We've all heard the adage about "childbearing hips," an old wives tale that isn't based in scientific fact. But there are actual signs your body was made for childbearing, though most aren't visible to the naked eye.
Those who are trying to conceive (TTC) often feel overwhelmed and intimidated by the process, because so many different variables can impact your likelihood of getting pregnant. 10% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, which is about 6.5 million people, a staggeringly high number, according to the Office on Women's Health. If pregnancy doesn't come quickly for you, it doesn't mean there is necessarily an underlying issue, and struggling with conception doesn't mean it won't ever happen. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine recommends making an appointment with your OB-GYN if you're not pregnant after a year of trying, as they can help you nail down what any issues may be.
On the flip side, your body might be trying to show you it's ready to make and carry a baby every month without you even knowing. While your hips can't tell you if you'll have an easy time getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy, tracking your body's changes is a helpful tool. Becoming more aware of what you should notice in regards to your fertility is a great step if you're starting the TTC process.
1. You Have A Lot Of Discharge When You Ovulate
Women experience a variety of kinds of discharge throughout their monthly cycles, and during ovulation, the body will start to secrete egg white cervical mucus (EWCM), which has a thick consistency (much like egg whites, thus the name). It's texture is ideal for conception as it is the best viscosity and pH to protect sperm and help it travel, per VeryWell Family.
Dr. Alan Copperman, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Mount Sinai and Medical Director at Progyny explains to Romper via email that this kind of discharge could be "a sign of the 'fertile window,'" which is why those who are trying to conceive should be cognizant of the changes happening down there. And if you have more EWCM, your body could be better suited to conceiving, as sperm will have an easier journey to egg.
2. Intercourse Is Pain-Free
It's no guarantee that pain-free sex will predict childbearing will be easy for you, but there is a link between discomfort during intercourse and infertility. As Dr. Copperman says, "In some women, pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) may be a sign of endometriosis," which is linked to infertility. So if you rarely experience any pain when you're getting busy, it could be a sign pregnancy will come easy to you.
3. You're At A Healthy Weight
As the Office on Women's Health explains, weight can impact ovulation: Being underweight can cause your body to produce too little estrogen, while being overweight can make your body to produce too much. Estrogen "is important in preparing a woman's body for pregnancy," so having too much or too little could prevent you from getting pregnant. Additionally, babies with mothers who are under or overweight are at higher risk of birth defects, diseases, and being premature, so if you're healthy during your pregnancy, your baby is more likely to be healthy.
If you are concerned about your weight, have a conversation with your doctor about the steps you can take get within a weight range that is healthy for you.
4. Your Hair Is Consistent
A common symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), which is known to impact fertility, excess hair growth your face or body, as well as thinning of the hair on your head, per MayoClinic. So if the amount of hair you have is staying consistent, you're likely in a good place to get pregnant and bear a child. Any seemingly instantaneous change to your hair isn't normal and could mean your body is no longer ovulating, so you should check with your doctor if you notice anything different.
5. Your Periods Are Super Regular
A period you can expect on the third Saturday of every month isn't a guarantee that everything is working as it should be, but it's a good sign your body is in the right zone. Irregular periods can indicate your body isn't ovulating, so you should talk to your doctor if you frequently skip your period, spot, or if your period comes at an unexpected time. Indeed, WebMD reports that "irregular or abnormal ovulation accounts for 30% to 40% of all cases of infertility," though the definition of a "normal" menstrual cycle is different for every woman. Planned Parenthood recommends tracking your menstruation on a calendar or app "to learn what’s normal for your body, and help you know if anything changes." And if you do notice a sudden or dramatic change in your cycles, schedule a trip to the doctor ASAP.
6. Your Cramps Are Manageable
In general, period cramps are a result of your uterus contracting to shed your uterine lining, and they're a perfectly normal, though frustrating, part of a woman's cycle. But intense cramps can be a symptom of multiple diseases that decrease fertility, such as endometriosis, fibroid tumors, and pelvic inflammatory disease, according to Very Well Family. But Dr. Copperman says that "a woman who is experiencing significant pain with her menstrual period or with intercourse... should be seen and evaluated by a specialist" to find out what the cause of the pain is, as it could be something serious.
These signs may or may not indicate the state of your fertility; the only way you can know for sure if your body is ready for childbearing is to a) get pregnant or b) go to your doctor and get some testing done. A health care professional can provide a lot of the info you might be seeking regarding your reproductive system, whether you're currently trying to get pregnant or not. But as many OB-GYNs will tell you, there's no need to panic about not getting pregnant until you've been trying without success for a while.
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