Tag Archives: conception

Pre-Conception: Conclusion

Sadly, our January pre-conception series is coming to a close, but we hope you have been following along each day. We have covered topics from preparing for conception to tracking your ovulation and everything we could think of in between.

A summary of January’s posts are below:

We hope that this has been helpful, and while the door to this series has closed, February gives us the opportunity to begin a whole new series, one that we have had so much fun writing, so make sure you check back in tomorrow.

All our love,

The Lotus Blossom Midwives

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Pre-Conception: Your Story

We’d like to hear your stories for how you prepared for a baby, what you think about timing and birth spacing, and what you wish you would’ve known before you birthed your little bundle.

Did you plan and take your vitamins and do everything by the book, or were you surprised when you saw that second line appear on the test?

Amanda could say that her first two were planned, and the following two were surprises, wanted surprises, but surprises all the same. Ally could say that none of hers were planned, the first was a huge surprise, and after that she just resigned herself to getting pregnant each year.

Plenty of room for comments below if you’d like to share a little, or a lot, of your story!! We want to hear all that you have to say.

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Pre-Conception: Mental Prep

So, you’ve read through all the posts this month and you’re ready to have a baby. But we still have a couple days, so we’d like to cover just a couple more topics with you. Today, we would like to focus on the mindset of having a new baby, not to scare you, but to get real with you, so you know what to expect.

When Amanda and I got pregnant for the first time, we both thought we’d know exactly what to do. Amanda had watched her younger nieces and spent time as a nanny for a large family. Taking care of children was second nature to her. I felt much the same way, that I had helped to raise my baby brother and watched him several times, changed diapers, bottle-fed him, even gotten up at night with him. I knew that I would be just fine. And now, we sit back and laugh at our naivete.

There’s definitely something different about having your very own baby. You are responsible for every choice made for this little one that you created. This begins before conception even occurs, and if my grandparents are correct, it never, ever ends. Taking care of someone else’s child, you don’t have to make all the medical decisions, get to know every cry and babble to interpret it, get up all night, every night, until you’re utterly sleep deprived and in full-on “mombie” mode. Not truly, even as a live-in nanny.

So we highly suggest doing as much metal preparation as you can. Talk to other mothers, your sisters and other female family members, to find out what it was like for them. Read some quality parenting books. Not sure which ones to look for, reach out to us. We’d be glad to offer some suggestions about which ones really helped us, and which ones we had to weed out the rubbish. Get plenty of rest and take care of yourself, because those first few weeks of having a baby, you will become an afterthought to yourself and baby’s needs will rank much higher than your own.

We’d like to share with you an experience from each of us, just to let you know, you are not alone. You will make mistakes, you will have needs, you will have times that you wonder how you’ll make it through, and that’s all normal. If we could go back and have a conversation with ourselves, it would sound very much like this. Everything is a phase, and every phase eventually comes to an end. There are even apps that help explain these phases and keep you sane when your baby would like to do otherwise. You also have us. If you are reading this, we are here for you at any stage of pre-conception, pregnancy, and postpartum, to answer your questions and lend an ear.

Amanda:

“I hit a point at somewhere around 4 weeks postpartum that I felt hopeless and lost at what to do. My baby, Ella, wouldn’t stop crying despite all my attempts to walk with her, feed her, burp her, change her, everything the books said to do. I was getting frustrated beyond belief and was ready to take her back to the hospital. It wasn’t supposed to be this hard. I reached out to my mom, who gave me permission to lay her safely in her bed and take a break, walk outside onto the balcony, and give a both a couple minutes to cool off. I was putting too much pressure on myself as a mother, and I needed that voice of intervention to give me the okay. I wasn’t gone long, and my baby was safe, and when I returned to her, I was refreshed and ready to pour my love into my baby again. It was an important lesson and one that I needed to hear. Thanks, Mom!”

Ally:

My story starts with a midnight feeding and walking from baby’s room to my room and back again. This was about 2 weeks postpartum and I was sleep-deprived, stumbling, and ended up walking my beautiful newborn’s head into a doorframe. He was fine; it didn’t even leave a dent, but I was a wreck. Beat myself up for a day thinking about it, sure that I was the worst mother to ever walk the face of the planet, until I reached out to my sister. It was painful, confessing that I had done such a horrible thing, and you know what she did? She laughed. Her words were, “Is that all? That wasn’t a failure, us veteran moms call that initiation. Pretty sure we’ve all done it.” And in that moment, I knew it would all be okay, that we all make mistakes, and that I would be able to conquer this new mother thing. She gave me the forgiveness and the confidence I needed to carry on.

