When To Get Help
The process of TTC can feel exhausting and frustrating at times, no matter how old you are. However, most women do not need to worry if it takes them a while to get pregnant. Women who are under the age of 35 and have been trying for at least one year, or women older than 35 who have been trying for at least six months, should consult a fertility specialist for help getting pregnant. You should also talk to your doctor if you want to conceive but have a health condition that may impact your fertility, such as endometriosis or PCOS.
Medically Reviewed by Banafsheh Kashani, MD, FACOG
Banafsheh Kashani, M.D., FACOG is a board-certified OB/GYN and specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Eden Fertility Centers, and has been treatingcouples and individuals with infertility since 2014.
Dr. Kashani has conducted extensive research in female reproduction, with a specific focus on the endometrium and implantation.
Additionally, Dr. Kashani has authored papers in the areas of fertility preservation, and fertility in women with PCOS and Turners syndrome. She also was part of a large SART-CORS study evaluating the trend in frozen embryo transfers and success rates.
Your Health And Fertility
If you are trying to conceive it is best for you and your partner to maintain a healthy lifestyle, reduce your alcohol and caffeine consumption, stop smoking, eat well and exercise moderately. Your cycle, or the regularity of your cycle, can be affected by stress and emotional distress, changes in weight or excessive physical activity.
If you have any medical conditions or take prescription medications, natural supplements or other drugs it may be wise to discuss these with your doctor in advance of trying to get pregnant.
Being very overweight or underweight has been shown to interfere with ovulation and fertility. Aim to keep your weight within the healthy weight range before pregnancy.
For women with polycystic ovarian syndrome this may not be so easy. However there are some very good management strategies that have been developed in recent years and it is worth speaking to dieticians who have some expertise and experience with this condition.
During pregnancy, it is normal to change weight and shape. Often this is a very difficult issue for many women and it is not unusual to become very self-conscious and even depressed about body image. If you are eating well, exercising regularly and maintaining a reasonably healthy lifestyle it is likely that your body changes are all quite normal. However, if you are feeling concerned about your weight and your body changes, talk to your doctor or midwife who will refer you to an appropriate health professional.
Can You Stop A Miscarriage Once Its Started
In most cases, you cannot stop a miscarriage once it has started, no matter the trimester you are currently in. The symptoms of a miscarriage typically indicate the pregnancy is already over.
In some cases, the symptoms may be a sign of a condition called threatened miscarriage. This can occurs in people who are less than 20 weeks pregnant. You may experience heavy bleeding and assume your pregnancy is ending.
However, if a fetal heartbeat is still present, the pregnancy can continue, despite what appears to be signs of an impending miscarriage. Its important, however, that you work with your doctor to help prevent a full miscarriage.
Treatment for a threatened miscarriage includes:
- bed rest
There is no shortage of misunderstandings and myths about the unexpected end of a pregnancy. Here, learn more about several common miscarriage misconceptions and the truth behind them.
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What Is A Pre
A pre-pregnancy checkup is a medical checkup you get before pregnancy. It helps your health care provider make sure youre healthy and that your body is ready for pregnancy. The checkup helps your provider treat and sometimes prevent health conditions that may affect your pregnancy. For example, your provider checks to make sure your vaccinations are up to date and gives you any you need before pregnancy.
If you can, get your pre-pregnancy checkup with the health care provider you want to take care of you when you do get pregnant. You can get a pre-pregnancy checkup any time. Get one even if youve already had a baby. Your health may have changed since you were last pregnant.
Keep These Things In Mind While Using Natural Contraceptives
There are certain things you should keep in mind when you use any of the above home remedies:
- If youre looking for an effective way to avoid pregnancy and are considering any one of the above methods on a long-term basis, consult a gynaecologist.
- Many of the herbs and foods listed above are neither 100% effective nor 100% free from side effects. Some carry risks that may prove harmful in the long run.
- If you experience any abnormal health effects after taking the remedy, stop taking it.
- Make sure you eat healthily while taking any birth control measures.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, the home remedies to prevent unwanted pregnancy are not as effective as condoms, contraceptive pills or other medical contraceptive devices. Practising safe sex is always the best option. Consult your doctor so that you can proceed without anxiety or fear. After all, its always better to be safe than sorry.
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If You’re A Smoker Stop
Lets be honest: You shouldnt be smoking at all. But, if you are, youre planning on throwing out your cigarettes as soon as those two little blue lines showed up on your drugstore pregnancy testthe CDC has linked smoking during pregnancy to premature birth and certain birth defects.
