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Pregnancy Bliss | Reproductive Health Hub

Best time in the cycle for conception

Question: Please,when should I have sex to increase my chance of getting pregnant. Should it be just before, during and just after ovulation? can too much sex have a negative effect? J. (UK)


Answer: If you are trying to conceive, you should have sex in all those times you have mentioned. Because it is never possible to pinpoint with accuracy the exact time of ovulationFertile days in menstrual cycle, the advice is to have sexual intercourse in the entire ‘fertile phase’ of the cycle. That would extend from a few days before the day ovulation is expected to take place, through the date itself and for about three days after. You should at the very least have sex on alternate days during that phase but ideally have sex on each of those days. This is because the egg can survive for no more than 24 hours so a frequency of less than once a day does reduce your chances of conception to some degree. There is no such thing as ‘too much’ sex when it comes to trying to conceive. The illustration on the right assumes a 28 day cycle. To establish your own fertile phase you may need to adjust the days on the basis of the length of your cycle. If it is longer than 28 days, it means ovulation occurs later; if shorter, it means you ovulate earlier. Best wishes in your quest.



Early head engagement

Question:  Hi, i am 28 weeks pregnant and think the baby has engaged. i feel low pressure and walking slower, waddling. should i go and see my midwife? i have an appointment next week but my partner thinks i should see her sooner. Thanks. T. (UK)


Answer: I cannot be sure whether what you are experiencing is due to head engagement. That rarely happens so far from term. However, even if this was engagement, it really does not have any significance as far as the progress of pregnancy is concerned. Contrary to what many seem to believe, head engagement is never a sign of impending labour. Some women will have the head engaged 5 weeks or more before they go into labour whilst others do not have engagement until just before labour onset. The point I want to stress is that engagement of the head has no predictive value as far as labour onset is concerned. Having said all that, I doubt that what you have is head engagement. At 28 weeks, that is very unlikely.



Medicines to avoid in early pregnancy

Question: What medicines should be avoided in the early stages of pregnancy and why? JK (USA)

Answer: The answer for such a questions would be several pages long for the simple reason that there are hundreds, even thousands of medications that should be avoided in pregnancy, particularly the early part. For practical reasons therefore I’m unable to give a list. In any case that will be of limited value because most of them will not be of relevance to any one individual. It is therefore more useful to ask whether a particular drug or group of drugs is safe or otherwise in pregnancy. Many medicines are contraindicated in early pregnancy because they carry a risk of teratogenicity. This means they can cause malformations. Because the early phase of pregnancy (the first 6-8 weeks) is the most sensitive in fetal life, this is the time when medicines should be avoided as far as practicable. This is the time when organ formation takes place and any chemical substances going into the body can have a devastating impact on this process. However, it is also important to know that there are medicines that are known to be safe even in that sensitive phase of the pregnancy. Paracetamol (Acetaminophen), the most ubiquitous painkiller is one of those. So are Penicillins which are some of the oldest and quite effective antibiotics. You can take a look at our section on ‘Medicines use in Pregnancy’ for a bit more information on this subject.


Contact with measles in early pregnancy

Question: I am about 6 weeks pregnant and my daughter has been in contact with a child with measles ( I have just been advised). Her appt for the MMR jab is on 22nd June (in 10 days time).Should I be concerned for my pregnancy and should I take any action? Many thanks. K.F. (UK)


Answer: In the UK, there are very few adults who are not immune to measles. Most would have been vaccinated against it and a small minority would have acquired immunity through getting the infection. As such, there is usually little concern arising from a pregnant woman or her family member coming in contact with measles.

I would tend to think you are immune to the measles infection, most probably from vaccination received during childhood. That means the baby in the womb is protected too. What’s more, coming in contact with measles for a child does not mean she is going to get the infection but even in the unlikely event that she gets the infection, this will not affect you or your unborn baby.