8 Infertility Blogs Discuss Fertility, Conception & More
Struggling to get pregnant? Feeling frustrated, devastated, and angry? You are absolutely not alone. Just because people don’t always talk about it doesn’t mean it’s not extremely common. In fact, 1 out of every 8 couples deals with some level of infertility.
I want to bring you some fresh ideas. Thoughts, studies, tests, lifestyle changes that have been shown to increase your odds of getting pregnant and improve your chances of having a healthy pregnancy…and a healthy baby.
So I gathered up advice from 8 infertility blogs and pooled together their expert advice. Read on to learn!
1. Minimize Risks Before Trying
You shouldn’t wait until you know you’re pregnant to get rid of any potential baby risks from your life. Not only can environmental risks make it harder for you to get pregnant, but they can also cause issues with the baby’s very early development – before you even take a pregnancy test.
“If the pregnancy is planned, there are easy measures every couple can take which will reduce risks to a baby even before conception takes place. These measures come under the heading pre-conceptual care. The idea of trying to minimize risks even before a child is conceived is relatively new, but it makes sense to avoid environmental factors which we now know can pose a hazard to an unborn baby and to follow simple guidelines which are beneficial.
We know that some environmental factors can often combine to prevent babies growing properly in the uterus and that some of these factors can be avoided (e.g. contraception, poor diet, smoking, drugs, drinking, pollutants, sexually transmitted diseases). Because there is no way of telling in advance which babies are likely to be at risk it makes sense for all prospective parents to try to avoid risks within their control.”
2. Lose Some Weight
Our health plays a vital role in whether or not we are able to conceive. One of the most important steps you can take is to ensure you are at a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, those extra pounds can be stopping you from having a baby.
“Small reductions in weight can assist with fertility, so if you are above a healthy weight, weight management and physical activity is the first treatment option. Even a five to ten percent loss of weight has been shown to greatly improve the chances of becoming pregnant. Current international recommendations are to either achieve a healthy weight or modest weight loss before pregnancy. This will reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy.”
Since extreme exercise regimens can actually harm your fertility as well, it can be helpful to talk to your doctor or a personal trainer about the right routine for you.
3. Try Acupuncture
Many women swear by acupuncture to help them combat their fertility issues. But it is essential to find the right acupuncturist. Here’s how:
“The number one, absolute, best way to find an acupuncturist for fertility is if a friend, colleague, or stranger on the street says, “You have to go to her/him, they got me pregnant!!” I would say hands down, if you can find someone who helped get someone else gets pregnant, then you should start there. This is how I found my second fertility acupuncturist. I was going in for a massage and talking with the receptionist about how stressed I was about trying to conceive, and how long it was taking. This total stranger who just worked at spa said, “Ohh!! You have to go to Clair! She got me pregnant after I couldn’t on my own!!” Done.”
4. Have Frequent Sex All Month
Sometimes when a couple has been trying unsuccessfully for a while, sex turns into that thing they do around ovulation – and ovulation only! But science is showing us that consistent, regular sex – even when you are not in your ovulation phase – can help you make a baby!
“Type 1 helper T cells assist the body with defense against outside threats. Type 2 helper T cells help the body accept those aspects of pregnancy the body may otherwise interpret as “foreign invaders,” such the presence of sperm or emerging embryo.
Similarly, immunoglobulin A antibodies—typically found in the mucus of the female reproductive tract—can interfere with the movement of sperm and other aspects of fertilization. Immunoglobulin G antibodies—typically found in the blood—fight disease without interfering with the uterus.
The researchers found significantly higher levels of type 2 helper T cells in sexually active, non-pregnant women during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, a period when the uterine lining thickens in preparation for pregnancy. Higher levels of type 1 helper t cells were found these same women during the follicular phase in the menstrual cycle, a period when the ovaries’ follicles are maturing.
They also found sexually active women experienced similar changes in immunoglobulins, with higher levels of immunoglobulin G during the luteal phase and higher levels of immunoglobulin A during the follicular phase. Neither shifts in immunity were observed in the sexually abstinent women.”
Keep this in mind too: men who abstain for sex longer than a week have lower sperm counts than more active men. This is a double win for conceiving.
5. Ask for an HSG Test
An HSG test (short for Hysterosalpingography) checks to see if there are any irregularities in the shape of your uterus or fallopian tubes. Though it’s not the most common of reasons you may be struggling with infertility – it’s one of the easiest to detect. Yet some doctors don’t mention it for years. Read on to see what this blogger experienced during her HSG test – taken after previously failed IVF rounds.
