Q. I have a question on pregnancy. My wife and I are in the army and I get to see her for a few weeks before deployment. We are trying to get her pregnant. What are some tips on how to achieve this the best way?
A. The key factor to success in conceiving is timing it right. Since you and your wife are in the military (and only get to see each other for a short time), the window of opportunity is critical! Basically, a woman ovulates (releases an egg for your sperm to fertilize) about 14 days before the first day of her period. Most women’s cycles last between 24 and 31 days; this means that the period in which your wife can likely get pregnant is between the 10th and 17th day of her cycle (count forward from the last day of her period 10-17 days). While a single egg only lives for 12 to 24 hours, sperm can be active up to 72 hours. This means that theoretically you are able to fertilize an egg starting 3 days before, and up to 1 day after, a woman’s ovulation period. Get your wife to keep track of her menstrual cycle on the calendar for best results!
Other helpful tips and things to consider:
Since timing is of the essence for you and your wife, consider using an ovulation predictor kit to help you accurately determine the best time for conception. The benefit of an ovulation predictor kit is that it can detect when an ovulation hormone (luteinizing) peaks; generally 36 hours before ovulation. This way, when the hormone surges you know it´s a good time to try to conceive.
While women are born with all of their eggs, men produce sperm continuously. You can increase your odds by eating well, drinking well, and avoiding drugs, excessive alcohol/caffeine and caffeine containing products such as teas, sodas, and chocolate. Zinc, calcium and vitamin D have all been linked to improved sperm count and testosterone levels so, get your 20 minutes of sun each day (vitamin D), and eat foods high in zinc and calcium (beef and lamb, eggs, seafood, oats, sesame and pumpkin seeds, yogurt).
Men's testosterone levels and Sperm count are highest in the morning, so try for some morning fun to increase your chances!
Stress can inhibit normal ovulation cycles for women, so encourage her to sleep well, relax and limit stress. The benefits of kicking back and relaxing will be two-fold; more predictability and much more enjoyable lovemaking for you both!
Get your wife to see her general practitioner or gynecologist. Your doctor will be able to give her a full check-up prior to conception, get her started on prenatal vitamins, and will be able to answer any questions or concerns you may be having. If possible, go with her to make sure your questions are answered too.
Also, check out our article on How Pregnancy Odds Work.
Good luck, and enjoy a great start to this beautiful journey you are on!