Reach out, ladies, don’t hold in your stories, or your feelings of hopelessness or failure. We are here for you!

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Pre-Conception: A Road Less Traveled

Conception doesn’t always occur under conventional methods, in fact, if often occurs through other planned methodologies. By conventional, we mean, good old-fashioned sex, with the sperm and the egg behaving the way they are supposed to. As society has changed, so have the ways of conception. There are so many more available ways for a woman to conceive now, and while everyone has an opinion on the increase of science and technology, you have to admit that at least some of these strides have made pregnancy available to women who otherwise would have had no other option.

Some women need extra assistance getting pregnant with their current male partner, some are single women, some are women in relationships with other women, and some women choose to just do things a different way for a multitude of reasons. No matter how you conceive a baby, whether it is being grown in your womb or in the uterus of another woman, it’s an amazing miracle of life.

So, if your conception journey contains a stream of initials (IUI, ICI, IVF, etc…), or fertility medications, or surrogacy, or a sperm donor, or the adoption of a frozen embryo, we’ve got your back!! We celebrate you and your journey, however you have chosen to bring a life into this world. Choosing an unconventional path, or having it choose you, is not yet mainstream and sometimes may be a difficult trek. Reach out to us if you’d like, and we would be glad to talk with you, or better yet, listen to you. If we can’t answer your questions, we know some great resources who can.

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Pre-Conception: Sex Prediction

So you want to try for a child of a specific sex? We’ve got loads of old wives’ tales to share with you to attempt for one or the other, but when it comes down to it, your baby’s sex will be determined by the sperm that reaches the egg and penetrates it first, plain and simple. That being said, these are all fun to try, and no one said practice wouldn’t make perfect.

If you want a BOY:

  • Have sex as close to ovulation as possible. Sperm that carry the “Y” chromosome are thought to be faster swimmers, but they don’t live as long as those that carry the “X.” So give them the best chance by cutting it as close as you can to ovulation.
  • Women should stay in a horizontal position, or with hips elevated, for at least 30 minutes after intercourse to allow the faster swimmers the chance to get a great head start.
  • Focus on his pleasure instead of hers. If he climaxes before you do, supposedly you have a greater chance of having a boy. Maybe he’ll enjoy the chance to not be the sensitive lover for once.
  • Have sex on the odd days of the month.
  • Have sex at night.
  • Three months prior to conception, when the sperm are just beginning to develop, make sure that dad gets lots of love, self-care, and is pretty chill. The less stress hormone, the less “X” chromosomes a man will make, giving you a better chance of having a boy

If you want a GIRL:

  • Have sex three to four days before ovulation and then remain abstinent until after ovulation. Sperm that carry the “X” chromosome are thought to live longer, giving them time to hang out in the fallopian tubes, just waiting on an egg. They don’t swim as fast as those that carry the “Y,” but it won’t matter when they’re already next to the finish line when the race starts.
  • Women should be on top, or have intercourse in a standing position, to prevent the fast “Y” swimmers from gaining the advantage. Apparently gravity slows them down and evens the playing field for the slower, stronger “X” sperm.
  • Focus on her pleasure instead of his. If you climax before he does, supposedly you have a greater chance of having a girl. Maybe this is why there are more males in the global population than females.
  • Have sex on the even days of the month.
  • Have sex between sunrise and sunset.
  • Three months prior to conception, when the sperm are just beginning to develop, if Dad is feeling stressed, overworked, and underappreciated, you are more likely to have a girl. The more stress hormone, the more “X” chromosomes a man will make, giving you a better chance of having a girl. Now, I’m not saying stress him out on purpose, but if he’s a pretty high-strung guy, you may be conceiving a baby girl.

All these tips may be fun to read, and even to try, but when it comes down to it, we can give you your odds of having your preferred gender.  It’s still pretty much a 50/50 shot every time.  Both Amanda and Ally have children of both sexes and we find that we love them all, and no matter the sex, they are amazing, unique individuals with personalities and talents all their own.  Don’t hold on too tightly to your preference, you might be surprised.  

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Pre-Conception: Too Much of a Good Thing

Most couples trying to conceive think that the more sexual encounters they have, the better chance of conception occurring. Seems accurate enough, right? It couldn’t be further from the truth. Having daily sex (or more than once a day for you overachievers) actually lowers the amount of semen and sperm available to reach the egg.

