How to Get Pregnant – Part I

My patients who have decided to have children almost invariably ask me, “What should I do to get pregnant?” What books should they read? How do they take their basal body temperature? Should they use an ovulation predictor test?

Now, these are women with regular menstrual cycles, and no health problems. For these women, asking “How do I get pregnant?” is a little bit like asking “How do I breathe?” We are baby-making machines, after all. And the human race pretty much populated the entire world without using a single ovulation predicting kit.

Procreation is like Windows Explorer – it’s built into the operating system. (Weren’t you starting to wonder if Bill Gates was God?) The default mode is pregnant. And here’s the thing – You’ve been using the pop-up blocker! So turn it off already. Stop your pills (or your condoms, or whatever it is you have been using all these years to keep from getting pregnant) and let nature take its course.

By the way, if you happen to be orthodox Jewish, you don’t need my advice. Because the Jews have designed a system to maximize the odds of the natural process working. (Maybe God gave them the source code.) According to their rules, men and women are required to avoid each other until the most fertile time of the month, by which time they are all hot and bothered and you know what that means…. “Hi honey, I’m home from the Mihkvah!”

But I digress. Here’s what I tell my patients. You wanna’ get pregnant? Just step out of the way. All you have to do is relax, trust your body and let it do what it is designed to do. Get your mitts out of there and stop trying to control things. Cro-magnon man had no trouble with the process, and neither should you.

Oh, right. There is one more thing…HAVE SEX.

Of course, if you have decided to wait until you are 40 to start the process, that’s another story (After all, Cro-Magnon man was DEAD by 40). But that’s another post for another day.

Next: The Biological Time Clock


20 Responses to How to Get Pregnant – Part I

  1. This is probably the most irresponsible medical advice I have ever heard. Letting nature take it’s course does not always work. Some women have medical issues such as endometriosis, cysts, and do not ovulate. You should probably stick to cooking and not giving advice to women who are desperate to have children.

    You are absolutely right that this advice is NOT for women with the problems you mentioned. If you read carefully, you will see that I say just that :

    “Now, these are women with regular menstrual cycles, and no health problems.”

    I also say “and make sure…that there are no outstanding health issues.”

    For women without health or gynecologic problems, the advice to trust their bodies and let it do what it is designed to do is, I still, I believe, good advice.

    As for the comment about my sticking to cooking, well, that was just plain mean. Take it back.

  3. Lighten up Anonymous. Teenagers get pregnant with a couple cans of beer and a back seat, that ought to tell you it just isn’t rocket science. If the wine and romance doesn’t work, then get to the doctor.

  4. If I asked my physician for advice on how to conceive a healthy child, then I’d expect something a little more helpful than “have sex.”

    Lots of responsible moms to be want advice on conception. Cheers to women who take a moment to double check with their doctor that their prescriptions aren’t a problem for pregnancy. After years of trying to avoid pregnancy is it so surprising that a woman might have a question or two?

    Conception isn’t a trivial choice for many women. It’s not unreasonable to expect that your doctor might be able to provides some good advice.

  5. It would seem that relaxing enough to allow a few stress hormones to dissipate would do wonders for some bug-eyed, must-have-baby-now!, types.

  6. Christian:
    Oh, dear. I’m afraid you misread me. Of course, I do preconception counsling. Of course my patients and I talk about what medications they are taking, and how to be healthy while attempting pregnancy.

    This post was meant to be humorous. To poke fun at our modern, medicalized selves.(including me, if you read the second post in this series.)

    Sometimes I think we doctors are just not allowed to be funny…

  7. I understood that it was intended to be funny. Here’s my rub with it. I never find it funny when people with more power mock people with less power.

    Everyone in the hospital is prone to the occasional laugh at patients. I’ve had this conversation with the attendings I work with (and don’t get me started on the residents). With your experience and knowledge those questions seem daft and amusing. To that patient, it’s a request for help from an authority figure. It’s so easy to forget the balance of power in the course of caring for people.

    I completely understand why other people think it’s funny. It just isn’t funny to me. YMMV.

