Becoming Pregnant FAQs

Fertility calendars help you anticipate when ovulation will occur. Keeping track of the changes in your cervical mucus can also be helpful. Several days before ovulation, mucus becomes clear and stretchy and resembles egg whites. When this occurs, it’s much easier for sperm to reach the egg.  If a pregnancy doesn’t occur, contact us for an appointment so we can help determine if there are any underlying issues preventing pregnancy.

 

Fertility in women can be affected by:

  • Age (fertility gradually declines in your 30s and drops significantly by the time you’re 40)
  • Egg quality and quantity
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Scarred, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
  • Cervical mucus quality
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Excess weight
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Infections
  • Birth defects
  • Scarring or adhesions caused by pelvic or reproductive system surgery
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids
  • Thyroid gland problems
  • Low sperm count
  • Low motility (the swimming ability of sperm)
  • Poor sperm quality
  • Use an ovulation calculator to predict fertile periods.
  • Keep your weight under control. (Weight gain can affect fertility in both men and women.)
  • Limit or eliminate caffeinated beverages and alcohol.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Exercise, but don’t overdo it. (Very strenuous exercise can actually decrease fertility.)
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • See your dentist. (Untreated gum disease may affect your fertility.)
  • Take advantage of preconception counseling to identify any issues that could affect your ability to become pregnant.

Prenatal vitamins contains important nutrients that you may not be getting enough of in your diet, such as, folic acid, vitamin B6, and zinc. Zinc may also improve fertility. Prenatal vitamins should be taken in place of your normal daily vitamin supplements.

Consult with your doctor if you’re unsure whether a medication or supplement is safe. Ibuprofen is not considered safe during pregnancy and Aspirin should be avoided (unless directed by your doctor). Some herbal supplements can interfere with conception such as, Echinacea, Ginkgo Biloba, and St. John’s Wort. It’s best to consult with your doctor about all medications you’re on while trying to conceive.

Yes. Caffeine intake of 200mg or more per day can affect fertility. It’s recommended that you reduce your caffeine intake if you are having trouble conceiving.

Birth control pills does not affect your fertility. Within 1 to 2 months of stopping pills, A woman’s menstrual cycle returns to what’s considered normal for her within 1-2 months of stopping your birth control.

 

All women who have a naturally strong ovulatory and regular cycle should be ovulating within 1-2 cycles.

If you have regular and predictable cycle, then you are ovulating. Ovulation typically occurs within day 11 through day 21 of a woman’s cycle.Once ovulation occurs and the egg is released, you may feel the effects of progesterone (a hormone in your body that is released which plays an important role in the menstrual cycle and in maintaining the early stages of pregnancy). You may feel some tenderness in your breasts.

 

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends that a woman should consult her health care provider if she is:

  • Under 35 years old and has been trying to conceive for more than 12 months
  • Over 35 years old and has been trying to conceive for over 6 months
  • High-mercury fish such as tuna, halibut and swordfish
  • Fruit juice and sodas
  • Alcohol
  • Unpasteurized soft cheeses such as brie and gorgonzola
  • Deli meat and hot dogs

Folic acid has been proven to reduce a baby’s risk of neural-tube birth defects (ex.spina bifida), and it can lower your chances of heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and diabetes. Women should take 400 mcg of folic acid for about a month prior to getting pregnant. Once you become pregnant it’s recommended you take 600 mcg throughout your pregnancy.

Fertility doctors receive special training in reproductive issues and are uniquely qualified to assess and treat a range of problems that can affect your ability to become or remain pregnant. During your first visit, your doctor will perform a physical exam, review your medical history and any lab work, and ask you questions about your lifestyle, work, family medical history, and chronic diseases. In most cases, your doctor will recommend one or more tests that will help him or her identify problems that impact your fertility. After discussing the test results with you and your partner, your fertility doctor will suggest a treatment plan to address your fertility issues.

 

Your reproductive medicine specialist may recommend one or more tests to identify the source of your problem. Common fertility tests include:

  • Blood tests to check hormone levels
  • Imaging and ultrasound tests and minor surgical procedures that provide valuable information on the condition of your ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes
  • Sperm analysis
  • Ovarian reserve testing used to determine the number of eggs your ovaries can produce

Artificial insemination (also called IUI or intrauterine insemination) is a procedure that involves washing sperm, then introducing the healthiest specimens into the woman’s uterus with a catheter. It’s often recommended if a man has erectile dysfunction, a low sperm count or low sperm motility. IUI can help you get pregnant if your cervical mucus doesn’t allow sperm to pass through easily, or if you have endometriosis, cervical scarring, a semen allergy or unexplained fertility problems.

 

In vitro fertilization is probably the most well-known fertility treatment. IVF treatment involves combining retrieved eggs with sperm in the controlled environment of an embryology laboratory. The resulting embryos are then placed in the woman’s uterus.

IVF treatment is often recommended if you have one of the following problems:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Fallopian tube damage or blockages
  • Disorders that affect ovulation
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Problems with sperm quality or quantity

IVF can also be used to ensure that embryos aren’t affected by genetic diseases and to preserve your fertility if you will be undergoing cancer therapy or want to delay parenthood for other reasons.

 

Male infertility is the primary cause or a contributing factor for about 40 percent of infertile couples. Intrauterine insemination (IUI) can be helpful if a man has mild to moderately low sperm counts or motility (the ability of the sperm to swim effectively).

If IUI doesn’t work or a man has more severe problems, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be helpful. ICSI involves injecting a single sperm into a mature egg in the embryology lab. ICSI is also used if there is a concern about a genetic disease or if eggs have been previously preserved using the vitrification process.

 

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