Did the mini you dream of having or having a child when you were big and strong? And is this dream about to come true? At some point the time will come: the biological clock or the clattering ovaries will knock on your door. Are you or are you and your partner ready for the first steps into parenthood? Yes? How nice! Then now officially the first moments of your new life phase begin. We will be taking you through the next few blogs to get you ready for your new role in life. We will dive deeper into the desire to become a mom or dad, the important players in the female body to get pregnant and about the most fertile periods. So we ask you: will you say yes to the baby?
Ready for a baby?
Does your current family composition need an addition? We completely understand that! Nature created an organism to reproduce and a large part of our society experiences the need to take on the role of parent (Stegeman, 2020). But in practice, there is some work involved in getting the egg cell with the sperm cell together at the right time. During the meeting of the two cells, the different DNAs fuse together. This moment determines the appearance and character of your baby (Erfelijkheid.nl, s.d.). In the rest of the blog we will take you through how the female body works, what to look out for to increase the chances of a pregnancy and how the fusion process works.
The functioning of the female body
Regularly the terms Hormones, egg and ovulation These terms are all around your ears when you start this new step in life. Not surprisingly, these three terms, among others, are key players in the female body's ability to conceive. Your two ovaries produce one (and sometimes several) mature egg(s) each month that are literally waiting to be fertilized. Maturation is made possible by hormones (Vos, s.d.). Yes hormones, many women have had their own experience and conflicts with this. Fluctuating emotions, a great craving for chocolate or hot flashes that you can't cool down from (Care for Woman, s.d.). But hormones ensure the maturation of the chosen egg - also known as dominant follicle - per cycle. And last but definitely not least: ovulation. During ovulation, your mature egg literally leaps out of the ovaries towards the uterus via the fallopian tubes. When the egg is in the fallopian tubes this is the moment for the egg to be fertilised (Vos, s.d.).
A fruitful conversation, uh moment
You see, the female body is very complex and therefore has certain moments when it is extra fertile - mainly around ovulation - and therefore the chance of pregnancy is greater. Therefore, it also varies from woman to woman when ovulation occurs (Pure Obstetrics, s.d.). Usually the egg jumps out of the ovaries on day fourteen of the cycle. The moment of your ovulation is often easy to calculate, you can do this by counting from the first day of your last menstruation (Pregnancy Portal, s.d.). If you have no regularity in your period, contact your doctor. They may refer you to a gynaecologist to take a closer look at your cycle. If the date is known, it is important to know that you are most fertile two days before your ovulation and a few hours after. This is because in these 36 hours the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) is initiated. Your chance of becoming pregnant is increased if you have regular sex during the LH peak. If you have difficulty conceiving naturally or if there is no male partner involved, then artificial insemination must also take place around ovulation (Pure Obstetrics, s.d.). How beautiful the female body is and how magical in its own way!
Insemination of the fertilised egg
During the LH surge, the mature egg cell bursts open and is guided through the fallopian tubes on its way to the uterus. The egg cell is fully ready and can be fertilised by the sperm cells in the fallopian tube. The egg then finds its way into the uterus and tries to find a place in the endometrium to nestle - also known as implantation. If the egg is not properly fertilised or cannot find a good nesting place, the egg is expelled through the vagina along with the mucous membrane. This moment is also called your menstruation (Vos, s.d.). This is of course very bad, but don't give up and try again next month! We keep our fingers crossed for you.
One or more mature ova
We mentioned earlier about the chosen egg, but it is also possible that the ovaries release two eggs. If they do this, the chance of having two-egg twins is possible. Identical twins are possible if one egg is fertilized by two embryos. Or throw the eggs into the mix, and think to yourself that a chance of three-four, quintuplets (and so on) is also possible. The chances are smaller, but nothing is impossible (Vink, 2016). Note to self: being pregnant with multiple births is very special, but also very demanding and comes with a bit more risk. Multiple births tend to be born earlier than single births, often the babies are expected around 37 weeks (Pregnancy Portal, 2020).
Tip of the day: folic acid
In case you don't know it, that's about to change! Folic acid - also known as B11 - helps to reduce the risk of spina bifida in your baby. That's why we recommend that you start taking this vitamin now. It takes four weeks on average for your body to absorb the required amount of folic acid. Are you not pregnant? Then just keep taking the pills. That way you will be refuelled with the right amount of folic acid at all times for the best health of your little one (Cornel et al., 2010).
End of biology lesson
Did your biology teacher ever tell you the workings of the female body? Hasn't he? We think it's important to impregnate our moms and dads with the right information and knowledge. Besides wanting a baby, it's also very important to know how to do so, what to look out for, and how the female body works. The better you know this, the greater the chance of getting pregnant. Sometimes easier said than done, because every body is different. So relax, breathe in and out and get to know your body! This stage of life can be very exciting and the question of whether you will be able to get pregnant or not can be a daunting one. do well will probably be running through your head. But remember: you are just another flesh and blood human being, and hopefully with a baby in your belly soon too!
Care for Woman. (s.d.). Complaints. Caregivers Care for Woman. https://zorgverleners.careforwomen.nl/specialistische-zorg/care-for-women-specialiste/klachten/#:~:text=Denk%20aan%20gewrichtspijn%2C%20slapeloosheid%2C%20stemmingswisselingen,je%20zwangerschap%20of%20je%20menstruatie.
Cornel, M., de Walle, H., & de Jong-van den Berg, L. (2010). Folic acid around conception. https://www.henw.org/system/files/download/henw-2002-07-354.pdf
Heredity.com. (s.d.). Passing on DNA at conception | Erfelijkheid.nl. https://erfelijkheid.nl/erfelijkheid/dna-doorgeven-bij-de-bevruchting#:%7E:text=Bij%20de%20bevruchting%20smelten%20een,welke%20kenmerken%20het%20kind%20heeft.
Stegeman, L. (2020, May 14). Why do you have to explain that you don't want kids and not that you do? Quest. https://www.quest.nl/mens/psychologie/a32449231/waarom-wel-geen-kinderwens/
Finch, J. M. (2016). Are you an addict? https://repository.ubn.ru.nl/bitstream/handle/2066/160411/160411.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
Vos, K. (s.d.). Ovaries and Fallopian tubes - Human body | Gezondheidsplein.nl. Health Square. https://www.gezondheidsplein.nl/menselijk-lichaam/eierstokken-en-eileiders/item45062
Pure Obstetrician. (s.d.). When to be fertile | about fertility and getting pregnant - Zuiver Verloskundigen. https://zuiververloskundigen.nl/zwanger-worden/wanneer-vruchtbaar#:%7E:text=Per%20cyclus%20is%20de%20vrouw,ovulatiepijn%20of%20een%20hogere%20lichaamstemperatuur.
Pregnancy Portal. (s.d.). Calculate your fertile days. https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/zwanger-worden/vruchtbare-dagen-berekenen
Pregnancy Portal. (2020). Pregnant with twins or multiples: everything you need to know. https://www.zwangerenportaal.nl/zwanger/zwanger-van-een-tweeling-of-meerling-alles-wat-je-moet-weten