Feeling frenzied all the time can take a toll on your fertility. Here’s how you can chillax and boost your odds of baby-making success.
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Obstetricians recommend that a woman wait until she has had one normal menstrual period before trying to get pregnant again. This
Get a second opinion. While some experts believe uterine fibroids, which are noncancerous tumors, do not cause miscarriage, others say they can. “The key is a fibroid’s location and size,” says William P. Hummel, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist specializing in miscarriage at the San Diego Fertility Center. The closer it is to the center of the uterus, where a fetus is likely to implant, the more likely it is to cause problems.
A septate uterus is a congenital condition in which a thin membrane called a septum divides the uterus, either partially or completely. While the condition does not affect a woman’s ability to conceive, it can impact a pregnancy’s outcome. “We see a higher risk of first- and second-trimester pregnancy loss with septate uterus,” says Beth W. Rackow, M.D., an assistant professor of OB-GYN at Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Conn. “There is also an increased risk of preterm labor.”
Nothing could be farther from the minds of most mothers-to-be than the possibility of having a sexually transmitted disease. But while there are no statistics on the number of prenatal STDs, it’s likely that pregnant women reflect the female population as a whole. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, this means one-fifth already have an STD, and one in 20 women will contract one in any given year.
Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is caused by abnormal bowel motility, which means that its motion either is too fast or too slow. This results in bloating, painful cramping and episodes of both diarrhea and constipation. I prefer treating this condition with diet rather than drugs and recommend that you work with a gastroenterologist and perhaps a nutritionist to wean yourself from your medication before becoming pregnant. This may involve keeping a daily log of the foods you eat and noting those that cause discomfort so that you can avoid them.
Weight loss can decrease your risk of gestational diabetes. If you were in your 20s, I would recommend that you try to lose weight before getting pregnant again. But since you are 35, my recommendation is to not delay conception by trying to lose weight first, as fertility decreases with age. You should consider consulting a registered dietitian about beginning a preconception nutritional program, as doing so may reduce your risk. Thirty minutes of daily exercise also should be incorporated into your routine, as research shows it can greatly reduce gestational diabetes risk.
Since you've experienced recurrent pregnancy loss--two or more consecutive miscarriages, most commonly in the first trimester--I'd suggest that you speak with your doctor about testing. If testing is indicated, an obstetrician is likely to first perform a karyotype, an evaluation of both partners' chromosomes, to determine if either of you has a genetic abnormality. If so, using a donor egg or sperm may circumvent the problem.
There is no need to stop or limit your workouts while awaiting the happy news. In fact, the only precaution I recommend is that you lie still for 30 to 45 minutes immediately after your IUI to help increase the chances of insemination and to counteract any cramping you might have (cramping is normal after any uterine manipulation). After that, you're good to go.
It will likely take several months for your body to resume ovulation and a normal menstrual cycle after stopping your oral contraceptives, which means you probably wont get pregnant right away. But even if you do conceive immediately after discontinuing your pills, the hormones will not be present in your body at a level that would be a problem for your baby.
First off, congratulations on giving up smoking. The hazards of tobacco use during pregnancy--including low birth weight and preterm labor--are well-established. There has not been a great deal of research done about the safety of nicotine-replacement products in pregnant women. I therefore agree with the majority of physicians who vigorously recommend that smoking-cessation products such as gum and patches be discontinued during pregnancy.
An ectopic, or "tubal," pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg becomes implanted in an area other than the uterus. Ectopics occur in one of the two fallopian tubes 95 percent of the time; these cases usually are due to scarring from an earlier pelvic infection or inflammation. The remaining 5 percent occur on an ovary or, rarely, elsewhere in the abdominal cavity.
Contracting chickenpox during pregnancy can have serious effects on a fetus, so it is best to know your immune status prior to conceiving. Immunity can be conferred in two ways: either by having had the illness or by being vaccinated against it. If you are uncertain whether you are immune to chickenpox, a simple blood test can tell.
A blighted ovum occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, but the embryo does not develop. So even though the body's baby-making machinery is in place--an egg has been fertilized, a gestational sac and placenta are forming, and symptoms of pregnancy may be occurring--the embryo itself stops growing. Experts aren't sure why, but they suspect that chromosomal abnormalities may be the primary cause.