Providers recommend waiting at least one day, if not two, in between sexual encounters in order for men to store up more sperm and seminal fluid. So how does this play into all the tracking and charting that we’ve been telling you about? Once you know your cycle, if it’s regular anyway, you will be able to choose your days wisely. If you know you have your LH surge on day 13, and you ovulate on day 14, we would recommend abstaining from sex from day 1 until day 10 and then having intercourse on days 10, 12, 14, and 16. Remember that with healthy cervical mucus, sperm can live in the female reproductive tract for up to 72 hours, just hanging out, waiting on an egg. This whole theory may seem counter-intuitive, but coming from two midwives with eleven children between them, we can assure you it works. Then, the rest of the month, do whatever you feel like.

Let’s take a minute and just talk about healthy sperm and seminal fluid. We would never assume that an infertility issue is ever with the woman, it’s honestly about 50/50. So, while you are doing all this preparing for conception, your partner needs to be doing some too. Major lifestyle choices that negatively affect sperm count and health include poor diet/obesity, alcohol, smoking and street drugs, lack of exercise, and excessive heat to the genital area. So healthy choices and some comfortable boxers are in order for him. Maybe break that to him before you tell him that your daily routine has just moved to an every other day occurrence.

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Pre-Conception: Daddy Determination

Whether your baby is born with a penis or a vagina depends solely upon dear old dad. Did you hear that ladies? Your baby’s sex is determined by the chromosome that is passed on from the sperm, not from the egg. So the old adage of a man wanting a woman who will give him only sons is utter nonsense since he is the determining factor in the sex of the child. Just remind him when your son is peeing up the wall, or your daughter is in tears due to teenage heartbreak, he’s the one that chose the gender.

Sex is determined by a pair of chromosomes. The mother of the child always donates an “X” chromosome to the pair. The father contributes either another “X” chromosome or a “Y” chromosome. If the father adds another “X,” the resulting child will have female genitalia when born. A “Y” chromosome results in male genitalia.

These sex chromosomes contribute more than just genitalia, however. They also determine hormone production and the full reproductive tract development. We will cover that more in our series on second trimester happenings, as sex chromosomes begin their external differentiation during that time.

Are there ways to determine which chromosome a man will pass on? Well, yes and no. There are several old wives tales on how to produce a baby of a certain sex, but ultimately sex is determined by the chromosome passed on, whatever it may be, and you have very little control over that. But the old wives tales are fun to apply so tune in to the blog tomorrow for that post.

There are currently many scientific trials that are splicing genes or separating sperm to control that only the sperm with the desired chromosome have the chance to penetrate the egg. These procedures are currently exorbitantly expensive and not available in the United States. So, in our current time, I guess you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. How many of you would want to be able to decide that? Leave your comments below!!

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Pre-Conception: Ovulation Predictor Tests

In our miniseries of learning about your body’s ovulation cycle, we need to look at the newest trend of ovulation prediction kits. These are very similar to pregnancy tests, in that you pee on a stick and wait to see if a line presents itself. Ovulation predictors aren’t testing for hCG, however, they are testing for luteinizing hormone, also called LH. This is the hormone that your body produces just before ovulation to tell your ovaries that it’s time for the big event, the release of an egg.

Unlike pregnancy tests, with predictor kits, brands and quality matter quite a bit. The more expensive brands definitely deliver a much better product. Some are 99% accurate, while the cheaper varieties can be as low as 24% accurate. If you decide to add these kits to your ovulation tracking routine, make sure you do your research, read the reviews, and get a brand that won’t be a waste of your time, money, and urine. Reading them is another matter. Some companies have a simple yes or no, but many of the tests have you compare one line to another, trying to decide if yours is as wide, or as dark, or as long as the original. You will want to know how to read the test prior to purchase and make sure it fits in with your comfort level.

There are many drawbacks to ovulation predictors, and to be honest, we aren’t big fans of them, but they do provide one more assurance if used along with BBT charting and cervical mucus tracking. If you need information on those two, they were featured on this page within the last couple days. Just scroll down a bit and you’ll find what you need.

Your body may have a surge of LH (the hormone that the predictor tests for) for a day or two, or it could only be for an hour or two. Most tests recommend testing at least twice a day, starting from about day 10 of your cycle until you get a positive reading. That is a lot of testing, and each test can run anywhere from a couple dollars to upwards of $20. That adds up for a family already saving for a new baby.

Technology can give you a false sense of security sometimes. As we mentioned earlier, paying attention to the changes in your body is important as these predictor tests are not always accurate and you would hate to miss your ovulation window due to technical difficulties. Predictor kits should always be used in combination with other methods.

