Pregnancy and Birth

The Science Of Making A Baby

Before I attempted to make a baby, I had absolutely no idea how scientific the whole process was. How very technical and precise one must be to get the right dates and timings. How you can use various sticks and swabs and specially brewed teas to optimise your chances. How you shouldn’t eat certain foods and should stand on your head for thirty minutes post intercourse to counter-act the effects of gravity (people write crazy shit on the internet don’t they?). I thought if you wanted to get pregnant you just would, unless you had a very serious and rare problem.

You see no one ever really told me how to get pregnant, only how not to. I mean I knew how to get pregnant in a literal sense – obvi. But as a young woman I was led to believe that I was in constant danger of getting pregnant and only the metaphorical layers and layers of contraception I wrapped around myself were preventing it.

Go on the pill! Use a condom!  Use spermicidal lubricant! Insert a metal coil up your hoo-hah!

I’d been hearing this constantly from my early teens, before I’d even entertained the idea of sex, I had been bombarded with a hundred ways of how not to get pregnant. Now I’m not saying its a bad thing to educate young women (and men) about contraception – its a marvellous thing and we are so lucky to live in a time, in a country that allows us all to make choices and understand sexual health.

I’m just explaining why I thought pregnancy was the 99% likely outcome of unprotected sex.

Turned out that wasn’t strictly true, humans are pretty crap at getting knocked up. First of all you’ve got a teeny-tiny fertility window each month of say three or four days so if you miss that or you can’t figure out when it is because your cycle is so irregular – you’re basically shooting in the dark, my friend. Then even if you do get it right, you’re up against sperm quality, stress and of course the off chance that the fucking stars and moon will align. Then you need to know your DPO from your CD and how to check your BBT and your EWCM. You’re basically going to get a crash course in Human Biology but not the kind they taught you at school. You remember that one lesson about the female menstrual cycle, the one with the weird charts talking about FSH and follicular phases? Well when you’re trying for a baby that all becomes crystal clear and you’ll be conducting a science experiment on yourself all month, every month until a blastocyst implants and your zygote becomes viable.

It actually sounds quite scary doesn’t it? Like the Alien movies or something. The science of making a baby, really is an education.

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  1. Morgan Prince says:

    Brilliant. I managed to get pregnant just when I wanted to – but I have no idea how we did it!! The weird thing about reading this is I’ve just finished reading the book Inconceivable by Ben Elton. A brilliantly written book about the art of trying to conceive. It was certainly an eye-opening read. I didn’t realise it was such a scientific process!
    Thanks for linking to #PoCoLo xx

  2. I have to admit that I do appear to be one of the ‘99% likely outcome of unprotected sex’ people. However, I agree – it is all so much more complex and difficult than we all imagine before finding out more! #fabfridaypost

  3. I’ve been calling it the Art of Making a Baby. 😉 #FabFridayPost xx

  4. Ha ha, this is so very true!!!! I spent so much time making sure I didn’t get pregnant in my younger years. Then was completely thrown by how hard it actually was to get pregnant when we started trying 🙂 #fabfridaypost

  5. elituesbay says:

    we found out about that when trying for the second one and facing secondary infertility for two years 🙁 now we are a happy family of four! 😉


  6. Oh is it technical! As two moms, imagine us trying to explain to two gay men friends the menstrual cycle, the sweet spot of days available, the swimming upstream like a salon…it was wild times, twice! It’s still a miracle to me that it ever happens at all. When you come down to it, we spend so much time in our youth trying not to get pregnant, only to find out that it is so friggin’ hard anyway. Oy…#FabFridayPost

  7. min1980 says:

    It’s a funny old thing. I have been through all sorts in my time-including getting pregnant after taking the morning after pill (although I later lost the baby), and then having fertility treatment (which was a whole other science in itself!) #FabFridayPost

  8. They make it sound so easy, but when you go into it, it’s so hideously complicated it’s a miracle that each one of us exists!

  9. booandmaddie says:

    It’s SUCH an education – as someone who can’t have children (and is now very happily embracing an adult-only future), it took me years of railing against pretty much everyone at the unfairness of it all. And yet for those who have 20 children, or who abuse their children (or worse), it does feel like having babies is the easiest thing in the world. C’est La Vie #PoCoLo

  10. So freaking true! I never in a million years thought I would be charting my body temperatures for several months to have a baby. O.o

  11. Funnily enough my experience was kind of the opposite to this – after visiting the dr to discuss my lack of / irregular periods, I was tested, scanned etc and diagnosed with PCOS. I was told that it would be difficult to conceive naturally and offered medication to ‘help things along’. As my hubby and I had only been married a for few weeks I didn’t think much about it straight away as we weren’t in any rush to start a family – 2 months later – BOOM! Baby Spud was on his way! Similar thing happened with our 2nd child, after a short time ‘not being careful’ I started feeling a bit off, (remember, missed periods were the norm for me) and sure enough those little blue lines confirmed baby No.2 was on the way. These were both ‘against the odds’ babies so although they came a little sooner than planned I always believe that I was very, very lucky to become pregnant either time. I’ve known a few people go through a lot to be able to finally conceive and I appreciate that it could so easily have been me. Maybe in my case 50% science 50% luck??#FabFridayPost

  12. That picture! Hilarity. And yes, totally agree! #FabFridayPost

  13. This is so true – I was stunned when I didn’t get pregnant straight away, because that’s what you’re taught isn’t it – if you have unprotected sex, you WILL get pregnant! Never suspected that this wasn’t actually the case!! #PoCoLo

  14. It is crazy, I (naughtily) have had sex using the pull out method many times, and believed that I would fall pregnant every time but it wasn’t until I was on permanent contraception that I actually did! It is bizarre how human’s work!


  15. Love this! I too thought that getting pregnant would be a walk in the park! It came as a huge shock when we realised that getting pregnant, and for me STAYING pregnant, wasn’t as easy as we had thought!! With my first husband we endured years of fertility treatment, having two sons (my second was stillborn at full term) and yet losing fifteen much longed for babies across the way. I had just about given up hope of every falling pregnant again, more so when my marriage ended, but then I met my second husband and had three babies in two years, two of which were conceived while on the pill! I think sometimes it’s just the way that things work out, perhaps the hand of fate, the compatibility of two people and the chemistry of the sperm and the egg, I don’t know, either way it’s a world away from what I thought it would be! #fabfridaypost

  16. Totally agree! Although I have to say number 1 happened fast – almost shockingly fast. It was like – oh I’m pregnant – that was easy. But I have friends who’ve tried for years. Sarah #FabFridayPost

  17. Kerry-Ann says:

    It does all seem to have become a bit of a science experiment. I can’t wait for virtual reality to go mainstream to hear of virtual reality conceptions and virtual reality babies…you’ll see, it’ll be a thing😜 #FabFridayPost

  18. So right, baby-making is complicated and seems to get more so the older you get (unlike other stuff -inverse science???). My tiwns were born thanks to IVF and so now I really seriously believe actually getting pregnant is a biological miracle! #FabFridayPost

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  20. Thirtysomethingbelle says:

    I love this post! I was THAT girl who found herself 16 years old and 5 months pregnant when I went to see my GP about a ‘bug I couldn’t seem to shake’ *eye roll* Cue my now almost 16 year old bouncing ‘baby’ girl! However when it came to conceiving her sister 3 years later, I soon discovered there was a bit more to it then accidently missing the pill a few times as previously. We tried for a long time and failed miserably. Eventually, the blue line appeared and baby number 2 was on her way. It is very much a science it seems! Xx

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