How Should You Choose Your Pregnancy Team
As you investigate medical practitioners, ask plenty of questions about each persons approach to prenatal care, testing, labor and birth procedures and protocol for complications. The more information you gather, the more informed your decision will be. If you currently see an OB/GYN, take stock of your relationship in case you decide youll need to shop around for a new one.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
Tests Of Reproductive Organs
Hysterosalpingogram . Also called a “tubogram,” this is a series of X-rays of your fallopian tubes and uterus. The X-rays are taken after your doctor injects liquid dye through the vagina. Another method uses saline and air instead of dye and an ultrasound.
The HSG can help you learn if your fallopian tubes are blocked or if you have any defects of your uterus. The test is usually done just after your menstrual period.
Transvaginal ultrasound. A doctor places an ultrasound “wand” into the vagina and brings it close to the pelvic organs. Using sound waves, they’ll be able to see images of the ovaries and uterus to check for problems there.
Hysteroscopy. Your doctor puts a thin, flexible tube — with a camera on the end — through the cervix and into the uterus. They can see problems there and take tissue samples if needed.
Laparoscopy. Your doctor makes small cuts in your belly and inserts tools, including a camera. This surgery can check your entire pelvis and potentially correct problems, such as endometriosis, a disease that affects your pelvic organs.
How Often To Have Sexual Intercourse
To give yourselves the best chance of success, try to have sex every two to three days. If you are under psychological stress, it can affect your relationship and is likely to reduce your sex drive.
If this means you do not have sex as often as usual, this may also affect you or your partners chances of getting pregnant.
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Problem Is With Him Not You
Women may carry the baby, but it takes two to tango. Twenty to 30% of infertile couples discover fertility factors on the man’s side. Another 40% find infertility factors on both sides.
Another thing you need to know: male infertility rarely has symptoms that are observable without a semen analysis, which is a test that measures the health of the semen and sperm. When you do see the doctor, make sure you are both tested.
Blood Tests And Semen Analysis
Once the interview is out of the way, your infertility workup will likely begin with a physical exam and blood tests to check levels of female hormones, thyroid hormones, prolactin, and male hormones, as well as for HIV and hepatitis.
The physical exam may include a pelvic examination to look for chlyamydia, gonorrhea, or other genital infections that may contribute to the fertility problem.
The male partner may also need to be evaluated for genital infections. Your doctor will suggest a complete semen analysis for the male partner to check the number, shape, and motility of the sperm.
Your doctor may schedule other blood tests around the woman’s menstrual cycle. For example, tests for follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone must be done on day two or three of your cycle. Luteinizing hormone surges in the middle of your menstrual cycle — in the mid-luteal phase — so you may need to come in for more tests then, and again about seven days after you begin ovulating. After you’re ovulating, your doctor will also test your estradiol and progesterone levels and compare them with the levels taken on day two or three of your cycle.
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This article was co-authored by Jennifer Butt, MD. Jennifer Butt, MD, is a board certified Obstetrician and Gynecologist operating her private practice, Upper East Side OB/GYN, in New York City, New York. She is affiliated with Lenox Hill Hospital. She earned a BA in Biological Studies from Rutgers University and an MD from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. She then completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Dr. Butt is board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and a member of the American Medical Association.There are 12 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This article received 18 testimonials and 94% of readers who voted found it helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 1,517,052 times.
What To Expect When You See A Doctor For Fertility Issues
When you see your doctor, they will talk to you about timing sex to when youre ovulating and assess your lifestyle habits, such as smoking, alcohol intake and weight. They will also take a health history, asking about medical issues, sexually transmitted infections and previous miscarriages. Its important to have your partner come to this appointment because half of fertility issues are traced back to men.
If youve been diagnosed as infertile, your doctor will likely request basic tests, which might include a sperm analysis and a blood test to look at your thyroid levels and other hormonal issues. If you have one of the most common issues for womenpolycystic ovary syndrome, which makes you release eggs infrequently or not at allthey might talk to you about taking a drug called Letrozole to stimulate ovulation.
If your doctor doesnt find a problem with these tests, you might be referred to a fertility specialist for more tests, such as an ultrasound and a sonohysterogram . Depending on the results, your doctor might talk to you about fertility treatment options like intrauterine insemination , in vitro fertilization , surgery to increase sperm counts in men or a procedure to open blocked fallopian tubes in women.
