You might have “practiced” the art of baby making for quite a while. But have you actually tried to make a real baby? What does it mean when a couple says they’re “trying”, besides jettisoning the condoms, scheduling free time, and practicing your “sore throat” voice for calling in sick to work. No one teaches you the nitty gritty of baby making in sixth grade sex ed classes. So, here are some of the finer points.
First of all, your chances of conceiving decrease if the two of you are under stress. Frequent travelling, major life changes, a long sickness, being vetted for the Supreme Court, running a start up with a gazillion hours weekly, are terrible for getting one “in the mood.” If the body is under stress, it’s in the primitive “fight or flight” response, and it’s not exactly in the mood to reproduce. So to improve your chances, decrease your stress level by eating well, sleeping well, staying healthy and relaxed, and treating your body right. If you are chronically overworked, you may consider decreasing or delegating your responsibilities. If this isn’t possible, force your body to relax with exercise, yoga, massage or acupuncture. Also, quit smoking, drink no more than two glasses of alcohol daily and avoid hot tubs and hot baths (showers are fine).
Like many things in life, timing is everything. Eighty percent of pregnancies occur when sex takes place before or during ovulation, which is the time when a woman’s ovary releases an egg for fertilization. But how to tell when ovulation is occurring? The most accurate way would be with an “ovulation predictor kit” purchased at any drugstore. Like a pregnancy test, it uses urine to determine if ovulation is about to occur. The old-fashioned method, which also works well, would be to pay attention to her basal body temperature. To do this, she should take her temperature first thing in the morning, for a string of consecutive days during the middle of her monthly cycle. There should be a dip in her temperature, followed by a rise. This indicates ovulation.
Once you know that the egg is on its way, intercourse is best performed every other day. Men need time between ejaculations to “reload”, and daily intercourse may not give a man enough time to do so (sorry guys). As for the act itself, studies have shown that no particular position is best. Research is suggesting that the two of you can bend yourselves into pretzels, if desired, with no effect on your chances of conceiving or on the gender of the child.
Baby making is a special experience. And, it’s fun! As Woody Allen said in the movie Annie Hall, ”…sex is the most fun I ever had without laughing.” If you think about it, what I am suggesting is that you and your partner make it a habit to take the best care of yourselves, just as you are going to take the best care of your child. Set the example for the new family and enjoy the ride!