The processes and functions that are responsible for the creation of a new life border on a miracle of nature; they are the result of a perfect interplay between the male and female body. If you and your partner desire to have a child, you will be increasingly confronted with the subjects of reproduction and fertility.
A child is conceived when a male sperm cell fertilizes a female egg cell. For this to occur, an intricate series of biological processes is required. Falling pregnant is an extremely delicate process, which is why a prompt conception can never be taken for granted. You should not be discouraged if you have not fallen pregnant within a few months – a waiting period of one year is not uncommon.
Medical specialists refer to an unfulfilled wish for children or sterility if a couple has unprotected intercourse for a time period of one year and still does not achieve pregnancy. For more information on this subject, please read the page entitled unfulfilled wish for children.
In the monthly cycle the female body usually produces mature eggs. The man’s fertile sperm cells must meet the egg at around the time of ovulation in order to trigger a pregnancy. The egg remains fertile for about 24 hours and the sperm is able to survive in the female body between two and three days. This results in a period of three to four days of fertile intercourse: it begins two to three days before ovulation and ends 24 hours later.
Ovulation explained briefly
There are several different methods of determining this fertile period with varying degrees of accuracy:
Our ovulation calculator allows you to calculate your approximate fertile period with the help of personal information (length of cycle and first day of your last menstruation). The result is, of course, based on average values and in no way guarantees pregnancy.
One to two days following ovulation, the temperature of a woman’s body generally increases by several tenths of a degree Celsius. Measure your body temperature once a day, always at the same time (the ideal time is in the morning before you get up!) and record the results in the fertility table, a special curve sheet, which you can download at the end of this site. Based on your body’s temperature curve, you can calculate the probable date of your next ovulation.
This basalt temperature method can, in addition, be supported by the use of a cycle computer, which is also often used for contraception. Some cycle computers can also determine the time of ovulation based on the hormone levels in your urine.
The consistency of the cervical mucus changes several times over the course of a cycle. Following menstruation, the glands produce little or no mucus, then viscous mucus, and shortly before ovulation clear, fluid mucus that facilitates the conveyance of sperm via the cervix to the egg cell.
Keeping simultaneous records of body temperature and the consistency of the cervical mucus increases the reliability of your calculations.
When you and your partner decide to have a child, the best way to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the pregnancy is becoming familiar with a few rules and recommendations.
Even before pregnancy, pay attention to your health, because your body will be your baby’s home. A well-balanced diet provides your body with plenty of essential vitamins and minerals. It is especially important to get enough folic acid, which considerably reduces the risk of congenital deformations of the spine and spinal cord (neural tube defects). Folic acid occurs mainly in leafy vegetables, potatoes, grains, and liver. Usually, it is also advisable to take special vitamin supplements containing folic acid as well as other micro nutrients that are important for the development of your child.
Ideally, you should give up smoking well before pregnancy, because it not only has a negative impact on your own health and that of your (unborn) child, but also men’s and women’s fertility. The same is true for toxins in the home and environment (solvents, pesticides, etc.).
A well-balanced fitness regimen can also help you prepare for pregnancy. Being in good shape and stable circulation help you to better deal with the extra weight and minimise the usual complaints associated with pregnancy.
What should you pay close attention to during pregnancy? Find out in our "Tips and Tricks" section.