Before seeking medical help, remember some of the things you can do to enhance your own fertility potential.You can increase your fertility chances by paying attention to your weight diet and exercise schedule. Abstain from smoking drinking alcohol and taking drugs.
Tip for Self-help
Before seeking medical help, remember
some of the things you can do to enhance your own fertility potential.
Body weight, diet and exercise. Proper
diet and exercise are important for optimal reproductive function. Women
who are significantly overweight or underweight can have difficulty getting
pregnant. Talk with your doctor about a healthy diet. Normal exercises,
including aerobics, tennis, or jogging may improve your chance of conceiving;
however, excessive exercise (for example, jogging over three miles per
day) can affect your ovulation.
Stop smoking: Cigarette smoking
has been associated with a decreased sperm count in men. Women who smoke
take longer to conceive.
Stop drinking alcohol: Alcohol
(beer and wine as well as hard liquor) intake in men has been associated
with low sperm counts.
Review your medications: A
number of medications, including some of those used to treat ulcer problems
and high blood pressure, can influence a man's sperm count. If you are
taking any medications, talk with your doctor about whether or not it can
affect your fertility.
Many medications taken during early
pregnancy can affect the fetus. It is important to tell your doctor or
pharmacist that you are attempting to become pregnant before taking prescription medications or over the counter medications, such as aspirin, antihistamines,
or diet pills.
Stop abusing drugs: Drugs
such as marijuana and anabolic steroids decrease sperm counts. If you have
used drugs, discuss this with your doctor. This is confidential information.
Both partners should stop using any illicit drugs if they want a healthy
Limit your caffeine: Limit
you intake of tea, soft drinks and coffee.
Frequency of intercourse
The simple rule is - as often as
you like; but the more often you have sex, the better your chances. Thus,
for couples who have sex only on weekends (often the price they pay for
a heavy work schedule) the chance of having sex on the fertile pre-ovulatory
day is only one-third that of couples who have sex every other day - which
means they may take three times as long to conceive.
Timing of intercourse. Unlike animals,
who know when to have sex in order to conceive (because the female is in
"heat" or estrus when she ovulates), most couples have no idea when the
woman ovulates. Timing intercourse during the "fertile period" is important
and can be easily learnt. However, some couples are so anxious about having
sex at exactly the right time that they may abstain for a whole week prior
to the "ovulatory day " - and often the doctor is the culprit in this over-rigorous
scheduling of sex. This over attention can be counterproductive (because
of the anxiety and stress it generates) and is not advisable.
Position and technique
Pigs are very efficient at
conserving semen - the boar literally screws his penis into the cervix
of the vagina, obtaining a tight lock prior to ejaculation, to ensure that
no semen leaks out. Humans do not have such well-designed mechanisms of
technique - and perhaps this is because they are really not necessary.
Most doctors advise a male superior position; and also advise that the
woman remain lying down for at least 5 minutes after sex; and not wash
or douche afterwards. A number of products used for lubrication during
intercourse, such as petroleum jelly or vaginal cream, have been shown
to affect sperm quality. Therefore, these products should be avoided if
you are trying to get pregnant (a suitable alternative is raw egg white).
Is fertility lower
Has the fertility of couples declined
in modern times? Possibly. The reasons for this include:
The increasing age of women at the time
of marriage and childbearing
The increased incidence of sexually
transmitted diseases or STDs which damage the reproductive tract in both
men and women
Decreasing sperm counts in men which
is a worldwide phenomenon. An interesting observation made recently, has
been that men's sperm counts worldwide have been falling in the last few
decades. Whether this is due to environmental pollution; or to the stresses
of modern day life remains unclear.
Where to get
Most couples consult their family
physician who will refer them to an obstetrician - gynecologist when infertility
is a concern. This first visit should include both partners. The physician
will usually outline the possible causes of infertility, and provide an
evaluation plan. The first step should be to achieve an accurate diagnosis
to try to find out why pregnancy isn't occurring. Once a diagnosis has
been determined, the couple and physician should talk again about a treatment
For difficult problems, referral
to an infertility specialist may be suggested.
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- The Indiaparenting Team