Reader BFPs! and stress is OK

Earlier this week I opened my e-mail to the usual work business and ads. But amid the banality were two wonderful letters from readers of The Impatient Woman’s Guide. Best of all, both had gotten pregnant in just three months! Way to go, Impatient Women!

Meanwhile, the research literature on stress and fertility continues to be interesting. In the book I discuss the lack of evidence for what many people (including doctors) assume is true — that stress and worrying can lower fertility. It’s one reason why some doctors believe that ovulation prediction (such as charting or the fertility monitor) equates to “worrying too much” and might hurt rather than help. It’s true that depression lowers fertility, but there’s very little research on anxiety and stress. Now there’s a new, fairly extensive study showing that stress and anxiety has no effect on fertility, even when they measured it with stress hormones such as cortisol.

My favorite finding in this study was that women high in “trait anxiety” (us worriers) got pregnant just as fast as our calm sisters. Of course, it’s possible that future research will show reduced fertility with stress, but for such a commonly held belief there’s remarkably little evidence to back it up — and now some evidence to suggest it’s not true at all.

So: ovulation predict away — it will help you get pregnant faster if that is your goal. Try not to stress out just because stressing out doesn’t feel good, but know that “worrying too much” is unlikely to harm your chances of getting pregnant unless you get depressed.

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Thank you, Bumpies!

Just wanted to say thanks to the Bump Trying to Get Pregnant community boards for the SO for the book. So glad you liked it! Calming down TTC women since 2005 … (I started with myself. I needed it!)

The post is here. Thank you again!

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Joel Stein’s awesome Babble article on the book

… can be found here. If you’ve ever seen Joel’s column in Time magazine you know how hilarious he is, so it’s great to see him train his humor on the topic of trying to conceive. Because as stressful as it is, TTC has its moments of ridiculous hilarity, and Joel captures that perfectly. He even made me sound funnier than I actually am. Thank you, Joel.

And check out Joel’s new book Man Made — his quest to learn how to be a real man after having a son. He even did a few days of basic training with the Army and the Marines! A great story and very, very funny — and surprisingly insightful. You’ll love it. Mostly you’ll laugh your butt off.

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Thanks to the mommy bloggers — you rock!

Just wanted to send out an SO and a big thank you to the bloggers who have featured The Impatient Woman’s Guide recently!

Sunshine and Sippy Cups

Maria’s Space


Celebrity Parents Magazine

And here are 10 little known fertility facts, published in Metro. One more: 10 tips from!

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The day of ovulation myth

Fertility monitors, OPK instructions, and most books & websites say that the day of ovulation is the most fertile day. I was reminded of this today when, just for fun, I took this quiz on Baby Center. If you answer “one or two days before ovulation” to question 3, it will tell you you’re wrong and that it’s the day of ovulation.

Except the quiz is wrong. See, for example, this study, just one among many that finds that the day of ovulation isn’t all that fertile (Figure 1 is the best illustration). One or two days before is better. The one study that did find the highest fertility on the day of ovulation was later updated to eliminate early miscarriages. When this is done, the day before ovulation was the most fertile even in that study.

In The Impatient Woman’s Guide, I describe how to modify charting, the fertility monitor, and OPKs to take advantage of this fact. It’s important, because if you use these methods and assume the day of ovulation is the most fertile you might be decreasing instead of increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

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The Impatient Woman’s shopping list

One of the appendices in The Impatient Woman’s Guide to Getting Pregnant is a shopping guide. But you might want to buy the book and everything else you need for trying to conceive in one order (maybe to get the free shipping? That’s what I do!)

So, as a bonus feature for my website visitors, here is a condensed version of the shopping list:

— Prenatal vitamins. My favorite: Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System. (Or their Prenatal One version, and add calcium supplements). One of the few prenatals that has enough vitamin B6, which can increase fertility. Start taking them right away!

— Omega-3 fish oil. Look for higher mg of DHA and EPA. If you go to Costco get their one-a-day 1000mg.

— The ClearBlue fertility monitor and a 3-month supply of sticks.

— If you want to chart, the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility. It’s a good supplement to Impatient Woman — I describe the basics of charting, but you might want more details.

— A digital thermometer

— Pregnancy tests. (the cheap ones are usually fine; get First Response Early Result if you want to splurge and test super-early). Get at least one digital one to tell your husband.

— Pre-Seed lubricant (only if you usually use lubricant).

— A rice cooker and/or steamer.

Do NOT buy any other supplements yet. As I describe in the book, some of them can actually harm your fertility. Everything here will help it or at least won’t hurt as long as you take or use them in moderation.

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TV coverage

It’s been fun talking about the book on TV the last few days. NBC 7 San Diego aired a story last night at 11pm (Monday) and it’s also online.

Yesterday I did KPBS local NPR radio and public TV.

This morning it was CW Channel 6 on their show San Diego Living (no link yet; stay tuned).

TV studios are always so interesting — usually an oasis of nice-looking chairs and tables (on camera) surrounded by concrete floors, huge cameras, and lots of black cables (off camera, of course). This morning on Ch. 6 I saw the weather guy talking outside in front of some palm trees on the monitor — I assumed he was offsite at the beach or something. Then two minutes later he walks inside and takes off his mike! So he was either in the back lot or in front of some fake background.

My favorite of all time is the studio in downtown where they do satellite TV. It’s in a basement, and they put a flat screen TV behind you that has a tape of the San Diego skyline with traffic on the freeways. It’s on an endless loop, and the guy who runs the studio told me once that you can see the same big truck pass by every 10 minutes. Awesome.

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