Couplehood

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Getting pregnant is an art and a science. A couple needs to understand her fertile cycle so they can “strike while the iron is hot.” Here’s how you can make more time for intimacy, eliminate intimacy killers and maximize your baby-making efforts.

GETTING INTO THE MOOD FOR INTIMACY

 

Banish bedroom invaders

 

Sexual intimacy sometimes takes a backseat to our busy careers and numerous other obligations.

Ban intimacy killers - laptops, mobile phones and TV from your bedroom! Let it be a place of rest and romance.

 

A matter of courtesy

 

Research has identified a consistent trait of loving marriages: Courtesy! So treat your spouse with consideration, and kill that harsh word or sarcastic remark.

 

It makes easing into “that lovin’ feeling” later on, much easier.

 

Set the stage


Emotional intimacy is a prelude to sexual intimacy, especially for women.

 

When she feels understood, supported and valued, it will naturally lead feeling closer to her spouse and being eager for physical intimacy.

 

Set the stage by having a relaxing conversation over dinner or simply cuddling together.

 

 

ENHANCING SEXUAL INTIMACY

 

Plan ahead

 

Planning is a powerful key to fulfilling sexual intimacy. Schedule sex into your calendar: the air of anticipation can be powerfully arousing for both parties.

 

How about taking half a day off work midweek and enjoying some private time when everyone else is in the office?

 

Expand the definition of sex

 

Sexual intimacy is not just about vaginal penetration. Expand the definition of sex to include other options that might be just as comfortable and fulfilling, such as sensual massages.

 

Emphasise on pleasure, not just on achieving orgasm.

 

Communicate and demonstrate

 

Many couples leave their sexual satisfaction to guesswork. Don’t. Show your spouse how and where you want to be touched, and get him/her to do likewise.

 

Take turns to ask each other open-ended questions like “What would you like me to do for you today?”

 

ELIMINATE INTIMACY KILLERS

 

Manage tiredness

 

This is Enemy No. 1 for busy urban couples, but you can manage it simply by learning to say “no” to some things that encroach on your couple time.

 

Sometimes making changes to your routine can open up opportunities, for example, morning sex might work out better than bedtime sex, simply because you have had a good night’s rest.

 

Banish boredom - experiment!

 

Couples tend to fall into a rut in their sexual relationship every now and then.

 

Inject freshness into your sexual relationship by trying out a new position, or a new location. Get creative!

 

Don’t use sex as a bargaining tool

 

Withholding sex when you are upset with your spouse turns sex into a power struggle instead of an opportunity for deep connection.

 

Don’t get fixated on baby-making

 

It is ironic, but often couples who are planning for a baby find themselves stressed out trying to conceive, so pleasure becomes the last thing they think about.

 

Relax and have fun!

 

Deal with past baggage

 

Sometimes sex is hampered by one partner’s self-esteem, or by negative past experiences. Seek professional counselling so that you can move on and enjoy your relationship to the fullest.

 

Organisations like aLife (www.alife.org.sg) provide assistance and counselling services related to fertility and pregnancy.

 

MAXIMISING YOUR BABY-MAKING EFFORTS

 

When the stage is set for action, maximise your baby-making efforts by observing and taking note of your most fertile period.

 

The most fertile period takes place immediately after ovulation and can be identified through a few indicators.

 

Here are some things to look out for.

 

Observe your cervical mucus

 

Prior to ovulation, during non-fertile periods, the woman generally experiences a lack of cervical mucus. As she approaches ovulation, the mucus will increase.

 

Its consistency will be sticky and the colour may be white, yellow or cloudy in nature.

 

When this mucus is copious, semi-transparent and “slippery”, resembling like raw egg white, she is at her most fertile.

 

You can also consider observing cervical position, which is also an indicator of ovulation and fertility.

 

Look at your menstrual history

 

This calendar method predicts ovulation by looking at a woman’s menstrual history.

 

Each cycle begins with the first day of the menstrual period and ends with – but does not include – the first day of the next cycle.

 

To pinpoint your ovulation period, look at the past records and find the shortest cycle, and subtract 14 from the total number of days.

 

For instance, if your shortest cycle is 28 days, subtracting 14 from it would give you“14”. Count 14 days from Day One (inclusive) and that would likely be your most fertile period.

 

The drawback of this method is that its accuracy depends largely on the regularity of your menstrual cycle. It should ideally be used with other fertility predictive methods.

 

Measure your Basal Body Temperature (BBT)

 

Another indication of ovulation is the increase in body temperature.

 

“A rise in your body temperature does not indicate the arrival of ovulation. Rather, it means that ovulation has just occurred,” explains Dr Peter Chew of Peter Chew Clinic for Women.

 

“Your temperature rises a day or two after ovulation, but the egg can only live 12 to 24 hours.

 

“That means that by the time your body temperature rises, the egg would already be gone.

 

“However, by charting your temperature, you can then predict the most fertile period in future cycles.”

 

Charting should be done from the first day of menstruation.

 

As the basal body temperature is the temperature taken at rest, measure your temperature in the morning before engaging in any activity.

 

You should have had at least three consecutive hours of sleep.

 

As soon as there is a slight increase in body temperature, around 14 days into the cycle – usually between 0.2º to 0.4º – it can be assumed that ovulation has occurred.

 

This rise can be gradual or sudden, and it can vary from cycle to cycle.

 

When used over time, charting your BBT will help you predict ovulation and your most fertile period.

 

SAY WHEN

 

Use an Ovulation Test Kit

 

At the start of the menstrual cycle, the body begins to produce Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH) that aid the formation of a follicle on one of the ovaries.

 

When a follicle has adequately matured, a surge of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) causes it to burst and release the egg, triggering ovulation.

 

The LH surge is very brief. In order to detect it, you will need to use an Ovulation Test Kit. It needs to be tested at the right time and day.

 

As it is produced in the morning, an ideal time to test is in the mid-afternoon.

 

Once the LH surge has been detected, the window of opportunity for fertilisation is one to three days from that point.

 

 

Length of your monthly cycle (Number of days between Day 1 of your period and the start of your next period)

21

or

less

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Day to start testing5567891011121314151617181920212223
Counting the first day of your period as Day 1, start using the Ovulation Test Kit on the day shown under your cycle length. For instance, in a typical 28-day cycle, the fertile period should be on the 14th day (subtracting 14 days from the number of days). However, to ensure that you catch the fertile period (ovulation), you should start using the Ovulation Test Kit from Day 11 onwards.
The ovulation test kit is based on a urine test, much like a pregnancy test kit. When you see two lines, it means your LH level has been detected and you should start trying now!

 

Use a Fertility Chart

 

The fertility chart helps to pinpoint the most fertile period for a couple to conceive.

 

It combines basal body temperature, cervical mucus, and other information to help the wife predict her ovulation in the upcoming months.

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