This episode is from Season 2 of the Juna Women Podcast. Season 2 is about planning your family. This is Episode 01 – How To Get Pregnant.
This episode features Dr. Elizabeth Kane from Natalist and Lindsay Meisel from Ava Women. Both are experts in fertility and reproduction.
For many of us getting pregnant is something we spend the majority of our formative years actively trying to avoid.
Whether that’s through the pill, or condoms, or pulling out — which is effective about 78% of the time — we have a lot of experience with NOT getting pregnant.
But when it comes time to actually make a baby, we don’t really know the how, when, and why it all comes to together.
In fact, as Dr. Elizabeth Kane tells us, nearly 5 out of every 6 women who get pregnant, had no pre-conception care from a Doctor, whatsoever:
“There’s this big knowledge gap and this survey was done by the CDC and they found that only 1 in 6 women had pre-conception care from their OBGYN.”
Birth Control Myths:
There are a lot of misconceptions about birth control. Many companies sell birth control cleanses and lots of women believe they need to detox from birth control. There is no scientific evidence to support those claims or any birth control cleanses. To put it simply, as soon as you stop birth control and as soon as you period and ovulation cycle starts, you can get pregnant. Does this mean you will? Not necessarily, but it doesn’t mean you can’t.
Trying to get pregnant is all about timing. When we’re young and in sex ed we are taught you are guaranteed to get pregnant from one mishappen night. You’re really only fertile for six days out of your cycle. That 6-day window is called the fertile window. The fertile window is defined by the day you ovulate. It closes on the day you ovulate. The fertile window is the 5 days before you ovulate, plus the day you ovulate.
Finding Your Fertile Window Using Ovulation Tests / Trackers:
Luteinizing hormone is a hormone produced in your brain and it signals to your ovaries that it’s time to release an egg. When you have a lot of luteinizing hormone in your urine, you’re going to ovulate in 12-24 hours.
Ovulation trackers and tests are designed to help you find that fertile window. Here’s how the process works:
Step 1: Figure out how long your cycle is
Step 2: From that number you figure out what day in your cycle you need to start testing. In a perfect world, you would ovulate on day 14 of your cycle, which means your fertile window is on days 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14.
Step 3) Pee on the ovulation test, if you have a lot of luteinizing hormone in your urine, you know you’re going to ovulate within 12-24 hours.
Step 4) Have unprotected sex.
Using Cervical Mucus To Confirm Ovulation
Cervical mucus is secreted by glands found in and around the cervix. Hormonal changes throughout a woman’s reproductive cycle change the amount and consistency of this mucus. Cervical mucus may also be called cervical fluids.
The job of cervical mucus is to either:
- Prevent things from entering the uterus through the cervix
- To nourish and help transport sperm through the cervix into the uterus
- Fertile cervical mucus is a clue that ovulation is coming. Your vaginal discharge is fertile when it resembles raw egg whites. This is the best time to have sex if you want to get pregnant.
When you get a positive ovulation test and you check your cervical mucus to confirm it’s the consistency of raw egg whites, you are in the optimal baby making window.
What If I’m Not Getting Pregnant?
We get into this question more on Season 02, Episode 02 with an OBGYN Reproductive Endocrinologist. The general rule is to have unprotected sex for 12 months if you’re under 35 and for 6 months if you’re over 35 before seeking fertility help.
Here is Lindsay Meisel on her unique thoughts on the stress associated with making a baby:
“It’s so vulnerable to say, Okay now I want to have a baby. Up until now in our lives we’ve had control over most of decisions we’ve made and we say we want something we take the steps to get it. And you don’t have that [with getting pregnant]. You’re leaving it up to nature and there’s this element of uncertainty there. To want something so bad and admit there’s no guarantee when or whether you’ll get it. It’s okay for that to be a little stressful.”
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Featured in this episode:
Head of Content, Ava Women
Chief Scientific Officer, Natalist
Dr. Elizabeth Kane is the Chief Scientific Officer at Natalist, where she heads up product development and R&D. She develops new products and educational content that serve people at an important time in their lives—when they are creating a family. Her background at the bench informs her evidence-first product development philosophy.
Dr. Liz earned her Ph.D. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from Harvard University and her BA in Biology from New York University. Before coming to Natalist, she was a Junior Fellow at The Rowland Institute at Harvard.
Natalist is offering Juna Podcast listeners $5 off their first order. Use code Juna5.