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OB Gyn Associates of Iowa City and Coralville

Getting Pregnant FAQs

Preparing your mind and body for pregnancy can be overwhelming—especially if you’re planning to get pregnant for the first time. Let’s answer some of the most common questions we get from women who are planning or trying to conceive.

Should I have a pre-pregnancy appointment with my doctor?

A preconception appointment is a visit with your doctor before you start trying to conceive, when you can discuss fertility, getting pregnant, the early stages of pregnancy, and your medical history. Preconception appointments are especially important if you are in your 30s or 40s, if you have any chronic health conditions, or if you have special concerns related to medications you take or your health history.

If you don’t have any health concerns, it’s ok to wait until after you become pregnant. Your first prenatal appointment will be when you are about eight to ten weeks along. You can call to schedule this appointment as soon as you get a positive pregnancy test! 

How do I know when I’m ovulating?

Ovulation usually occurs 12-16 days before the first day of your period. Your most fertile window is likely to be the 5 days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation. This fertile window is the time when sex is most likely to lead to conception. If your menstrual cycle is not regular, ovulation can be tricky to figure out.

To help pinpoint ovulation and the fertile window, there are a few methods that can make this easier. 

  1. Ovulation tests detect luteinizing hormone (LH) in your urine, which increases about 24-48 hours before ovulation. You can find these over the counter at most drug stores and pharmacies.
  2. Cervical mucus tracking involves following the changes in your vaginal discharge. You may notice wetter, clearer, and more slippery mucus around the time of ovulation.
  3. Basal Body Temperature (BBT) tracks your basal body temperature (your temp at rest) to identify the small spike in temperature that indicates ovulation has occurred. 

Some women may also experience other symptoms around ovulation, such as breast tenderness, bloating, and/or mild abdominal pain, but these are not always a reliable way of predicting ovulation. Using multiple methods to track ovulation can be more reliable than just one method.

How can I make sure I’m healthy before we start trying?

Besides having a healthy, varied diet and participating in regular exercise, these are the most important steps to take before trying to conceive: 

  • quit smoking
  • stop using alcohol or other illicit drugs
  • discuss your medications with your doctor to see what is safe during pregnancy
  • begin taking a prenatal vitamin with at least 400 mcg of folic acid

For more information on steps you can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy, check out 5 Ways to Prevent a High Risk Pregnancy

How long will it take to get pregnant?

Some people assume that as soon as they stop birth control, pregnancy will happen immediately. This may be true for some people, but the average time it takes to conceive is about six months. This means six months of having regular sex. About 85%-90% of couples will get pregnant within one year of trying to conceive. 

If you’ve been trying to conceive for longer than one year (or six months if you’re over the age of 35), then talk to your doctor. 

Preparing for a baby can be both overwhelming and amazing. Our physicians want to ensure the best health care for you, so contact us to make an appointment to discuss your conception, fertility, and pregnancy needs.