“He gave me a local anesthetic injection (needle inside vagina = ouch), then placed a camera (hysteroscope) into my uterus through the cervix. As we watched on the screen we could see a pink fleshy then larger white area and immediately it was confirmed yes I do in fact have a uterine septum. What?!
I asked where it came from and she said I was born with it. Dr. March then proceeded to cut away at this area as I watched on the screen with amazement and high on valium…Dr. Baek said this is actually a very important discovery because having a septum means you are a higher risk of miscarriage and depending on the size of the septum it can up to 90% higher risk. This is HUGE. This study of women who had a hysteroscopic resection (what I just had) of a uterine septum showed decreased miscarriage rates from 80% to 17% and an increase in the live birth rates from 18% to 91%.
AND not only that, having a uterine septum can cause pregnancy complications such as premature birth, birth defects from restricting growth in the womb, slow growth, breech position or other problems with the baby’s position in the womb. But you CAN have a healthy pregnancy if the embryo implants anywhere other than the septum.
Around 3% of women are born with some defective shape in their uterus so it’s not that common but it is simple to fix which is why I feel both happy and annoyed at the same time. I now really want to ask all my other RE’s why they did not do the HSG test, to begin with? Especially after I was told that doing IVF again with this condition would have been almost pointless.”
6. Don’t Forget Iodine
Most women who are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future are told to start taking important supplements like folate (or folic acid) and iron early on since they are so vital for the baby’s very early development. One supplement that gets very little attention is iodine. If you’re struggling to conceive, pay attention:
“Nearly half of U.S. women have at least a mild deficiency in the nutrient iodine, and new research suggests it could impair their fertility. Iodine — a mineral that helps regulate metabolism — is found in seafood, iodized salt, dairy products, and some fruits and vegetables.
But in a new study of 467 American women who were trying to get pregnant, those with moderate-to-severe iodine deficiency were 46 percent less likely to get pregnant during each menstrual cycle than those with sufficient iodine levels.
Even women with mildly deficient iodine levels had a slightly harder time getting pregnant, according to researchers led by Dr. James Mills of the U.S. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.”
Beyond vitamins and minerals, there are some fantastic herbs that help boost fertility. Some of my favorites are chaste tree berry and stinging nettle. These, along with other supplements like myo-inositol, are all included in the Eu Natural Conception Female Fertility Prenatal.
7. Get Sperm-Friendly
Before the sperm can meet the egg, it has to go through your vaginal canal. There are some steps you can take to make that journey more successful.
“Make your vaginal environment as sperm-friendly as possible. Avoid vaginal sprays and scented tampons (which can cause a pH imbalance in your vagina); artificial lubricants, vegetable oils, and glycerin (because they can kill off sperm); saliva (because saliva can also kill sperm); and douching (because it alters the normal acidity of the vagina; can cause vaginal infections and/or pelvic inflammatory disease; and may wash away the cervical mucus that is needed to transport the sperm).
8. Don’t Assume About Ovulation
Many people tell you that you will ovulate on day 14 of your cycle. That’s because the average cycle is about 28 days and ovulation often falls in the middle. But if you assume this is automatically true for you, you may miss your fertile window each month.
“Have sex in the middle of YOUR cycle. You will be surprised by how many couples miss their opportunity to get pregnant month after month because they are targeting the wrong days!
For many women, the 14th day is just a myth, because not all women have 28-day cycles. In fact, it is common for women to get shorter cycles as they age; a 24-day cycle is absolutely normal for a woman in her late 30s or early 40s. This means that the fertile days of a woman with such a cycle are on the 12th day, not the 14th! Every woman should monitor her cycle and find her own fertile days. That is definitely in the middle of the cycle, but depending on how long the cycle is, this will be a different day. Don’t get fooled by the 14th-day myth.”
You can figure out your ovulation by tracking your temperature, monitoring your cervical mucus, or buying an ovulation kit.
If you feel like any of these points may be getting in the way of making a baby – now’s the time to fix them. Knowledge is power.
So talk to your doctor about getting the right tests, make an appointment with an acupuncturist, start a good prenatal regimen, and make sure you’re getting the right amount of iodine each day – and maybe even most importantly – have sex to enjoy it. Not only will it help in the scientific ways that we’ve seen, but it will also help lower your stress and bring you and your partner together.