What Healthy Habits Can Do
Dont assume that your age is the only reason youre not conceiving quickly. When youre over 35, your lifestyle can also work against you as you try to get pregnant, too.
To improve your chances of conceiving, your medical provider might suggest you try making some lifestyle changes, such as avoiding sugar and overall choosing a healthier diet, cutting back on alcoholic drinks, ensuring you are at a healthy weight , reducing your caffeine consumption, alleviating excess stress, and quitting smoking.
Diet and lifestyle can affect fertility. Eating healthier, embracing healthy lifestyle habits, and maintaining a healthy weight can help you conceive faster and may even boost your odds for fertility treatment success if you do need treatment.
Dont forget about mind-body therapies as well. While research hasnt yet found a strong link between mind-body therapies like mindfulness, mediation, and yoga with fertility, most everyone can benefit from adding stress-reducing activities to their life.
It’s important to understand that while quitting unhealthy habits can improve your fertility, changing your lifestyle won’t stop age-related fertility decline. Your age, like many other factors that influence your chances of conceiving, is out of your control. So, even if you eat a balanced diet, get regular exercise, and don’t smoke, you will still get older and experience age-related fertility decline just like anyone else.
Age Is A Major Factor For Women
Youve probably heard the phrase your biological clock is ticking. This phrase refers to your fertile window. Women cant conceive after their menstrual cycles stop, usually sometime in your 40s or 50s. Men produce sperm throughout their lives, but women are born with a set number of eggs that decreases as you age.
At birth you have about two million eggs but naturally lose hundreds of thousands of them by the time you reach puberty, says Cross. Your body continues to lose eggs no matter what you do. And the rate at which women lose eggs accelerates around the age of 37.
The quality of eggs stored in the ovaries also declines over time. The eggs youre born with are naturally paused in the process of dividing their DNA, Cross explains. They complete that process, or ripen, when you ovulate them 20 to 40 years later. The longer eggs are stuck in the mid-division stage, the more likely that process will go wrong creating eggs with the wrong number of chromosomes. That results in not becoming pregnant, experiencing miscarriages or having babies with genetic syndromes due to chromosomal abnormalities.
The bottom line: The quality and number of eggs a woman has decreases throughout her lifetime and egg loss accelerates around the age of 37, which makes it more difficult to become pregnant.
After An Infertility Diagnosis
The next step is usually fertility testing, to determine the cause for the trouble. Figuring out what’s wrong can help your doctor come up with the best treatment plan for you.
In some cases, your doctor won’t be able to determine why you can’t get pregnant. This is known as unexplained or idiopathic infertility. It occurs up to 30% of the time.
In this case, your doctor will likely suggest trying the lowest tech fertility treatment first , and then work up the ladder if treatments are unsuccessful.
Whatever the cause is for your infertility, you should know there is the reason for hope.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, 85% to 90% of infertility cases can be treated using conventional treatments, like medication or surgical repair. Less than 3% of infertility patients require advanced treatments, like in vitro fertilization.
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Lifestyle And Fertility Treatment Options For Pcos
Rachel Gurevich is a fertility advocate, author, and recipient of The Hope Award for Achievement, from Resolve: The National Infertility Association. She is a professional member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and has been writing about womens health since 2001. Rachel uses her own experiences with infertility to write compassionate, practical, and supportive articles.
Meredith Shur, MD, FACOG, is board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as a certified medical examiner.
Verywell / Jessica Olah
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the most common causes of infertility, affecting an estimated 5 million people. But you can get pregnant with PCOS. There are a number of effective fertility treatments available, from Clomid to gonadotropins to in vitro fertilization .
Most people with PCOS will be able to conceive with a combination of lifestyle changes and fertility drugs. While some will need IVF, the great majority will get pregnant using lower-tech fertility treatments.
Why Its Harder Than Ever To Get Pregnant
We probably all know someone whos struggled with infertility, and if you think it seems like its more common than it used to be, youd be right. It is a little harder for people to conceive now, says Shahin Ghadir, MD, a reproductive endocrinologist and founding partner of Southern California Reproductive Center. But why?
Waiting longer to start
The trend is for people to wait longer to have kids than they did in the past and that can make things more challenging. Age is the number one determiner of fertility, says Ghadir. A womans fertility starts to decline gradually at age 27 and then it drops dramatically after age 35. And while there are fertility treatments that can help couples conceive, theyre less likely to work if the patient is older. I see a lot of patients who say, Well, I saw that so-and-so got pregnant at 46 and so-and-so was 48, so I didnt think Id have a problem, says Ghadir. But, unfortunately, it doesnt always work that way.