  8. Great post!
    And oh yeah, do that when you are 27, not 40. It all happens much easier at 27 – and everything else just somehow works out.

  9. This was CLEARLY a post made all in good fun. I am sure in the stressful environment of the medical profession, a little comic relief is necessary. The good doctor was not making light of those who come to him/her with legitimate questions/advice/problems. If you cannot see the humor in a question like “How do I get pregnant?” well then I just don’t know what to tell you. I am sure this doctor is not poking fun because of power issues. I appreciated the good laugh.

  10. I LOVED this post! The humor is obvious and i do think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in the details and planning in life that we forget the simple and the obvious.

    I know what it is like to fear infertility. We bought our house when I was 22 and decided that it would be nice to have a family. We had a very casual attitude and just enjoyed the freedom. But when the 2nd year rolled around and friends were getting pregnant…I started to worry. So I then went through the infertility tests. I used the basal thermometer and charts and our wonderful free spirited sex became robotic in expectation. If you ever saw Carla and Turk on Scrubs…that was it. Baby commercials made me cry. I gave 3 baby showers during that time and while happy for them it was also a knife in the heart but I never let on.

    The last thing the doc did was a D&C and dilated my cervix and a laparoscopy. That revealed I had endometriosis that fortunately didn’t block my tubes but was on my bladder, bowel and somewhere else. he said i had a 40% chance of conceiving just because it was in my system. If I didn’t conceive in the next 4 months I would have to go on medication.

    There is a much longer spiritual story connected with this but long story short…November 8th I went to women’s Aglow meeting and was prayed over to get pregnant. 2 nites later I went to a healing service and was prayed over. 5 days later, November 13th I conceived our first born son.

    I told my OBGYN about the healing service and he said their is a strong connection between the mind and the uterus. True…but I will always know that I know that it was because of the prayer.

    I don’t pretend for a second to think everyone gets healed that is prayed for or gets a baby and I don’t know why I did…but it was my time. We named him Jonathan which means gift of the Lord. Eight years later we had Christopher. 🙂 We never tried in the middle because we got busy with mortgages, working etc.

    I believe you totally are saying the right thing by keeping it light and simple. As we got more intense about it, the stress was probably counterproductive to our goal.

    I am sorry this is so long but this one tugged at my heartstrings and I loved the post. 🙂

  11. In all seriousness, if you want to get pregnant and have been trying a year or so, try a cleansing diet.
    I tried for 7 years, nothing wrong with me or my husband, went through all the testing to see if my tubes were blocked etc…I went on the Last Chance Diet (30 years ago) 1 month and voila…9 months later an 8.1 oz baby girl. 5 years later Cambridge diet one month. Guess what another baby girl 9 months later 9.10 ounces…at 38. My girls are now 30 and 25 years old. Its an option one can consider.

  12. Jeez Louise! How could anyone be offended by this charming post?!?!

    People can be such humorless knuckleheads.

    Dr. BTAM, thank you for the obvious good care you give to women and for your light heart. Next time someone asks you that question, I would tell them to start looking in the cabbage patch. lol

  13. Fantastic post! Sometimes trusting our bodies to work the was it was designed to work is the answer! Thank u for the write up!!

  14. Amusing that women didn’t know what to do. I never worried about that until I couldn’t get pregnant. Ended diagnosed with endometriosis and 40% chance of conceiving since tubes not blocked. He gave me 4 months to conceive or I’d have to go on a medication. I know may seem weird ..but after lots of prayer myself and others … 4 months later ..I ended up going to an unexpected healing service in a church and conceived four days later. (I know that sounds weird but it happened) I told my gyne doc and he said there was a strong connection between the mind and uterus and I get that ..but still think it was via that service. And our beautiful 10lb, 10 oz bay boy was born the following summer ..even after almost miscarrying him. My heart goes out to women trying to conceive and I understand that very well ..the heartache, fear and sex becoming mechanical. It is so true to just relax about it …fertile or not.

    My neighbor was told she’d never be able to conceive and to get dogs. The got two Huskies. Not long after she conceived her son. Not long after delivering him she thought she had the flu and that flu was her daughter. 🙂

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