If you are having a hard time conceiving, there are specific steps that you need to take and things you can do now before you try for a baby that will affect your fertility and the health of your baby. It is an established fact that your health before pregnancy will affect the lifelong health of your baby.
You might have been trying for a while, but nothing is happening and you do not know why. There are many possible reasons, including ovulation irregularities, structural problems in your reproductive system, low sperm count, or an underlying medical problem.
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While infertility can have a number of symptoms, ranging from irregular cycles or severe menstrual cramps, the truth is that most causes of infertility are silent. It often requires dedication and careful investigation to determine what may be wrong.
Fertility consultant, Dr. Abayomi Ajayi explains the possible causes of delay in his piece for Punch below:
Believe it or not, one of the commonest reasons why some couples fail to conceive is because they have not tried long enough. How long you have been trying matters. It may feel like you’ve been trying for a long time, but it’s important to know that many couples won’t conceive right away.
Rule of thumb is that 4 in 5 perfectly healthy couples usually conceive after six months of trying and almost all would be pregnant after 12 months of trying to get pregnant. This is assuming that there are no complications and there is well-timed intercourse every month.
The recommendation is that you should see a doctor about your fertility if you’re 35 years or older and have been trying for at least six months. Also, see a doctor if you’re younger than 35yrs and have been trying for at least one year. If you fit into either of these situations, just see a doctor, even if you have no symptoms of a fertility problem.
Ovulation is key, so if you are not ovulating, you won’t be able to get pregnant. Lack of ovulation also known as anovulation is a common cause of female infertility and it can be triggered by many conditions.
If you are experiencing ovulation problems or have irregular periods, you might have fertility challenges, but regular menstrual cycles don’t guarantee that ovulation is occurring. If you have irregular cycles, talk to your doctor, even if you haven’t been trying for up to a year.
Traditionally, women tend to be blamed for the cause of infertility of couples, but in several instances, the problem is with him and not her. Women carry the baby, but up to 40 percent of infertile couples are discovering that there are fertility factors on the man’s side. Another 20 percent find infertility factors on both the man’s side and the woman’s side. So the ideal step to take when investigating infertility is to test both of you.
It is no secret that age plays a major role in fertility. For a woman, after 35, and for a man after 40 or so, it can take longer to achieve conception. Do not assume if you still get regular periods your fertility is fine; this isn’t true. Age impacts egg quality and quantity. Also, if your partner is five or more years older than you are, this can further increase your risk of fertility problems after age 35.
You should know that the fallopian tubes are the pathway between your ovaries and uterus. Your fallopian tubes do not directly attach to the ovaries. Sperm must swim up from your cervix, through the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes.
If you are diagnosed with blocked fallopian tubes, you could be infertile. This is supported by clinical evidence that shows that ovulatory cause accounts for about 25 percent of female infertility cases. The rest can have problems with blocked fallopian tubes, uterine structural problems, or endometriosis.
When you release an egg from your ovaries, hair-like projections from your fallopian tube draw the egg inside. Conception takes place inside the fallopian tube, where the sperm and egg finally meet. If anything prevents the fallopian tubes from working properly, or if scarring blocks the sperm or egg from meeting, you won’t be able to get pregnant.
There are many possible causes of blocked fallopian tubes and only fertility testing can determine if your tubes are open. If you have endometriosis, you could be infertile. Endometriosis is when endometrial tissue (the tissue that lines the uterus) grows in places outside of the uterus. About half of all women with endometriosis will have difficulty getting pregnant.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods and pelvic pain at times besides menstruation. However, you may not have these symptoms if you have endometriosis which is commonly misdiagnosed or simply just missed.
If you have underlying medical problems, you could be infertile. Conditions like a thyroid imbalance or undiagnosed diabetes can lead to infertility. There are prescribed medications that may impact fertility. But never stop taking a medication without talking to your doctor first. Make sure both your doctor and your partner’s doctor know you’re trying to get pregnant. Also, an undiagnosed sexually transmitted infection can make you infertile even if you have no symptoms of the disease.
There are instances in which you may be diagnosed with what is described as unexplained infertility. There is a reasonable number of couples that never find out why they can’t get pregnant. Some doctors say this is a lack of good diagnosis. They say there is an explanation for every infertile couple’s situation. They prefer to say some couples only have undiscovered or undiagnosed problems.
The fact remains, though, that some couples don’t get answers to their infertility queries. However, not having answers doesn’t mean you can’t be treated. You can (and should) still receive treatment for infertility even if your diagnosis is unexplained.
The bottom line is that there is no magic solution or universal fix to infertility. If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, help is available. Do not put off testing and counselling and keep waiting for a miracle or think of trying a little longer first. This is a mistake. Some causes of infertility worsen with time. The sooner you get help, the more likely fertility treatments will work for you.
Even if you and your partner seem to be in perfect health, seek help. You and your partner may have no signs or symptoms of a fertility problem, but this doesn’t mean you may not have a fertility problem. Discuss with your doctor who would refer you to a fertility specialist. If you’ve been trying to conceive for one year (or six months if you’re 35 years or older), get help. Don’t wait.
Tags: Dr. Abayomi Ajayi, Fertility, Getting Pregnant
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