But Masterson says that smoking during childbearing years, pregnant or not, can also put you at risk for early menopause, and drastically increase the number of eggs you lose every month. Basically, smoking is unhealthy at any stage of life, and may even hinder your family-planning goals.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
When your circadian rhythms are off, it can throw off your ovulation cycles, says Masterson. We see it a lot in women who work night shifts and travel internationally, frequently.
If you have a job that interferes with a normal sleep routine, consider switching your schedule if its not, try to get as much sleep in your downtime as you can to avoid accruing a sleep debt.
But even if you work a traditional 9 to 5, cleaning up your sleep habits may boost your pregnancy chances, too, says Masterson, by helping your body perform optimally. Get more zzzs at night by keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine in the later hours, exercising regularly, and turning off all screens an hour before bedtime.
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Tips On Having Sex During Your Period
Having sex during your period offers several benefits. For one, it acts as a natural painkiller to get relief from cramps and headaches. It also eliminates the need for additional lubricant, and thanks to hormonal fluctuations, you may feel more turned on than usual during your period. While period sex can be a slightly more messy and uncomfortable experience than regular sex, the tips below can help make it a lot better!
First off, if you want to avoid the chances of getting pregnant at all, have your partner put on a latex condom. This also helps keeps any STIs at bay.
If you use tampons while on your period, make sure you take it out.
Cover your bed with dark and thick towels to catch leaking blood. This will help keep your sheets clean!
Keep wet washcloths or wipes right by your bedside so that you can use them when youre done.
Its important that you communicate openly to your partner about your needs and concerns. If youre uncomfortable with anything, make sure you let your partner know. You can work things out and find out solutions to the problem that might just make period sex more fun!
Time Is Of The Essence
While many people are choosing to have children later in life, there’s no question age remains the single most important factor when it comes to your ability to conceive.
A woman’s fertility starts to slowly decline in her early 30s, and this accelerates at about the age of 35. By the age of 40, her chances of a successful pregnancy have essentially halved.
“For couples trying to conceive where the woman is 35 or younger, their monthly chance of getting pregnant is about 20 per cent, or one in five,” Dr Hammarberg says.
“But by age 40, their monthly chance drops to 5 per cent, and only half of couples will successfully conceive within a year.”
And it’s not just a woman’s age that matters. Dr Hammarberg says although men continue to produce sperm throughout their life , the quality of their sperm starts to decline at around the age of 45.
“There’s evidence it takes much longer for a woman to conceive if the man is over 45. And there are increased risks of adverse outcomes in the offspring if they do conceive,” she says.
Risks of miscarriage, pregnancy complications, gestational diabetes and birth defects also increase as a woman gets older.
“Down syndrome is much more common, for example, and that’s part of the process of ageing eggs chromosomal abnormalities increase,” Dr Hammarberg says.
Unsplash: Derek Thomson
Age is also the most important factor when it comes to IVF success, particularly the age of the woman undergoing treatment.
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How Much Physical Activity Do You Need Each Day
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults get 2½ hours a week of moderate-intensity activity, like fast walking, and strength-training 2 days a week. These recommendations change depending on the intensity of your workouts. And you dont have to do all 2½ hours at once. Do a little bit each day to break it up throughout the week.
If youre already physically active, keep it up! If youre starting or re-starting exercise, take it slowly. Talk to your provider before you start any physical activity if:
- You have heart disease or are at risk for heart disease.
- Youve had a stroke or are at risk for having a stroke.
- You have diabetes or are at risk for having diabetes.
- Youre obese. If you’re obese, you have an excess amount of body fat and your body mass index is 30 or higher. BMI is a measure of body fat based on your height and weight.
- It can help you find out if you need to gain or lose weight..
- Youve had surgery or you have an injury or disability.
- Youve had eye surgery or laser treatment on your eyes, or you have a bleeding or detached retina. The retina is the nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye.
Physical activity can help reduce your risk of having certain health conditions that can cause problems for you and your baby during pregnancy, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart conditions. It also can help you manage stress, sleep better and quit smoking.
How Often Should You Have Sex To Get Pregnant
You may think that cutting down on sex to “save” your guy’s spermor only having sex during ovulationwill make getting pregnant easier. But abstaining too much can throw off conception. Indeed, while holding off on sex can increase sperm count, it can also decrease sperm motility. What’s more, “it’s easy to miss the fertile period if sex is limited only to when you think you’re ovulating, because many women believe they’re ovulating when they actually aren’t,” says Samuel Wood, M.D., medical director at The Reproductive Sciences Center in La Jolla, CA.
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Foods That Make You Fertile
Looking for ways to jump-start your conception quest? Check out the foods you should choose or lose for optimum fertility.