Experts arent sure exactly how the environment contributes to infertility, but they do believe theres a connection for both men and women and its being researched. Pesticides have been shown to affect fertility in some ways, says Ghadir. Were not sure of the clear correlation. Other toxins that may be contributing to the rise in infertility include the chemicals released by certain plastics and those included in dry cleaning solutions and some cosmetics.
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Is It Hard To Get Pregnant
Yes, getting pregnant can be hard, both physically and emotionally! Your fertile window is a small amount of time each month so it may take some time for conception to occur.
According to research, it can take up to one year for a healthy, fertile couple to conceive. Another study found that it takes an average of 78 sex sessions for a couple to get pregnant. All of this is considered perfectly normal and should not be cause for medical concern though its completely understandable to have some worries throughout the process.
Lifestyle Factors Making It Hard To Get Pregnant
Stress can influence many areas of our lives, not least of all the female reproductive system. A recent study found that stress activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in women, which may have an inhibitory effect on the reproductive system. Stress also causes widespread inflammation, which can also take a toll on your hormonal and reproductive health. As a result, you might experience delayed ovulation or other issues that impact your ability to conceive normally. While stress cannot directly cause infertility, it is associated with lower odds of conception.
When TTC, doctors recommend minimizing the amount of stress in your life as much as possible. Of course, to a certain extent, stress is an inevitable part of life. Work and interpersonal relationships, for example, cant be avoided! The best thing you can do to deal with these unavoidable stressors is to learn to cope with stress in a healthy, productive way. Techniques like meditation, yoga, and acupuncture may all be helpful for reducing stress and improving your ability to conceive .
What is considered a normal, healthy weight varies from woman to woman. However, its important to determine and achieve your ideal weight before getting pregnant, since excessive weight gain or loss can negatively impact your ability to conceive.
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Further Reading And Resources
- Management of infertility in primary care: The initial investigation and management of the infertile couple. Evidence based clinical guidelines, 1998 www.rcog.org.uk/guidelines.asp?pageID = 108& GuidelineID = 25
- Balen AH, Jacobs HS Infertility in practice. Churchill Livingstone:London, 1997
- Bolumar F, Olsen J, Boldsen J. Smoking reduces fecundity: a European multicenter study on infertility and subfecundity. The European Study Group on Infertility and Subfecundity. Am J Epidemiol 1996 143: 578-7
- Bolumar F, Olsen J, Rebagliato M, Saez-Lloret I, Bisanti L. Body mass index and delayed conception: a European multicenter study on infertility and subfecundity. Am J Epidemiol 2000 151: 1072-9
- Collins JA, Burrows EA, Willan AR. The prognosis for live birth among untreated infertile couples. Fertil Steril 1995 64: 22-8
- Forman R, Gilmour-White S, Forman N. Drug-induced infertility and sexual dysfunction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996
- Skakkebaek NE, Giwercman A, de Kretser D. Pathogenesis and management of male fertility. Lancet 1994 343: 1473-9
- Dunson DB, Colombo B, Baird DD. Changes with age in the level and duration of fertility in the menstrual cycle. Hum Reprod 2002 17: 1399-403
BMJ Publishing Group
Possible Reasons Why You Cant Get Pregnant
Without a medical exam, its impossible to say for certain why you are having trouble getting pregnant. That being said, there are a number of possible reasons why you may face difficulty conceiving.
Finding it challenging to conceive does not necessarily mean that you are dealing with a serious medical problem. Other factors, like lifestyle and environment, can also influence your ability to get pregnant.
Read Also: Why Is It Hard To Get Pregnant With Pcos
Having A Hard Time Getting Pregnant With A Third Child: My Story
During the fall of 2008, I decided that if we didnt conceive in the month of July or August we were going to be done.
BTW, you can read the story of my whole pregnancy .
I couldnt do it anymore. Nine months after that my son would be entering Kindergarten and maybe this was a sign it was time to grow up and get a big girl job.
For years prior to that, Id prayed to have a baby, and my prayers changed to tell God my plan. I hoped it was OK with him.
In August 2008 we found out we were expecting.