An LH surge does signal the body to ovulate, but sometimes your ovaries may be stubborn and not release an egg. So just because the prediction kit says you are close to ovulation, you may not actually ovulate. If you have been trying to achieve a pregnancy for more than one year, it is time to see a provider who will be able to perform further testing. Please don’t rely on predictor kits for assurance of ovulation, only of an indication of the LH surge.

All that being said, predictor kits have their place and can help you set your mind at ease about your charting and tracking skills. And you know how good things always come in threes… You may want to try all three, BBT charting, cervical mucus tracking, and predictor kits for a month or two to determine your cycle and give you a better understanding of your body and when intercourse may be most successful in producing a baby.

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Pre-Conception: Basal Body Temperature

Today, we start looking at ways to track ovulation cycles. There are quite a few ways, but the most reliable that we have found is by charting your basal body temperature each day. Your basal body temperature (BBT) is the lowest temperature that your body attains each night during rest. It is the most accurate temperature to chart. Your BBT will fluctuate as you move through the different phases of your reproductive cycle and is a key indicator for the day of ovulation.

How It’s Done:

Before tracking your BBT, you will want to print a chart. There are many resources online to find them, but here is a very user-friendly one that we like. To take your basal body temperature, you will want to buy a basal thermometer. The difference between this and a regular thermometer is that a basal one is accurate to 0.1 F. Ovulation changes are noticeable, but slight, so having the most accurate thermometer is important.

When you wake in the morning, you will want to take your temperature before doing anything else. The slightest activity, such as getting up and using the restroom, or drinking a sip of water, will alter your basal temperature. So just roll over and take your temperature. Then record the number on the chart and begin your daily routine. Over the course of 30 days, your chart should look like this.

BBT Chart

You will probably be measuring your temperature in Fahrenheit, but you can see the way the graph will look. At the time of ovulation, your BBT will be at its’ lowest point, anywhere from 0.2 to 0.4 degrees lower than previous numbers. This is the day to start trying for conception. Your BBT will rise just after ovulation, sometimes a whole degree, and decrease again just before menstruation. Ovulation normally occurs around the 14th day after the first day of your period, but all women are different and you may find that you ovulate on day 12 or 21. That’s why tracking your BBT can be so very helpful.

Every method of tracking ovulation has drawbacks, which is why we suggest using a few of them simultaneously, so that if one fails, the others will help to confirm ovulation. The drawbacks of the BBT include:

  • User Error – if you are not consistently taking your temperature before doing anything else, this method will not work for you. And let’s face it, sometimes the urgency to pee supersedes your desire to take your temperature.
  • Illness – if your body temperature is elevated due to illness or infection, you will not be able to use this charting method because the temperatures will not be accurate
  • Commitment – if you do not commit to an entire cycle, this method will not work for you. This means being able to take your temperature every morning after resting, so if you have an erratic sleep schedule like we do, this may be difficult. It also means taking your thermometer and chart with you on family vacations and holiday trips.

We hope that you attempt BBT charting at least one month, even if you are not desiring a baby at this moment or ever. As women, it’s great to get to know your body, to know your cycle, and to know your moods and how they change with the phases. If you choose to keep a chart, we’d love for you to send us a picture of your month. We’ll show you ours if you show us yours.

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Pre-Conception: What are the Chances?

So you’re ready to try to have a baby? By now, we’ve talked you through priming your body with better nutrition, supplements, exercise, a good support group, and less stress. Now it’s time to get down to the business of getting pregnant. No, we won’t be providing step-by-step instructions (we think you probably know that), but we would like to provide a little encouragement about conception.

Did you know that even in the best circumstances, in perfect health, and on the exact day of ovulation, with a partner with the highest quality sperm, you still only have a 15-20% chance of conceiving a baby? We don’t say this to discourage you, but to encourage you. If you don’t conceive the first cycle of trying, that’s normal and doesn’t mean anything in reference to infertility.

The sheer number of processes that have to happen before that first cell division are monumental. If you have ever wondered about it, or are wondering now, our favorite film over the subject is called Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. You can also contact us to borrow one of our copies. After watching the film, we honestly are amazed that babies are ever created to begin with and it definitely lets you know that each and every baby born is a little miracle.

All this to say, don’t worry if you don’t get pregnant this month, or next month. Have fun in trying to conceive and don’t stress yourself out by focusing just on a baby. Over the next few days, we will be sharing some secrets about conception that you will want to tune in for!! See you then.

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