In most cases, parents-to-be are well advised to just relax and enjoy the process of trying to conceive. Don't get too anxious if it doesn't happen right off the bat. We often tell our patients: Think about stopping birth control a few months before you actually plan on getting pregnant. This way, you have some carefree months of enjoying great sex without worrying each month about whether you're pregnant. And if you do conceive ahead of schedule, enjoy the nice surprise!
You can take a few steps to improve your chances of conceiving:
✓ If you smoke cigarettes or marijuana or are on any illegal substance, quit.
✓ Avoid using K-Y Jelly or other commercial lubricants during sex, because they may contain spermicide. (Try olive oil or vegetable oil instead.)
✓ Limit your caffeine intake. Drinking more than three cups of coffee per day may decrease your chances of conceiving.
✓ If you're overweight, get on a smart carb, low-fat diet, exercise regularly, and work on a weight-loss plan. If you're unsure as to how much you'll need to exercise to lose weight on your diet, a physician, dietician, and/ or personal trainer can be helpful.
One of the most common questions that dads ask is about sex during pregnancy. Your desire for sex — like that of your partner — may increase or decrease. Many men worry that inserting the penis into the vagina, next to the cervix, may injure the baby or lead to preterm delivery. In an uncomplicated pregnancy, you have nothing to worry about at all in this regard. Another common worry is that you may crush the baby by lying on top of your partner. Again, if the pregnancy is normal, being on top isn't a problem (especially during the first months). A cushion of amniotic fluid surrounds the baby. Later on in pregnancy, the size of the mother's abdomen may make the missionary position awkward, or your partner may find it uncomfortable. If she is willing, take the time to find alternative positions that are comfortable for her. Also, remember that libido can wax and wane during pregnancy, or it may wane only (see Chapter 3). For some women, pregnancy is just a sexual turnoff. So try to be understanding if your partner isn't interested in sex.
In some cases, intercourse during pregnancy may not be a good idea. If the mother goes into preterm labor, for example, and her cervix is open significantly, refraining may be wise. In the case of placenta previa with bleeding (see Chapter 16) and in some cases of incompetent cervix (see Chapter 6), foregoing intercourse also makes sense. If your partner has one of these problems or if you're unsure about your partner's situation, talk to her practitioner. And keep in mind that intercourse isn't the only way that you and your partner can express your sexual feelings for each other. Often, embracing, cuddling, or fondling can be satisfying alternatives. Remember, pregnancy (and the possible interruption in your sex life) won't last forever, even though you may sometimes feel like it will.
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