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What does fertility really mean and when are you at your most fertile? In this article, we'll go through everything you need to know about fertility and how understanding the menstrual cycle increases your chances of getting pregnant.

All things fertility

What does fertility really mean and when are you at your most fertile? In this article, we'll go through everything you need to know about fertility and how understanding the menstrual cycle increases your chances of getting pregnant.

What does fertility mean?

Being of fertile age means that you have the potential to become pregnant. To fully understand your fertility, you also need to understand your menstrual cycle, as you need to ovulate to be able to get pregnant.

The menstrual cycle is made up of different phases, ovulation being one of them, and occurs about 14 days before your next period. When the egg detaches from the ovary, it is caught in the fallopian tube and can be fertilized. Sperm can survive for up to 5 days during vaginal intercourse, which means you can become pregnant in the days before ovulation and the day after, when the egg is 'ripe' for about a day after it has detached.

Some women feel clearly when they are ovulating, while others feel nothing at all. If you are planning to become pregnant, it may therefore be useful to map out your menstrual cycle so that you can better understand the fertile days and know approximately when ovulation occurs.

When are you most fertile?

Women's fertility peaks around the age of 22 and then gradually decreases until around the age of 35. After 35, fertility declines further until the menopause. This does not mean that you cannot get pregnant after the age of 35. However, there are some risks of complications for both pregnancy and childbirth - but of course you can have a completely uncomplicated pregnancy. It's also important to point out that some people get pregnant without problems at the age of 40, while others find it difficult to conceive at an early age. Fertility is therefore highly individual.

Can lifestyle affect fertility?

The simple answer is yes. A nutritious diet and exercise are examples of things that affect your overall health for the better, as well as fertility. By eating a varied and nutrient-dense diet, you can create the right conditions for getting pregnant. This also applies to how you move. The recommendation is to get some everyday exercise and a couple of heart rate-boosting activities a week, around 30 minutes at a time. It doesn't matter how you choose to move, as long as it feels good and good for you.

In addition to a nutritious diet, it's a good idea to take folate (folic acid) supplements, which are a B vitamin that, among other things, increase the chances of normal fetal development in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Taking folate supplements can also help prevent early miscarriages and spina bifida.

How do you know if you are fertile?

Fertility is largely related to age. Biologically, women are most fertile before the age of 30 and after 35 fertility declines relatively quickly. Men's fertility also decreases with age, but never completely declines as it does for women when they reach the menopause.

What does infertility mean?

When a couple has been trying to conceive for a year through unprotected and regular sex without success, it is usually called infertility. At this point, the couple may need to have tests to try to find a cause for the infertility, if they wish. The length of time an investigation takes varies from clinic to clinic, but it can take up to a couple of months as several tests and trials are carried out. 

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