04 Nov 7 Tips to Make Your Path To Parenthood Easier
The media abounds with “pop-up” pregnancies. From our favorite TV shows and movies to the covers of our favorite magazines, it seems like just about anyone can get pregnant whenever they want.
As fertility specialists, we know that’s not always the case, and we want to do all we can to make your journey to parenthood easier.
Things You Can Do to Ease the Path to Parenthood
There are so many things individuals and couples can do to make it easier to become parents, including lifestyle choices, fertility awareness, scheduling timely appointments, and understanding as much as you can about your body. To that end, we’ve put together a list of seven tips that can make your journey to parenthood easier.
1. Pay attention to your periods
As a woman, your periods are the ultimate barometer when it comes to fertility. Two of the most common causes of infertility for women are endometriosis and PCOS – both of which typically present “clues” by way of irregular periods.
All women planning to start a family someday (even if it’s not right away!) should use a period-tracking app and get familiar with their cycles and bodies. Your app should be accessed at your annual well-woman visit and shared with your gynecologist, so s/he can look for any red flags needing attention.
2. Diligently treat (or manage) any identified health issues
The body is a holistic entity. What happens to one part affects the whole. Therefore, any underlying health conditions can negatively impact fertility.
Whether you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, or an autoimmune disorder, pay attention. Young women can be cavalier with their health (I feel fine, so I am fine). But any untreated or unmanaged health condition can make it harder to get pregnant later on.
3. Make sound family-building decisions early
If you are in your late-20s or early 30s, and you know you want a family, “someday,” it’s time to make serious decisions. There is no arguing with the reality that age dramatically impacts fertility due to declining egg quality. Once women turn 35, fertility rates quickly fall. And, women are no exception – male sperm quality declines with age, too!
If you know or suspect you won’t start a family until you are 38 years old or older, speak to a fertility specialist about potential egg-freezing benefits.
Read Egg Freezing: Am I a Candidate?, to learn more.
4. Weight management (focus on your BMI)
Young women tend to focus on their weight for vanity’s sake (and our culture’s abnormal and unhealthy standards). However, if you are truly overweight or obese, your future fertility is another concern. Instead of weight, focus on your body mass index (BMI). You can Click Here to use a BMI calculator and identify your BMI.
Fertility rates are highest for women with a BMI between 20 and 29. And remember, being underweight is just as damaging to fertility and pregnancy health as being overweight. Our post, Weight Matters When Trying to Conceive, contains more information about the link between weight and conception.
5. Time sex at home
To be completely honest, the more sex you have – the better. Research has shown that couples who have sex outside the female’s “optimal fertility window” tend to get pregnant faster and easier. Why? Well, we aren’t 100% sure, but we suspect it has to do with keeping the immune system supportive of sperm – so it doesn’t recognize it as an “invader” and attack it before it reaches the egg.
That said, couples trying to conceive should also time sex accurately with respect to ovulation. Focus on having sex every-other-day for the few days leading up to ovulation – as well as for the day or two after. That timing ensures there are as many sperm as possible available for the lucky egg.
6. Make healthy lifestyle choices as a team
You and your partner are a fertility team. All the evidence shows that infertility factors are shared equally between the male and female populations. Also, we know that all of the same lifestyle choices that negatively impact female fertility are similarly harmful to male fertility.
Healthy lifestyle choices include:
- Focusing on a healthy diet (anti-inflammatory nutrition guidelines are a smart way to go)
- Establishing good sleep habits (Click Here to read about the connection between sleep and fertility)
- Quitting smoking, excessive drinking, and marijuana/cannabis use
- Eliminating known toxins and hormone-disruptors from your household (visit our post, Toxins Toll on Fertility)
- Reducing stress in your life (practice stress management)
7. Don’t wait too long to seek fertility help
The longer you wait to seek fertility treatment, the longer it takes to identify what’s wrong and create a customized fertility plan. Schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist if:
- You’re less than 35 years old, and you’ve tried unsuccessfully for 12 months
- You’re 36 to 38 years old, and you’ve tried unsuccessfully for six months
- You’re 38+ years old, and you’ve tried unsuccessfully for three months
- You have a known infertility complication (irregular periods, endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, a health condition that affects fertility, etc.), and you’ve tried for six months
We wish it were easy for everyone to get pregnant, but the reality is that the path to parenthood often isn’t. If you’re struggling to get pregnant, schedule an appointment with a Dallas-area fertility specialist to get the answers and treatment you need.