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Getting Pregnant Can Be Harder Than It Looks

Getting Pregnant Can Be Harder Than It Looks

The Odds Are in Your Favor continued...

The problem is that many women nowadays who are postponing children until later in life for a variety of reasons often don't realize until it's too late about the reduced odds, says Dr. A.F. Haney, chairman of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Duke University Medical Center.

"There's this Susan Sarandon effect -- everyone sees a 42-year-old woman getting pregnant, and they think there's no problem waiting," Dr. Haney says. "They need to understand the biological realities that go along with those life choices -- that by waiting, there's an increasing risk they'll stumble or be unsuccessful -- and many people, had they known that information beforehand, might sequence things differently."

Do Any Tricks Work?

Mustering the patience until you conceive is often easier said than done. Standing on your head after intercourse, hanging upside down by moon boots, hypnosis -- they're all examples of measures that couples might only reluctantly admit to.

A British study even shocked the medical community by claiming recently that a late afternoon roll in the hay is the optimum time for conception because that's when female hormones that affect fertility and sperm count and potency are at peak levels.

So far, however, experts say there isn't enough evidence to prove that any particular positions, time of day or activity after intercourse make a difference.

"Remaining supine for a couple of minutes is more than adequate," Dr. Stillman says. As for that romantic little getaway? "There's nothing wrong with maintaining romance, or even a sense of humor, while trying to conceive, but a candle at the head of your bed is probably as useful as a candle at the Four Seasons, and it's a whole lot less expensive."

The fact is, there's still only one way to get pregnant -- by a sperm fertilizing the woman's egg, which can happen for only about 12 to 24 hours after ovulation -- approximately 14 days before the end of a woman's monthly cycle. Ovulation sometimes can be harder to predict if a woman's cycles are irregular. And for women who are getting older, monthly cycles first get shorter, then longer the closer they get to menopause.

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