Medical intervention might not be necessary at allabout 50 percent of couples get pregnant on their own in their second year of trying. If you do need it, know that getting medical help can be an emotionaland expensiveprocess, but its often very effective.
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Choosing A Certified Nurse
An CNM is a medical professional who has completed accredited graduate-level programs in midwifery and passed a certification exam from the American Midwifery Certification Board to become licensed by the American College of Nurse-Midwives to practice in all 50 states and U.S. territories. CNMs are trained to care for women with low-risk pregnancies with the goal of reducing birth injury, trauma and cesarean section by providing individualized care and minimal technological intervention.
This practitioner also handles primary health care needs, such as preconception advice, newborn care, family planning and treatment for STDs. A CNM often focuses on more natural approaches to labor and delivery , and may be more likely than MDs to offer nutritional and breastfeeding support. CNMs work in hospitals and birthing centers though some perform home births, and in some settings they can prescribe epidurals and labor-inducing medication.
- A certified nurse-midwife might be right for you if… having a natural childbirth is your number one priority or youre on a tight budget . To locate a CNM, check out Midwife.org.
- but keep this in mind: You might need a doctor in a high-risk pregnancy .
What Tests Can You Get Before Pregnancy To Help You Find Out About Genetic Conditions That May Affect Your Baby
Before pregnancy, you can have carrier screening tests that check your blood or saliva to see if youre a carrier of certain genetic conditions. Genetic conditions are passed from parents to children through genes. Genes are parts of your body’s cells that store instructions for the way your body grows and works. If youre a carrier, you dont have the condition yourself, but you have a gene change for it that you can pass to your baby.
If both you and your partner are carriers of the same condition, the risk that your baby has the condition increases. Getting tested before pregnancy can help you and your partner look at your babys risk and make decisions about getting pregnant. Your partner can get tested, too. Carrier screening is your choice. You dont have to do it if you dont want to, even if your provider recommends it.
All women who are thinking about getting pregnant can get screened for:
- Cystic fibrosis . CF is a condition that affects breathing and digestion. Digestion is the way your body processes the food you eat.
- Spinal muscular atrophy . SMA is a disease that attacks nerve cells in the spinal cord. It weakens muscles and can affect movement, breathing and swallowing.
- Thalassemias. These are blood conditions that cause the body to make fewer healthy red blood cells and less hemoglobin than normal. Hemoglobin is a protein in red blood cells.
- Hemoglobinopathies. These conditions affect red blood cells in the body.
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Ways Doctors Can Help You Get Pregnant That Don’t Involve Ivf
IVF is not always necesary. Read this Glamor Health artilce about alternatives.
Most of us spend years trying to avoid getting pregnant. But, when you actually want to conceive, it can be harder than you thought.
If its taking time for you to get pregnant, doctors stress that you shouldnt freak out and assume you need in vitro fertilization . Not that theres anything wrong with IVF, of courseit can just be costly, doesnt have a guaranteed success rate, and can be tough on you and your partner.
Luckily, there are many other things doctors can try first. IVF is not necessary in most cases, says Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever. Theres a protocol we go through. Nobody goes straight to IVF.
Board-certified ob-gyn Pari Ghodsi, M.D., also points out that a third of fertility problems can be attributed to the guy, and another third are due to unknown factors, so it takes some trial-and-error. There are many tests to diagnose the problem and each has individualized treatments, she says.
Most doctors wont want to have the fertility talk unless youve been having regular, unprotected sex for a year without getting pregnant, Dr. Ghodsi says. At that point, there are a variety of options they can look into:
What Are The Different Ways I Can Get Pregnant
In order to get pregnant, sperm needs to fertilize an egg. Pregnancy officially starts when a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of your uterus, where it grows into a baby over 9 months. There are a few different ways this can happen.
The most common way people get pregnant is from vaginal sex when a person who has a penis ejaculates inside the other persons vagina. Sperm cells in semen swim up the vagina, through the cervix and uterus, and into the fallopian tubes. If theres an egg in the fallopian tube and it meets up with sperm, the fertilized egg moves down into the uterus. If the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus, pregnancy begins.
