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TTC: Please help a seriously clueless beginner

(12 Posts)
stillstanding Tue 02-Sep-08 16:28:46

DH and I have been TTC for about 5 months now without success.

We were incredibly lucky with DS who was conceived about 5 mins (well maybe 20 minsgrin) after we thought about trying and so we never really had to think about it first time round.

No. 2 is proving a bit trickier. I am nearly 34 which is obviously a factor but was hoping you might have some good tips for me on how to increase my chances? I have used Clearblue ovulation sticks for the last couple of months which were helpful in that I was ovulating much later than I thought I was but still no success. Should I get one of those fertility monitors? Should we be going at it day and night on the two days around ovulation or is it better to save ourselves for a couple of good sessions? Anything else that has worked for you/should be avoided?

(Apologies for these unbelievably basic questions. I tried to find helpful hints in other threads but am such a beginner I couldn't understand any of the jargon!)

summerwhatsummer Tue 02-Sep-08 16:51:31

Hi - this TTC business is complicated isn't it. Me and DH have been trying for over a year now. We've got pregnant three times but sadly had three early miscarriages too. But we're still at it and I think I've got to understand the process and my cycles a bit during all of it.

The thing I look out for is ECWM (extra wet cervical mucus) - i.e. looks like egg whites and is very stretchy (much more so than sperm!). From what I understand, you should have as much sex as you can when you have that. I'm never sure if having EWCM means you are about to ovulate or you are ovulating but as it tends to be there for a few days I just insist that me and DH have sex at least every day over that period. I also try to have sex every three days during the rest of the cycle though don't get too obsessed or bothered if we don't always manage it.

I also try to lie down for about 20 mins after sex and if I'm feeling particularly insane or energetic a quick shoulder stand to the sperm get to where they ought to be going!

Apart from that I don't do anything. Its worked three times so far for me (my problem seems to be keeping them), so think I'll just carry on that way for now. I'm trying to be as relaxed as possible so have purposely stayed away from temping, ovulation sticks etc but I am starting to wonder if they might be a good idea...

Good luck with it!

stillstanding Tue 02-Sep-08 16:57:57

Thank you, Summer - that is very helpful. I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriages and hope that everything works out perfectly for you soon.

Will definitely keep a look out for that ECWM and start working on my shoulder stands wink

One other question: Apart from the obvious fun factor why do you try to have sex every three days during the rest of your cycle?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Sep-08 17:13:27

Ovulation is not an exact science (it certainly does not always occur on the 14th day) and it is also possible to have a period without ovulating.

Has the nature of your periods changed?. If they have become more painful and or irregular over time it is better to seek medical advice sooner rather than later.

Generally speaking women over 35 should seek advice if they have been trying for 6 months or more without success.

Would not bother with a fertility monitor particularly in the scenario that periods are more irregular; these things can cause more anxiety apart from anything else.

Headstands and or legs in the air/lying still post intercourse are myths!. Enough sperm will get to the cervix from where it cannot escape, its progress is not helped any more by being upside down!.

Sex two or three times a week throughout the cycle is fine. Do not rigourously time intercourse, make love instead when you both feel like it.

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 02-Sep-08 17:16:19

Hi summer

I was very sorry to read of your early miscarriages. I sincerely hope you received and continue to receive support if you so need it (I have heard good things about the Miscarriage Association).

Have you not been referred to a specialist miscarriage unit?. At the very least this should be happening now, your GP should refer you as a couple.


summerwhatsummer Tue 02-Sep-08 17:18:36

because you never know...I hear so many stories of people conceiving at completely random periods in their cycles and so as sperm can and tends to live for about 72 hours (I think) and sometimes longer, I like to make sure there's a good chance of some swimming around just in case an egg pops out! But like I said, I don't get too bothered if we don't always manage this.

Fingers crossed for you.

summerwhatsummer Tue 02-Sep-08 17:22:07

hi - post above was in response to still standing's question.

Atilla - yes, I have been referred now. We had blood tests the other day and I've got to have a scan in the next few weeks. But the person we saw was pretty optimistic for us and told us to keep trying while we waited for our results. It was such a relief to see someone and going there kind of renewed our interest in ttc.

mags98 Tue 02-Sep-08 18:27:51

The main reason for having sex throughout the cycle is because it is fun and helps keep your relationship close and not just about sex on demand for a baby. Never lose sight of that. Also very importantly it means that you are not so anxious about doing it exactly at the time you are ovulating - sperm can live for several days so if they are always around you don't have to worry about timing and avoid the 'come home darling I'm ovluating' stress!

stillstanding Tue 02-Sep-08 19:39:17

Good advice on the sex all through the cycle - I fear I have been a bit handsoff thinking that our chances would be increased if we "saved" it for ovulation day. Will get back on that wagon (so to speak). DH will be pleased!

Attila, my periods are much the same as they used to be: regular as clockwork though (especially in the first 6 months after I got them) probably a bit heavier so would hope that's not the problem.

I am really interested in what you said about it being possible to have a period without ovulating. I didn't know that ... I am still breastfeeding (just the nightfeed so very light) but had thought that since I was getting my period and getting smiling faces on my ovulation sticks I was ok to continue with it ... perhaps I should stop?

AnnasBananas Tue 02-Sep-08 21:15:03

Yes, assuming your dh has a normal sperm count (obviously nothing wrong there as you already have one dc!!) you don't have to 'save up' for ovulation day, if you want to have sex every day, every couple of days or twice a day it really doesn't make any difference.

The ovulation tests sticks are useful (and expensive, unfortunately) but the best indicator of approaching ovulation is the presence of highly fertile cervical mucus which resembles raw egg white - to put it bluntly your knickers will feel damp! The day you have the most watery, stretchy mucus will be your most fertile day. So definitely go for it that day!

It is possible to have a period with ovulating, it's called an anovulatory cycle, but in a normal healthy woman this only happens about once a year. If you want to check you are ovulating you can chart your cycle by taking your temperature every day, and you will see a (sustained) temp increase after ovulation.

(A friend who is undergoing IVF who has unexplained infertility was told by her clinic to have sex every second day from day 9-19 of your cycle - but I think that is very general advice, it wouldn't have helped me as I have a long cycle and often don't ovulate until day 21 or 22) Good luck with TTC

beanieb Tue 02-Sep-08 21:41:56

I disagree that fertility monitors can cause more anxiety. I have been using one (admittedly without an success yet) for about 6 months and I have found it reassuring, particularly when both my scan and my blood tests confirmed that I was ovulating when the monitor said.

mags98 Wed 03-Sep-08 13:42:45

Well reading the threads on here this issue clearly does cause a huge amount of anxiety for a lot of women. Personally, I find OPKs and fertility monitor reassuring, but not every one does. They are very useful to know what is going on with your cycle but this is not an alternative to lots of sex! Assuming no problem requiring fertility assistance etc the only way to get pregnant is to get sperm and egg together but it is surprising how often people seem to forget this!And so if they are actually encouraging some people to have LESS sex (ie saving it up) then they are actually likely to be reducing the chance of conception, not increasing it - not the idea at all.

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