By NADINE WILSON All Woman writer [email protected]
Monday, December 05, 2011
THE dream of hearing the pitter patter of little feet on the floor, changing diapers and nursing cuddly babies, continues to elude some women who would love for nothing else than to become pregnant. But despite changing positions, investing in ovulation kits and going through various fertility tests, some are still unable to conceive. This has proven quite frustrating, especially when one considers the fact that other women, it would appear, just need to be touched by their partners to reproduce.
If you are one of these women who are just watching while your biological clock ticks away, don’t lose hope, there might just be something you can do to up your chances of becoming a mother. Trying the following tips might be a start to getting you to realise this dream.
1. Increase sex before ovulation. Pregnancy rates peak two days before ovulation so try to have sex on these days plus the two days after. Since an egg can survive for only 12 to 48 hours in the uterus, you stand a greater chance of becoming pregnant on these days. Ovulation usually occurs 14 days into a woman’s menstrual cycle — that’s 14 days after the period. If you can map out your most fertile period on a calendar, you can determine when is the best time to have sex.
2. Go in for family counselling with your partner. Checking in with your health care provider before you start having children is not a bad idea. By doing so, you can get to go over each other’s medical history, review your current list of medications to see if they impact on fertility, conduct a gynaecological exam, and test for sexually transmitted diseases. “Chlamydia and gonorrhoea are the two main causes of infertility because they cause damage or blockage to the fallopian tubes so that sperm can’t move through,” explained obstetrician/gynaecologist Dr Leslie Meade, who further noted that something as simple as chicken pox could impact fertility since a man who gets it over 40 years old could have a reduction in his sperm count.
3. Stop taking birth control in advance. Some birth control methods like Depo-Provera, for example, might impact your ability to become pregnant even after you’ve discontinued using them. “So if you are planning to get pregnant, you should try to come off this a couple months before,” explain Dr Meade. You can use a barrier method such as a condom while you try to wean yourself off other contraceptives and then stop using the condom the minute you want to start trying to have a child.
4. Do it without the lube. Lubricants can reduce your chances of becoming pregnant because they are toxic to sperm and interfere with the role of cervical mucous. The alkalinity of the vaginal mucous usually protects the sperm before ovulation, so store bought, artificial and even home-made lubricants create a problem for those wanting to become pregnant. “That’s why we recommend water-based lubricants which tend to be better,” said Dr Meade. But if you plan on becoming a mommy soon, increasing foreplay is the best choice.
5. Quit smoking. There are so many reasons to stop smoking and infertility is one of them. Smoking has been shown to harm a woman’s ovaries, leading to an increased risk of miscarriage also. Regardless of whether you have been exposed to first-hand or second-hand smoking, you are at risk for infertility or might put your child in danger if you do become pregnant. If your partner is the one who smokes, he might make it difficult for you to create that family you’ve always dreamed about, since smoking affects a man’s sperm count. “When we evaluate people, we usually ask them about smoking, whether it is ganja or cigarette, because both can lead to so many different things,” Dr Meade said.
6. Improve your diet. Having well-balanced meals is not a bad idea if you are trying to become pregnant. A proper diet helps with the production of hormones in both males and females. Imbalanced hormones can cause a man to have a low sperm count and can lead to increased oestrogen levels in women, thereby making it more difficult to conceive. You would be well advised to stay away from foods with a high mercury content as too much of this in the blood is believed to cause infertility.
7. Just have fun. Although you are trying to get pregnant, sex shouldn’t be a chore. Stressing yourself won’t make you get pregnant any sooner, so try new moves while in the bedroom. Some researchers argue that spasmatic movement brought on by an orgasm helps to pull the sperm into the uterus and it can also increase the man’s sperm count. Instead of becoming frustrated, relax yourself by trying yoga or sticking to some other exercise regime.
8. Visit a specialist. You can visit a fertility clinic, such as the one located at the University Hospital of the West Indies, to view your options to have the family you have been longing for. The visit might just be worth your while, since many women have been able to have babies through in vitro fertilisation.
9. Monitor your cervical mucous. The consistency of your cervical mucous is a great indicator of when you are most fertile, if you don’t mind examining your bodily fluid. Before ovulation, you will notice a sticky, cloudy-looking mucous which usually turns into a clear and slippery secretion. You are considered most fertile when the mucous is clear, thick and slippery. “When the ovulation time is near, it tends to be watery so the sperm can penetrate through the cervical mucous,” said Dr Meade.