When you’re not getting pregnant after a couple of months (like it seems like everyone else is), you start to wonder…could something be wrong? When you’re not getting pregnant right away, here are the 5 things you should do first:
(Side note: This is kind of a back-to-basics, haven’t seen a specialist yet, haven’t been trying more than a year. If that’s not you and you’ve already done the basics, you may want to check out 5 Surprising Ways to Boost your Fertility or 6 Lifestyle Changes That Can Help You Get Pregnant instead.)
*Or, if you’ve been trying for a year or more already, see my post on What to Expect When You’re not Expecting (Even After a Year).
1. FIRST, THE OBVIOUS: EVALUATE YOUR LIFESTYLE + TAKE A PRENATAL VITAMIN
This should really go without saying, but people who live generally healthy lifestyles — eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, are not overweight or underweight, etc. — do have generally higher pregnancy rates (again, that’s in general). For more information about fertility diets
And this should also really go without saying, but I used to think you started taking a prenatal vitamin after you got pregnant. Actually, they can help you get pregnant too. My OB gave me a prescription for one, or you can get them OTC too.
2. EDUCATE YOURSELF.
To do this, I would HIGHLY recommend getting the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. (It got 5 stars on Amazon–need I say more?). A think a lot of people (including myself) know a lot less about getting pregnant than they thought they did. (Turns out having sex any old time will not get you pregnant, contrary to what your ninth grade health teacher told you.)
One of the key element of this book is that it gives you several different ways to determine if you are ovulating at all (and if so, when). It also educates you on when the optimal times are to have sex to get pregnant according to your cycle. (And you can trust this book, whereas you can’t always trust everything you read online.)
In addition, this book pretty much goes through every single issue, treatment, or test that you might encounter when TTC. It was this book that convinced me not to take Clomid and also made me realize I spent way too much on unnecessary fertility testing (too late!). If you do end up needing to see a specialist, this book will help you be a lot more knowledgeable when asking questions too. It’s amazing how this book can help you figure out if you have an issue that is leading to your infertility.
3. FIGURE OUT EXACTLY WHEN YOU OVULATE WITH AN OVULATION PREDICTOR KIT (OPK) + THE PREMOM APP.
I was SUPER hesitant to buy an OPK. (Really, I have to pee on a stick every day to tell me when to have sex to get pregnant? That seems a little desperate.)
But then I had MULTIPLE friends (one who had been trying several months, and one a year) tell me that they got pregnant a month or two after tracking their cycle with an OPK. (They had not been having sex during their fertile window before. Day 14, it turns out, is not the day that everyone — or even most people — ovulate.) If an app tells you when you are ovulating solely based on your period, it is likely WRONG.
AND when I went to see a fertility specialist, he said he normally has to turn people away and tell them to try an OPK for several months before he even does any testing. So you’d likely have to do this before seeing a specialist anyway.
Worth mentioning though: The author of the book I referenced earlier is not a huge fan of OPKs. (She has a few issues with them — for example, if your LH surge is very short, you could miss it and never get a positive reading). I had no issues with them at all.
*Another side note: You’re probably not “doing it” wrong, if you’re worried about that.
4. (POSSIBLY) TRACK YOUR CYCLE USING A BASAL BODY THERMOMETER (BBT)
If you want to go a step further in tracking your cycle, you can start charting your temperature every morning. To do that, use a BBT like this one from Amazon. Again, this one pairs with the free PreMom app on your phone, which makes things super easy.
The book I referenced above really champions basal body temperature charting as a key way to tell if there’s something wrong. (And they have lots of blank copies of charts in the book + instructions that tell you all about them.)
That being said, I have mixed feelings about basal body temperatures. (Okay, so maybe it was that my fertility specialist glanced at the temperature charts I had painstakingly put together for a mere millisecond before waving them off as being unreliable + having too many variables.) Anyway.
So the thing about your basal body temperature is that it jumps AFTER you’ve ovulated. So although BBTs can tell you A LOT, they can’t tell you when you ovulated until it’s too late. AND it’s a big pain — you have to take your temperature with the special thermometer literally the VERY first thing before you even get out of bed or move around (not to mention it takes at least 2 minutes — which seems like forever when I wake up late + am late for work)!
That being said: I do think it is worthwhile — at least for a while — to see if everything looks normal. Low temperatures after ovulation can indicate a problem, as can ups + downs in your chart. Actually, there’s a lot that can really be determined via your BBTs. (That book I mentioned above goes into a ton of detail.) It’s tricky though, because a lot of variables do come in to play, including needing to take your temperature at the SAME time every day. (You mean I’m supposed to wake up at 5am on a weekend so that I take my temp at the same time that I did during the week?! Yes. Have I mentioned BBT charting is annoying?)
5. (POSSIBLY) MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE A SPECIALIST (YOUR HUSBAND INCLUDED)
If you’ve been trying for a year without success (or even less time if you’re older), it’s recommended that you see a specialist (and your husband too). However, as I mentioned above, a lot of specialists won’t do a whole lot until you’ve tried steps 1-4 for a few months anyway.
If you do see a specialist, check out my post on 3 Things I Wish I Would’ve Known Before Seeing a Fertility Specialist.