Its also possible to get pregnant from other kinds of sexual activity even if the penis doesnt ejaculate inside the vagina but this is way less common. If semen gets ON the vulva or near the vaginal opening, sperm cells can swim into the vagina and cause pregnancy. This can happen if semen drips or is wiped onto the vulva, or if someone touches your vulva or vagina with fingers or sex toys that have wet semen on them. Pre-ejaculate can also have a tiny bit of sperm in it, so pre-cum may cause pregnancy if it gets into the vagina.
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What Is A Preconception Checkup And Why Is It Important
A preconception checkup helps your health care provider make sure that your body is ready for pregnancy. If you can, get your checkup from the health care provider you want to take care of you during pregnancy. You can get a preconception checkup any time even up to a year before you want to get pregnant.
Some medical conditions, like depression, diabetes, high blood pressure and not being at a healthy weight can affect pregnancy and your fertility . Smoking or abusing street or prescription drugs can also affect them. Your provider can help you manage health conditions and make changes in your life to help your baby is born healthy.
Get a preconception checkup even if youve already had a baby. Your health may have changed since you were last pregnant. If you had a problem in a past pregnancy, your provider may be able to help you avoid the same problem in your next pregnancy. Get a preconception checkup if youve had:
- Premature birth. This is birth that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
- A baby with birth defects. Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. They change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, in how the body develops or in how the body works.
- Miscarriage. This is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
- Stillbirth. This is when a baby dies in the womb before birth, but after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
What Are Early Pregnancy Symptoms
Many people notice symptoms early in their pregnancy, but others may not have any symptoms at all.
Common signs and symptoms of pregnancy can include:
Peeing more often than usual
Some early pregnancy symptoms can sometimes feel like other common conditions . So the only way to know for sure if youre pregnant is to take a pregnancy test. You can either take a home pregnancy test , or get a pregnancy test at your doctors office or local Planned Parenthood Health Center.
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How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant
The amount of time it takes to get pregnant is different for each person, and can depend on a lot of things .
If youre fertile and having unprotected vaginal sex, theres a very good chance youll get pregnant within 1 year. About 85 out of 100 people who try to get pregnant succeed within 1 year. But everyones different for some people its much faster, while it may take longer for others.
If youve been trying to get pregnant for 6 months to a year with no luck, talk with your doctor, or visit your local Planned Parenthood health center to see if they can help and make sure everythings okay.
When To Consult Doctor For Pregnancy Test
Those two lines cant actually assure youre pregnant. Which means, its always best to perform the Home Pregnancy Test at least twice to double-check. But if it shows those two lines both times, its probably time to make an appointment with your gynecologist.
You can make an appointment starting the first day youve noticed your missing period. Officially your pregnancy counts from the first day of your last menstrual period, which means, for your practitioner youre almost 5 weeks pregnant now and he or she can provide you with a few tests and check if your positive pregnancy test wasnt wrong.
Your practitioner may be able to see you as soon as possible, or maybe, if he or she works in some very busy office, you may have to wait for a few weeks. There are offices that require waiting until 68 weeks of pregnancy before the first appointment. The others are ready to start examining you right away. And most offices have an option of an early check if all you need is some reassurance and a few tests.
For you, the best option will be an appointment to the doctor you know and, which is more important, for the doctor who knows you. You are going to put all your medical history on the table if youre pregnant, so maybe youll need some help. Doesnt it feel easier to reconstitute everything that happened to your health before with a doctor youve been working with for years?
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How Do Doctors Test For Pregnancy At A Clinic
After discussing your history, your doctor will ask you about any home pregnancy test that you took.
After that, they will give you a urine collecting bottle. A woman who has blood clotting problems might need a hospital urine pregnancy test.
Depending on the time of your visit, the doctor might recommend another visit or sending an early morning urine sample.
The doctor will then use a sensitive pregnancy test to detect pregnancy.
When a woman is pregnant her urine has a considerable level of hCG. hCG is a pregnancy hormone that starts coming in urine after implantation.
The embryo after implantation gets a placental layer. This layer produces many hormones including hCG.
Pregnancy tests have a dye that reacts with hCG hormone and gives a color.
A doctor may also use a digital pregnancy test to detect pregnancy. Urine hCG pregnancy test is one of the many options available for testing pregnancy.
The CPC code for urine pregnancy test is 81025.
It is important to know that an ultrasound pregnancy test cannot be done at such an early stage.
Doctors do the first prenatal ultrasound generally after the sixth week of pregnancy.
Even a transvaginal Ultrasound will not be able to detect anything at such an early stage.