Theres no shortage of old wives tales touting the fertility benefits of certain foods and the baby-busting potential of others. And if youre thinking about starting a baby making campaign , youre probably wondering which are fertility factand which, fertility fiction. The truth is, you can get pregnant no matter what you eat and no matter what you dont eat. But there is some fascinating, if preliminary, research showing that your fertility may be what you eat and that filling your belly with certain foods may just help you fill your belly with a baby faster. The scientific jurys still debating the food-fertility connection , but in the meantime its definitely interesting food for thought. And speaking of food, take the following list with a grain of salt . Fill up on those foods that have fertility promise , and avoid as best you can foods researchers have speculated may decrease your chances of conceiving. Bottom line : eat a nutritious, balanced prepregnancy diet, and youre likely fueling your fertility. Make a diet of junk food and fast food, and youre probably not doing your fertility a favor.
Trying To Get Pregnant
Pregnancy happens when sperm enters a vagina, travels through the cervix and womb to the fallopian tube and fertilises an egg.
Youre more likely to get pregnant around the time you are ovulating. This is when an egg becomes ready and you are at your most fertile.
If you are under 40 and have regular sex without using contraception, there is an 8 in 10 chance you will get pregnant within 1 year.
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Have Sex Every Other Day During The Fertile Window
The “fertile window” spans a six-day interval the five days prior to ovulation and the day of it, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Every month, a woman is most fertile on these days.
Many women are turning to new technology tools, such as fertility-tracking apps and websites, to help them keep tabs on when they may be more likely to conceive, but a 2020 review in the journal BMJ Sexual & Reproductive Health suggests that there is limited independent research on their accuracy. In a study published in 2016 in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, scientists analyzed 50 popular fertility-tracking websites and apps with a hypothetical woman, and found that the results varied wildly, with many mistakenly tagging days outside of the fertility window, Live Science reported.
When a woman has identified that fertility window, should they have sex every day? Research has shown that there hasn’t been a big difference in pregnancy rates between couples who had sex every day during the “fertile window” compared with couples who did it every other day , Pavone said. “And having sex every other day might be easier for a couple to pull off,” she added.
- Glow Ovulation, Period Tracker
- Fertility Friend FF App
- Clue: Health & Period Tracker
But she said there are some water-based vaginal lubricants that can decrease the movement of sperm, so Pavone recommended using Pre-Seed rather than Astroglide or K-Y Jelly when lubrication is needed.
When Am I Most Likely To Get Pregnant
During the menstrual cycle, an egg is released from one of your ovaries and travels down the fallopian tube.
The egg only lives for 24 hours after ovulation, and a sperm must meet the egg within that period for pregnancy to happen.
This doesn’t mean that a woman has to have sex on the day of ovulation, as sperm can survive in your body for several days after sex.
If you want to get pregnant, having sex every couple of days will mean there are always sperm waiting to meet the egg when it’s released.
Having Sex Every Day Is Better For Conception
The myth that more sex is equal to better chances of conception is not correct. While regular sex obviously grants people better odds of conceiving, as with everything in life, quality is better than quantity. One sperm cell is enough to ensure conception and each ejaculation contains thousands of sperm cells. Therefore, it is not the number of times that sex occurs, but the quality of the sperm that matters their mobility and the health of their DNA is what affects conception. Even ejaculating once is enough to conceive if it is timed right during the womans ovulation period and if the individual sperm cells are healthy swimmers.
Age Fertility And Conception
The most important factor for the chance of getting pregnant and having a healthy baby is your age. Starting at about age 32, a womans chance of conceiving starts to decline. From age 35, the fertility decline speeds up and by age 40, fertility has fallen by half.
The impact of the males age is less dramatic, but matters too. Men aged 45 and older are less fertile and some health conditions are more common in children with older fathers.
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What Is Folic Acid
Folic acid is a B vitamin that every cell in your body needs for healthy growth and development. Taking it before and during early pregnancy can help prevent birth defects of the brain and spine . Birth defects are health conditions that are present at birth. Birth defects 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.
To help prevent NTDs in your baby, start taking a vitamin supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid every day before you get pregnant. A supplement is a product you take to make up for certain nutrients that you dont get enough of in the foods you eat. Start taking 400 mcg of folic acid each day at least 1 month before pregnancy and through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Your folic acid supplement can be:
- A multivitamin. This is a pill that contains many vitamins and other nutrients that help your body stay healthy.
- A prenatal vitamin. This is a multivitamin that has nutrients you need during pregnancy. Your health care provider may give you a prescription for prenatal vitamins, or you can get them over the counter without a prescription.
- A supplement that contains just folic acid.
Because nearly half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, you should take a vitamin supplement with 400 mcg of folic acid each day even if youre not trying to get pregnant.