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At Without Limits Health & Osteopathy Our highly skilled professionals are dedicated to providing our patient’s with knowledge and tools to succeed in living a healthy well balanced life, to be Without Limits.

Misconceptions about Conception

Conception for me was a bit of an ironic experience. I spent the majority of my reproductive years avoiding conception like the plague. Most months I would stress about the possibility of being pregnant, even though I was taking the pill. Had someone told me back then that it is actually quite hard to get pregnant (for some) and you really only have a few fertile days each month maybe I would have been a more relaxed 20 something-year-old! So given the fact that I had spent all these years avoiding conception, it was only natural to think the stress was over when my husband and I decided that we were ready to try for a baby. It was supposed to be exciting and fun, I mean isn’t that what everyone says, oh well it doesn’t matter if it takes a while you can have fun trying! Now if you are someone that has been trying for a while I am sure I just heard your eyes roll…..

Here was my internal reply as I brushed off comments that were meant to make me feel better and said with the best of intentions.
“Fun…. really! knowing exactly when you ovulate and the precise days that you are “suppose” to have sex, with an enormous amount of building pressure each month it doesn’t happen, and I am supposed to relax and have fun…”

Scheduled sex is never fun. Sex with added pressure also doesn’t equate to a happy home. Each month the week of ovulation would roll by and you could feel our house building tension and without fail we were doomed to have arguments, I am sure we are not alone in this. Not to mention the internal biological clock that even strangers are not afraid to remind you of, because yes women are having children later, because they choose to, because they may have been to uni for a bunch of years or wanting to get a head start in their careers, go travelling before having time off to have babies and priorities change forever. This is the reality of society today and I don’t regret any of my choices but I still heard phrases like this….. “Well don’t leave it too late time is ticking.” Tick tock, tick tock…….

I think the most confronting scenario I was faced with happened to be at 5 am in the morning. I was at squad swimming training and I had been turning up sporadically but attempting to go once a week. I was really trying to listen to my body and not over exercise or do anything too intense. Intense exercise can overheat the body and isn’t great when you are trying to conceive. Anyway, I had been copping a bit of flak by a certain male squad member, which was totally harmless and a bit of fun as he had no idea why I was so unreliable with my attendance. But one morning at 5am this particular squad member asked me when I was having children.  A harmless yet very personal question, we were embarking on over 2 years of trying at this point, and I had been utterly disappointed by my last period and was in the process of preparing mentally to perhaps go down the road of IVF, which I was reluctant to do as I have seen first hand as a practitioner how hard mentally, physically and emotionally the whole process is.

So I just shrugged and tried to brush off the comment, but he proceeded to do the math on my life….
“So you have been married now for what…. 3 years? And you have the dog…. didn’t you buy your first home last year?” And the conversation went on and on without me saying a word, just quietly dying inside. Of course, he had no idea and his intention was not to hurt me, but it did and I haven’t been back to that squad training since.

I also got asked by a fellow male Water Polo player that was a few years my senior if my husband was shooting blanks……. Yes, I know true story!

That was by far the most outrageous thing that was said to me and it wasn’t long after the swim squad incidence but thankfully I happened to be pregnant and not telling anyone at that stage. He didn’t really catch on to why I wasn’t drinking at the pub.

Although our struggle to conceive is thankfully over unfortunately there are many more who are about to embark on the same struggles or who are in the cloud already. I have written this blog largely to uncover some misconceptions about conception that isn’t really spoken about except perhaps behind closed doors. If you are suffering in silence then I hope this blog helps you, and I strongly urge you to break that silence because you are not alone. My husband and I tried for about 2 years before conceiving naturally, we had just booked our appointment with the fertility specialist the week before we found out we were pregnant, we are so very lucky as many have gone down that path and I take my hat off to each couple that has, because it isn’t easy. As someone that has had their own personal struggle with this, there are a few things that I did that I found helped but remember it did not happen overnight it took time, and everyone’s journey is different.

Firstly I personally avoided knowing exactly when I ovulated in the first year, perhaps I wasn’t quite ready, but I really did want to have fun trying and try not to make it a chore. In the end, I made things worse, because it did take so long and the main reason was that I knew around about the time I ovulated but not the exact day, and it turns out I ovulate quite early and timing is everything.

So what did I do to find out?

You can buy ovulation kits at the chemist that work just like a pregnancy test, they have strips that you pee on to tell you when you ovulate you start on about day 9 of your cycle and do it every day until it tells you which day you ovulated. I recommend doing this for a couple of months to make sure you have the day. Now when you are finding out when you ovulate perhaps don’t have an expectation of getting pregnant on those two months as by the time the line appears to say your ovulating your chances have diminished because it is the days before you ovulate that count the most, which you can see on most fertility app’s. Glow was the one I found most useful, the problem was I was two days out on my ovulation date so our timing was all wrong.

So now you know your ovulation date use your fertility app to guide you as to what days you need to be aware of in your cycle in the upcoming months and keep some free time to get busy with your partner. If you are struggling with an irregular cycle then seeing a practitioner or specialist may help you to work out when you ovulate.

Whilst you are working out when you ovulate as I am sure you have heard before your nutrition is so important but your male counterparts nutrition is also important if not more important, so get him on board too and do it together. You don’t have to stress yourself out and make strict changes as you need to be prepared for this to take time, sometimes it is the small things that count that most, don’t forget that.

Stress is a factor that will influence your fertility more often than not. Stress played a big factor for me, I was running a clinic treating 5 days a week, long hours and then add pressure and stress at home because we weren’t getting pregnant and not getting along as a result, so I decided to hire another Osteopath and treat only 3 days a week so I could work on myself and the business the other 2 days and gosh that made a difference, I believe was a big contributing factor to us finally conceiving. Having things in place to manage your stress will be very important. That may be as simple as cutting back on your social calendar if work is busy and you have no control over it. Make sure you have time for you.

Lastly, ladies, this one is usually not on top of the priority list for the majority and it should be. Preparing physically to carry a baby in your belly is very important, pregnancy places a lot of stress on the body and how prepared you are physically before you get pregnant can influence how you carry and recovery postpartum.

Some women leave it until they get pregnant to start pelvic floor exercises and pilates and in my opinion, they have started too late, you are trying to strengthen your body whilst there are so many changes going on that you will always be behind.

So my advice is to use this pre-conception time to start preparing your body physically to carry a baby, and in my opinion, pilates is the best form of exercise to help with the following which will be important during pregnancy:

-Pelvic floor strength
-Pelvic Alignment
-Spinal stability
-General strength and flexibility

At the end of the day, the conception journey can be easy for some and extremely difficult for others. For those couples whose journey takes longer and poses more challenges it can often leave couples feeling isolated when more often than not you are not alone, it is important to have support around you and your partner in this time to help you on your journey to conception, which is always a little miracle. To all those couples trying for a little miracle, I wish you and your partner lots of love, light, and laughter on your journey.
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