Absolutely thrilled. Yes, I was a boy mom and 100% fine with having two boys but having a girl was SO exciting. I think we checked her gender almost every shift I worked you know, just in case. Like I said, you can read the whole story of my pregnancy with her here.
Think PCOS is stopping you from getting pregnant?check out this PCOS planner to help you conceive!
Trying For Pregnancy After 35
Many women try for a baby after 35. Almost one in four pregnant Australian women are aged 35 and over. But there are risks and challenges you need to know about.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for six months or more, you should see a doctor to discuss your fertility.
It can be harder to get pregnant than when you were younger. You’re at your most fertile in your early 20s. In general, fertility starts to decline faster after the age of 30, and declines more significantly after the age of 35.
The older you are, and your partner is, the more likely it is to take a long time to conceive.
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Tips For Coping With Secondary Infertility
When you face secondary infertility, youre dealing not only with the typical ups and downs of trying to conceive, but also with the additional emotional fallout that is unique to those having difficulty getting pregnant with baby number two.
In addition to feeling disappointed and upset, you may also be feeling shock , guilt and even isolation .
How do you reconcile these conflicting emotions and how do you tackle them while trying to raise the child you already have? Here are some tips:
Getting Pregnant After : Difficulty Risks And How To Conceive
Most of us have heard about our so-called biological clocks. For those of you ages 40 and older, perhaps you have already felt yours ticking away especially when your parents make pointed comments about when you are going to give them a grandchild already.
But despite pressure from family and friends to have children while we are young, it is still possible to have a healthy pregnancy in your 40s. In fact, more and more women are waiting to have children until they are older, so they can move up the career ladder, travel the world, or achieve other goals before starting a family.
There is no right or wrong time to have a baby all that matters is what is right or wrong for you and your partner. No matter if you are younger and still in the planning phase, or in your 40s and trying to conceive, here is what you need to know about pursuing pregnancy after age 40.
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A New Solution To An Old Problem: Ivf Alternative
Considering the high costs of fertility treatments in general, Famlee was developed as an easy and cost-effective solution to expensive traditional procedures for fertility. Research has shown that IVF treatments can cost above $12,500 per cycle, and these expenses cannot be born by most couples, struggling to conceive.
The Famlee program addresses both the diagnosis and the primary treatment for couples who are finding it hard to get pregnant. An all in one at home fertility kit, it includes many features like:
See if you are a candidate for at-home fertility treatmenttake the free assessment HERE
Connect With Your Partner
Remember that you aren’t the only one coping with secondary infertility, and while your partner may be dealing with it differently, it can be extremely helpful to check in with each other emotionally. Set aside some time to talk about how your secondary infertility problems are affecting each of you.
If you’re tired of talking about it, plan a date night that’s totally unrelated to any baby-making duties. Since secondary infertility problems can take a toll on any relationship, date nights are needed now more than ever to keep the love and fun flowing. An added bonus: Since lowering your stress levels could also improve your fertility, enjoying just being a couple could even increase your odds of achieving that second pregnancy.
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.
Why It Might Take Longer To Get Pregnant
There are a number of reasons why you might find that getting pregnant takes longer than you expect.
One possible problem is that ovulation may not occur every month.
If you’ve recently stopped taking hormonal contraception, ovulation may be delayed or irregular for a short time.
If you’ve been using a contraceptive injection, ovulation may be delayed or irregular for up to a year.
If you’re worried that you might not be ovulating, see your doctor.
Missing The Fertile Period Could Be A Reason For Not Getting Pregnant When Everything Is Normal
The chances of getting pregnant are the highest during ovulation.
Dr Priti further explains to the couple, Ovulation is the time when your mature egg is released to the fallopian tubes for possible fertilization. Make sure you calculate your ovulation period correctly and try accordingly as this is a critical step when trying to conceive.
Ask your doctor to help calculate your ovulation period based on your average menstrual cycle or get an ovulation test kit.
You could also learn how to calculate ovulation here: How to Get Pregnant: How to Have a Baby in 5 Quick Steps
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Because It’s Physically Grueling
Pregnancy is physically demanding, which is not surprising when you consider that you are literally growing a tiny human inside your body. Your body hurts in ways you’ve never experienced before. To make things worse, if you have hyperemesis gravidarum , like I did, you also have a lifetime of vomit packed into a few months. Add to that hives, sciatica, back aches, and swollen feet, and honestly, pregnancy is more painful than running a marathon.