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Simple Aids That Improve Success

As always we advise seeking the help of a Fertility Specialist to guide you depending on you and your partners needs to help improving chances of natural conception but these are a few ways that can help.

Make Lifestyle Changes

The importance of your body being Fertility ready is a big factor.  This is the case for both the female and male partner.  See the ‘Holistic Fertility Guide’ in this APP by Marie Belin which helps you achieve your chances of conceiving through making changes to your lifestyle.  These changes can help improve the quality of your Eggs and the quality of your Partners Sperm as well as your general Reproductive Health.  Some of these key measures include:

  • Eating Healthily and Boosting Foods that are known to have a positive effect on Fertility
  • Removing toxic substances from your diet and environment
  • Keeping up with exercise
  • Helpful Supplements

Ovulation Tracking with Test Sticks

In your Menstrual cycle is the ‘Fertile Window’ which is the time your egg will be released by your ovaries into the uterus (ovulation) and then is ready to be fertilised by sperm.  Therefore timed sex to happen in this fertile window is crucial so that the sperm is ejaculated into the vagina where it will travel along the fallopian tubes into the uterus and has a chance for one of sperm to fertilise the egg.

You can use ovulation sticks to help track this fertile time.   The work like Pregnancy testing sticks with using your urine but instead of detecting an increase in the Pregnancy hormone HCG which happens with Pregnancy they detect an increase (surge) in a hormone called Luteinising Hormone (LH) in your urine.   The LH surge occurs approximately 24-36 hours prior to the release of the egg from your ovaries.  You are at your most fertile the day your LH surge is detected and the day after. 

Below shows an example of using the LH surge as a guide and also how to work out when you should start testing with the Ovulation sticks depending on your menstrual cycle.   If you have irregular cycles it is recommended to use your shortest menstrual cycle as the indicator or alternatively seek help from a Fertility Specialist who may be able to help regulate your menstrual cycles better.

Example of How Ovulation Tests Find Your Most Fertile Time

Below is an example of how the testing sticks predict the most fertile time with someone who has an LH surge around the 14-15 day time during their Menstrual Cycle.  This fertile time will vary between individuals and the table below shows when to start testing depending on YOUR menstrual cycle to find out YOUR most fertile time.  This table is a guide and can vary with different Ovulation Testing Produts – always refer to the leaflet provided with the testing product you choose to work out when to test.

When to Start Testing Depending on Your Menstrual Cycle

Ovulation Tracking Using Your Body Temperature & Cervical Mucous

There are methods such as monitoring your skin temperature and cervical mucous that can help predict when your most fertile time is.  You are most likely to get pregnant the day of ovulation and up to 5 days before it.   Your body temperature may dip a bit before ovulation (egg release) and then will rise 24 hours after the ovulation and stay rised for several days.  This method is not possible to use if you have irregular menstrual cycles.

Before ovulation a womans temperature averages between 35.5°C (97°F) and 36.6°C (97.5°F).

24 hours after ovulation a womans temperature rises between 1/2 degree to 1 degree above the usual temperature and stays rised for a few days

So how can you use this to predict your most fertile time?  

  1. Start checking your temperature daily using a Thermometer, Tracking Watch or Oura Ring from a few days after your 1st day of menstruation.
  2. Make sure same time every morning – first thing in the morning is best after being at full rest during sleeping.
  3. Note the day of your menstrual cycle that your temperature rises 1/2 degree to 1 degree – ideally you want to track this over at least 3 menstrual cycles to ensure remains the same each time
  4. Aim to make love during the few days before and during these temperature rise days.  For example if you found your temperature was raised on days 13, 14 and 15 of your menstrual cycle then you want to have unprotected sex on days 8 to 15 of your cycle to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

You can also track the consistency of your Cervical Mucous alongside this temperature tracking.  By inserting your fingers into your vagina and removing some discharge then pulling between your fingers.  If it feels slippery and has a similar consistency to raw egg white this is the time that you are likely in your Fertile period and soon to ovulate.

