How Sex at the Right Time Increases A Couple's Chances of Achieving Pregnancy

By Dr. Okechukwu Amako, MBBS (Ibadan)
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Every now and then some couples complain of not seeing the results of the consummation of their marriage especially 9 months after. Although the woman not getting pregnant after 9 months of marriage may be a sign that something could be medically wrong with either of the couple or both, this conclusion of something being wrong is not made until it is exactly one year after the couple's marriage.

Even when the couple has gone one year in the marriage and there is no sign of pregnancy, the reason may still not be a medical problem (because the man and the woman are probably medically fine). The problem here could be that this couple might have been going about sex the wrong way when it comes to achieving pregnancy. Naturally, about 6 out every 10 couple will likely achieve pregnancy within 6 months of their marriage; by the end of the first year of marriage, approximately 9 out of every 10 couples achieve pregnancy. The remaining 1 couple can be said to have an infertility problem and therefore need a comprehensive medical evaluation.
How can couples, especially newly married ones, maximize their chances of achieving pregnancy?

1. Understand Your Menstrual Cycle and Know Your Fertile Period

Normally, every woman who is in the reproductive age group has a menstrual cycle length that ranges between 21 and 35 days. This means it normally takes at least 21 days or latest 35 days for a woman to see her next menstrual period when you count the number of days from the first day she last saw her menses to the first day of the next period.

Now, the menstrual cycle is divided into 2 phases—the phase before ovulation and the phase after ovulation. The phase after ovulation is constant in the number of days for all women, which is 14 days. This means once any woman ovulates, it takes 14 days for her to menstruate. So, if a woman has a menstrual cycle length of 30 days, it means the phase before ovulation for this woman is 16 days (the first 16 days counting from the first day of the last menses she saw); and she will ovulate on the 17th day.

The chances of a woman getting pregnant are highest around the time of her ovulation: when her ovary releases her egg into the fallopian tube. So, couples having unprotected sexual intercourse (without a condom or the woman being on any pill) around the time of the woman's ovulation—consistently for 2 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation and 2 days after—will increase the likelihood of the man's sperm cells meeting and fertilizing the woman's ovulated egg in the fallopian tube.

Women who still have difficulty keeping track of their fertile period should use the Kangpe cycle planner together with their husbands to understand their menstrual cycle.

2. Living Together and Having Regular Sexual Intercourse

Some married men live outside the country or in another state in the country away from their wives and only visit them once in a while—on weekends or once a month for those living in another state in the country and maybe once a year for those living outside the country—to have sex and think this will be enough to get them pregnant. A few couples may be lucky and the woman conceives, but many couples who are not living together are still finding it difficult to achieve pregnancy.

For pregnancy to occur, couples should have regular, unprotected sexual intercourse: this means having sex at least 3 times a week and this can only be possible if the man and the woman are living together. Therefore, couples, especially newly married ones, should make plans to live together at least until they are through with having children.

Only between 10 and 15% of couples have an infertility problem that is due to some medical conditions in either the man or the woman or both. The rest of couples finding it difficult to achieve pregnancy, even though they are medically fine, are likely not doing some things right, two of which are a poor understanding of the woman's fertile period and not having adequate sexual intercourse.

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For more advice and help, feel free to consult a doctor.
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Published Thursday, June 22nd 2017

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