How do women get pregnant? Conception and pregnancy can often feel like a mystery. When trying to become pregnant, knowledge is power. Understanding how the process of conception works can help take some of the guess work out of things. The more you know, the better you can improve your chances of having the child of your dreams. Here are the steps of conception.
- Ovulation occurs. This is the process when a woman’s ovaries release the ripest egg. During this time, certain chemicals in the female body including luteinizing hormone increases. Most over-the-counter ovulation tests are designed to react to an increase in this hormone.
- The egg travels down the fallopian tube towards the uterus.
- Sometime during its journey, the egg will encounter a live, healthy sperm.
- The sperm will tunnel its way through the layers of protein protecting the egg until it reaches the inner most layer and will fuse with the egg. Thus, the egg is fertilized.
- The fertilized egg continues its journey down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it will implant itself in the uterus lining.
- The hormones estrogen and progesterone continue to be produced, signaling the woman’s body that she is carrying a fertilized egg.
- This officially marks the beginning of pregnancy.
Here are other facts about conception that are helpful to know.
Every baby girl is born with between one and two million eggs in her ovaries. Most of these die off immediately. When women begin their menstrual cycles between the ages of eleven to fourteen, only about six hundred thousand eggs remain. Those eggs rapidly decrease in quantity and quality as you age. This is why most women struggle to conceive as they age.
Once an egg has been released, during ovulation, it will only live for roughly 24 hours. If it does not come into contact with a healthy sperm during those crucial hours, it will disintegrate and be discarded. To improve your chances of conception, it is best to have intercourse sometime during those critical 24 hours. However, most sperm are hardy and can survive up to five days within a woman’s body following intercourse.
Ovulation usually occurs about 14 days before your next menstrual cycle starts, almost exactly halfway through a cycle. However, this can vary from woman to woman depending on the length and/or regularity of her cycle.
Conception is a complex process that leads to the creation of new life. Educating yourself on how it works will help you conceive the child of your dreams. Remember, even under the best of circumstances, things don’t always work out according to the statistical averages. If you are struggling with conception, please meet with your doctor to discuss your options. They may have insights as to why you are unable to conceive or will be able to direct you to another medical professional who can help you.