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What are the most commonly asked TTC questions?

When do I ovulate?

In a normal monthly cycle, women ovulate once a month, around the middle of a 28-day cycle.  Ovulation will generally happen around day 13 to 15, about 14 days before the period is due to start. That is the textbook answer, but as we know, rarely do our bodies work like textbooks. If a woman has a shorter cycle ovulation could be earlier and for ladies with irregular cycles, it can be very difficult to pinpoint the time of ovulation at all. It’s important to understand that every woman works differently. This is also the same for signs and symptoms of ovulation. The textbook symptoms are: increase in cervical mucus, slight pain, breast tenderness, bloating, and possibly an increase in body temperature. However, not all women will experience these, so, it is good to be aware of these signs and symptoms but please don’t panic if you don’t have them, this does not mean you are not ovulating.

How often should we have sex?

Obviously, it is important to have sex around your fertile window, once a day or once every other day is absolutely fine. There is no need to have sex multiple times a day, sperm needs a little bit of time to recoup. Sperm can survive for up to five days inside a woman so there is no need to be confined to the bedroom during that fertile time.

Should we withhold sex?

Withholding ejaculation for long periods of time can actually be detrimental to sperm quality so do not withhold ejaculation for a whole month and then only release at the fertile time as a lot of that sperm will be poor quality and the DNA could be damaged. Ejaculating two to three times a week when trying to become pregnant is fine, there is no need to leave it any longer.

Can you improve egg quality?

Women are born with all the eggs they are going to need for their lifetime and as we get older the quality and number of those eggs reduces; those are factors that we cannot change. What we can do is look after our eggs and make sure that they are the best quality that they can be. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help to keep good quality eggs. Increases in protein, whole food and grains, full-fat dairy products and fish can be good for egg quality. Gentle exercise and keeping well hydrated are also great for blood flow which can also improve egg quality. Reducing stress can also help to improve egg quality.

There are many ways you can help to reduce stress, such as making sure you have enough sleep, acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy, fertility counselling or even just some gentle exercise. All these outlets could help you to manage your stress levels and to help enjoy the process of conception as it is not meant to be a chore. Remember any lifestyle changes that you make will not become apparent straight away it takes about three to six months for lifestyle changes to have an effect.

Can you improve sperm quality?

You can improve sperm quality. Sperm quality can be improved again by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Increases in protein, whole foods and grains, oily fish, and omega 3 will all help to improve sperm DNA and quality. Remember sperm works on a three-month cycle so any changes you make now will become more apparent in three months’ time.

What affects egg and sperm quality?

Egg and sperm quality can be affected by several lifestyle choices such as:

Smoking – smoking had a large effect on egg and sperm DNA therefore affecting quality, it can affect the motility and morphology of sperm and it has been well documented that smoking can affect a baby’s birth weight.

Drinking – drinking in large quantities can affect egg and sperm quality. Drinking a small amount is less likely to affect quality, however, it is best to avoid too much alcohol while trying to conceive and when pregnant.

Poor diet – having a poor diet high in saturated fats and sugars is not good for egg and sperm quality. In order to do everything you can to improve your chances of becoming pregnant, it is best to stick to a healthier lifestyle. This doesn’t mean saying goodbye to all treats! You are still allowed to enjoy life, just be mindful of what you are eating and how it can affect your egg and sperm quality.

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