying to conceive.
It seems that the only reason for this is that it makes it easier
to calculate the expected delivery date, but with the very precise
ways of measuring the early progress of pregnancy using ultrasound,
it doesn't really matter.
There is no reason why you should not start trying for a baby as
soon as the coil is removed. The number of women getting pregnant
afterwards is no different to those who have never used this form
This method of contraception is considered to be very safe and convenient,
in that it only has to be repeated once every three months. However,
whilst it is being used there is the possibility of weight gain
and irregular periods. Some women even stop menstruating altogether
while it is being used. Also, it can take anything up to a year
to return to normal fertility after stopping the injections.
The fertile period is the time in the menstrual cycle when conception
is most likely to occur. There are two main indicators of fertility,
a change of body temperature, and a change in cervical mucus.
Basal body temperature is the temperature of your body at rest.
After ovulation there is small but distinct increase in basal body
temperature, only a couple of degrees, which remains raised for
the rest of the cycle. Charting your BBT over two or three cycles
can indicate whether or not you are ovulating and when, in your
cycle, this is occurring. It does not tell you, however, when you
are about to ovulate.
Fertility temperature charts and clinical thermometers are easily
obtained from a chemist. A digital thermometer is just as effective
an often easier to read. The important thing to remember about temperature
charting is to ensure that you take your temperature at the same
time each day, before getting out of bed. You should not have anything
to eat or drink prior to taking your temperature as this can affect
the results. You should place the thermometer under your tongue
for at least one minute. Once your temperature has been measured,
it should be recorded on the chart. If there have been any changes
to your routine or if you have got a cold or something else that
could affect the results, this should also be noted on the chart.
What temperature charting will not tell you is when you are about
to ovulate, although some women do experience an apparent fall in
temperature just before. The best time to conceive is by making
love 12-48 hours before ovulation, which is, of course, before the
temperature starts rising. If your cycle is regular, over a couple
of months, you should be able to get a good idea through temperature
charting, when you are likely to be at your most fertile.
One of the clearest indications that ovulation is about to occur
is the change in cervical mucus. Most women are aware that their
body secretes more cervical mucus some times than at others, however,
are not always aware of its relevance to fertility. The cervix has
cells that produce mucus, which has a twofold purpose. Firstly,
it helps keep the vagina lubricated and secondly, it helps to carry
to a waiting egg.
Just before ovulation the body is producing oestrogen, which causes
cervical mucus to become more watery and slippery, with the consistency
rather like egg white. Sperm can swim quite freely through this
type of cervical mucus and can survive for a comparatively long
time. After ovulation the body produces progesterone and becomes
slight, thick and tacky. As a result, sperm cannot move freely and
die very quickly.
In order to check your fertility through your cervical mucus you
should examine the amount, clearness and flexibility each time you
go to the bathroom. This can be tested either by inserting a finger
into the vagina and observing the dryness or wetness of the tissues,
or alternatively, examine the mucus by wiping toilet tissue across
Ovulation is when the egg leaves the ovary, roughly halfway between
two menstrual periods. This process is controlled by the hormones
from the pituitary gland: LH and FSH (Follicle stimulating gland).
FSH stimulates the follicle to grow to its maximum, before ovulation.
LH then stimulates the follicle to open and release the egg.
Ovulation predictor kits are available from chemists and can be
helpful in assessing approaching ovulation, however, they are quite
expensive. They include five urine dipsticks, which can detect the
presence of LH in the urine. A surge in LH occurs just prior to
ovulation and once this is detected, you can expect to ovulate within
the next few days. By timing intercourse for these days you can
improve the chances for conception.
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