Avoid Lubricants that Affect Fertility

There is a fair amount of research on lubricants out there and a large number of them have been found to cause decreased mobility of the sperm and some even kill the sperm.  It would appear that Natural Oil based lubricants such as Baby Oil, Canola & Mustard Oil have the least impact on sperm motility and vitality.  Silicone Based Lubricants can impact the sperm but not as significantly as Water Based Lubricants.  Unfortunately there are some lubricants out there claiming to be Fertility Friendly which have been tested and found to be harmful to the sperm.

So how can you be sure what you are using is safe?  There should be no harmful ingredients like Silicone or Petroleum and also they should have a neutral PH about 7 which matches the pH of the semen and cervical fluid.  To ensure you are maximising your chances ensure that you use a Fertility Friendly Lubricant which has been approved to be safe by the FDA.  2 examples are Pre-Seed and Conceive Plus.

Stopping Intercourse Being Painful

Pain during intercourse is not uncommon and may hinder amount of times you can try if find it unpleasant.   There are simple measures that can be taken to see if they can help but advise to have a Medical Check up to rule out any Medical Conditions causing the pain.  There can be a number of causes such as:

  • Vaginismus which is a condition that causes involuntary clenching or spasms of the muscles around the entrance to the vagina making penetration painful or impossible – a Women’s Health (Pelvic Health) Physiotherapist can help with this condition.  See our FIND section to locate one near you.  In the meantime you may find that trying a Home Insemination Kit is more comfortable – see below.
  • Vaginal Dryness – making sure to take time over foreplay to increase self lubrication is important and there are vaginal moisturisers that can help as well as lubricants to use during intercourse (make sure one that is conception friendly – see lubricant section above).  Some find that wearing an Estrogen Patch can help reduce Vaginal Dryness – consult your Medical Provider or Fertility Specialist to advise on this
  • Medical Conditions – there are a number of conditions that can cause Vaginal Dryness – some being Endometriosis,  Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, Infection, Genital Injury, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Ovarian Cysts, STD’s, Cystitis, Bacterial Vaginosis, Vulvodynia, Skin Conditions – this is why having a check with your Medical Provider is important to help rule out any Medical Conditions and offer appropriate treatments
  • Emotional Factors – if you are unable to relax then can result in intercourse being painful – see below on Helping Emotional Barriers

Home Insemination

Having Sex on demand is not always the easiest for many couples.   There may be issues for the Female in not being able to relax or for the Male in being able to have an erection or being able to ejaculate.   Home insemination kits can help with these issues by collecting the sperm into a cup and then self injecting the sperm into your vagina within an hour of sperm collection.  There are a number of different brands available if search for Home Insemination Kits.  The images below are from 2 companies that sell Home Insemination kits –  Two Plus Fertility and Frida.

Helping Emotional Barriers

It is common for emotional issues to get in the way of having successful sex.   When having sex on demand it can often make sex not the experience you are used to and enjoy.   Try some of the tips below to help improve the mood.   If still finding issues it would be worth seeing a Sex Therapist as a couple who can help you talk through any barriers that may be leading to issues such as not being able to relax as a female or for men not being able to have an erection or ejaculate during sex.

Tips to Improve the Mood

  1. Communicate with your Partner – talk about each others needs and desires
  2. Try Something Different – play around with foreplay, try sextoys, different positions, different places
  3. Take Your Time – don’t miss the foreplay – will help to get you both in the mood and make it a more pleasurable experience
  4. Use Friendly Lubricants – ones proven by FDA to be safe include Pre Seed and Conceive Plus
  5. Preempt with Relaxation – try a bath together or sensual massage
  6. Invest in New Lingerie
  7. Practice your Pelvic Floor Exercises – both activating and relaxing – being able to relax the vagina will help to make sex more comfortable and being able to activate the muscles can help improve blood flow and make it easier to reach orgasm

Women's Health Physiotherapist

Womens Health Physios / Pelvic Health Physios can help females with issues such as tightness and vaginal spasms (Vaginissimus) down below that makes sex painful or penetration difficult.  For males they can also help with improving ability to have erections by working on any dysfunctions of the pelvic floor muscles that may be contributing.

Follicle and Ovulation Stimulating Medications

There are certain medications that can help infertility by stimulating the pituitary gland to release hormones that support and stimulate the growth and release of a mature egg (ovulation).  A Fertility Specialist will be able to help advise on whether medications may be of help to you.

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