After years of trying not to get pregnant, you might think all it takes is one night without a condom, and poof — you're with child. But it's not always that easy. If you show signs of being super fertile, the process might be smooth. But for other women, that's not always the case.
So what makes one woman more fertile than another? "Certainly genetics have a lot to do with diagnoses like premature ovarian insufficiency, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, and hyperprolactinemia," says integrative women's health and fertility expert Debra Gerson, speaking about diseases that can affect fertility. "However, we are seeing more lifestyle and environmental influences on fertility ... [such as] poor lifestyles with too little sleep and too much caffeine."
Gerson also tells me nutritional deficiencies can play a role, as well as any STDs you might have or once had. Chlamydia, for example, can cause Fallopian tube blockage, which could make natural conception difficult.
If you want to have a baby but are having a problem conceiving, it's important to speak with a doctor. "Even though a woman may appear to be super fertile, we recommend being evaluated after one year of unprotected intercourse in women under the age of 35, and six months in women over 35," Gerson says. (And have your partner get checked, too.) Again, there's no one predictor of fertility, but there are definitely some signs that may mean the path to baby-makin' will be relatively easy. Read on for some physical traits, habits, and health symptoms to look out for.
1. You Have The Most Predictable Period On The Planet
If your periods come every 25 to 35 days, it could mean you're quite the fertile lady. "This reliable pattern usually means a woman is ovulating every month," says obstetrician/gynecologist Dr. Wendy Chang of the Southern California Reproductive Center in an email to Bustle. A longer cycle can also mean you have a strong ovarian reserve (aka lots and lots of eggs). Keep in mind, however, that we're talking about a natural menstrual cycle — not one that's controlled by birth control pills.
2. You Get All The PMS Symptoms
While there's nothing fun about PMS, all those cramps and headaches can be a good thing. "If you have clockwork periods and you get premenstrual symptoms like breast tenderness, bloating, and cramping, it means that you have ovulatory cycles," NYC-based OBGYN Dr. Adeeti Gupta tells Bustle. And that's exactly what you want if you're trying to have a baby.
3. You Have The Magic Ability To Affect Other Women's Periods
Does your roommate's period magically sync up with yours? If so, Dr. Sophia Yen, MD tells me this could be due to your pheromones. If you're throwing off strong ones and they're affecting other women, there's a good likelihood you're a fertility queen.
4. You Have Lots Of Clear Discharge
Women are most fertile halfway through their cycle. During this time, you might notice copious amounts of clear, odorless vaginal discharge. "This facilitates sperm transport through the cervix just before conception," Chang explains. "Women who notice lots of clear mucous discharge likely enjoy good estrogen production and cervical gland function." All good things when it comes to making a baby.
5. You Have An Average Amount Of Blood Flow
Everyone's period is different, so you could experience a heavy flow or the lightest of trickles. And that's OK. You do, however, want to be somewhere in the middle when trying to get pregnant. As Chang says, "Having normal flow volume and duration are reassuring signs that a good lining is produce and shed each month."
6. Your Hormones Seem To Be In Check
Hormones (unsurprisingly) play a huge role in fertility, so keep an eye out for signs they might be out of whack. "Hot flashes and night sweats can mean waning ovarian function or other hormonal/system abnormality, and should be assessed by a doctor," Chang says. "Women with excellent hormone production tend not to experience these symptoms."
7. Your Pelvis Feels A-OK
While premenstrual cramps may point to a healthy cycle — and thus a better chance of getting pregnant — you definitely don't want to be in agony. As Chang says, "Sometimes severe menstrual or pelvic pain can represent endometriosis, ovarian cysts, infection, or other disorder that can impact the ovaries and Fallopian tubes," and thus your ability to get pregnant.
8. You Have A Clean Medical History
If you've stayed on top of your treatments for things like urinary tract infections and STIs, then you have a better chance of being fertile. That's because, as Chang tells me, women who have had consistent gynecological care since starting sexual activity are often less likely to have a pelvic infection, which can block or affect those egg-delivering Fallopian tubes.
9. You Have A Healthy Diet
Lifestyle factors have a pretty big impact on whether or not you get pregnant, so eating well is always a good thing — especially when it comes to certain vitamins "Our work schedules and lifestyles have created certain nutritional deficiencies (i.e. vitamin D), which can also impact fertility," Gerson says.
10. You've Gotten Pregnant Despite Using Birth Control
Have you gotten pregnant in the past despite using an IUD or a shot form of birth control? As long as the doctor didn't do something wrong, like place the IUD in the wrong spot, then you're likely all kinds of fertile. "I have only heard of two cases of women getting pregnant on the shot and the IUD, but it happens, and those women are very very fertile," Yen says.
11. You Have Well-Developed Breasts
Since breast size can be affected by your hormones, "well-developed" breasts often indicate that the hormones are functioning properly, thus indicating that a woman is fertile, gynecologist Dr. Neha Singh Rathod tells me. Again, this doesn't mean women with smaller breasts can't become pregnant. Of course not. Boob size is simply another sign that can point to some women being extra fertile.
While it can be fun to speculate about whether or not you'll have an easy time conceiving, Chang tells me a woman shouldn't be considered fertile until she's actually had a baby. So please, let that be your one and only true indicator. And if you have any problems, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor.
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