Week 2: How to Track the Perfect Time for Conceiving

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This is your podcast for week two of your pregnancy. I'm Bonnie Petrie joined by Dr. Laurie Swaim, an obsteritician with Houston Women's Care Associates in Houston, Texas.

Welcome to week two of your pregnancy. Guess what? Still no baby, but this is the week you'll be doing what it takes to get one, if you know what I mean. As Dr. Swaim told us last week that a woman is most likely to get pregnant if she has sex every other day this week so get to it. Now despite Dr. Swaim's advice she says some of you want to know with more certainty when to, yeah, baby dance we'll call it baby dance. So you'll do things like check your cervical mucus. "Right before you ovulate during the first few weeks of your cycle it's thin and mucusey so sperm can just swim through." Or you'll take your temperature with a glass thermometer every morning to detect that slight rise that heralds ovulation. Or you'll spend this week peeing on sticks that come with ovulation predictor kits. "They're actually detecting the movement in hormones that occurs immediately before ovulation but I guess you better be ready to go." Very few of you know just when to get it done because ovulation hurts. "Some women actually feel a significant amount of pain, it's called mittelschmirz and that's actually some, one of the reasons some women actually take birth control pills because that of course prevents ovulation and therefore that pain.

But for most of you Dr. Swaim says is really just unnecessary. "There's a lot of things that people try to do to figure out when they're ovulating now once again if someone's just trying to get pregnant for the first time and they have normal regular periods and have no reason to suspect that there's infertility I don't recommend that they try and figure out when they're ovulating, to me that makes it just a little too uptight. You know? It just can make you a little crazy. Just have sex.

So what's happening with you this week that makes it the right time to try and get pregnant? Dr. Swaim explains it all for you. "Week two is already a cascade from what's happened in week one so it's turned on the as soon as you get your period there's pituitary glands the first one is called FSH, Follicle Simulating Hormone that starts to work on the ovary and on the egg, starts to make it more mature if you will for ovulation and it at the same time it makes the ovary make estrogen which gets your uterus ready for implantation for a baby. And as the estrogen goes up it actually sort of starts to inhibit the FSH and then around day 14 there's a release of a hormone called luteinising hormone from the pituitary gland which causes the egg to actually go through another phase of genetic maturity called miosis and be released from the ovary. And when that happens, progesterone is produced from an area of the ovary called the corpus ludia and the progesterone also helps the interlining of the uterus, the endometrium become more sort of stabilized for implantation of the conceptive if you will."

So your body is busy and you and your partner should be too. Oh by the way, if you knew you wanted to have a baby maybe you've already done this: one of the things you might have done before week two is have some kind of preconception counseling. Your doctor would want to know a lot of things, your age, your gynecological history like when you had your first period, if it's regular, if you're on birth control, if you've ever had an irregular pap smear, that kind of thing. They'll also take a complete medical and vaccination history, your doctor might talk to you about your emotional well-being and your lifestyle and they'll talk to you about your genes, your family and your partner's family. "Family history of genetic disorders, cystic fibrosis for example you, should be tested for cystic fibrosis especially if you're Caucasian or African American, Latin Americans have a risk, Asians have a low risk but still we offer testing. If there is any family history of mental retardation, if there is any family history of chromosomal rearrangement problems, history of certain other medical disorders that you'd want to know about before you get pregnant."

Now if you haven't done this already it is in your near future as is fertilization. We're heading into week three. Next week you'll be bringing the baby.

That's your Pea in the Podcast for week two of your pregnancy. Dr. Swaim and I look forward to talking to you next week. I'm Bonnie Petrie, thanks for listening.