Trying to get pregnant? Make sure you know the bottom line on baby-making—what you don't understand can affect your bub-to-be's health.
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According to the Harvard study of diet and fertility, the more of the following changes you make, the better your chances of improving your ovulatory function:
Hopeful news for some of the more than 6 million women in the United States who suffer from infertility: A recent large study found that unlike other factors that you cannot control—such as age and genetics—eating certain foods and avoiding others is something you can do yourself, without medical intervention.
When my husband and I started trying to make a baby, we were halfway through a round-the-world trip and having plenty of sex. Yet, we returned home not pregnant. I began using ovulation-predictor kits, and our lovemaking became less spontaneous, more "we-need-to-do-it-today," especially since my 35th birthday was looming.
When Ronda Kelly, A 5-foot-5-inch jewelry designer in Portland, Ore., began trying to get pregnant more than three years ago, she weighed 110 pounds and hadn't had a menstrual period in 15 years. Gaining just 8 additional pounds helped Kelly, then 34, start having regular periods again, yet it still took a total of a year of trying and, finally, intra-uterine insemination to conceive her daughter, Lauren, now 2 1/2.
Drinking whole milk and heavy cream and eating butter and rich ice cream can lower the risk of infertility caused by ovulation disorders, say researchers. But not all fat is good: Eating the much-maligned trans fats found in fried foods, packaged snacks and commercial baked goods may increase the risk of this type of infertility.
Perhaps. While some studies have shown a 70 percent to 75 percent success rate in using timed intercourse to determine gender, other research has shown no influence.
Here's the theory behind timed intercourse: A child's gender is determined by a pair of chromosomes: XX for a female and XY for a male. Since a woman's eggs contain only an X and the man's sperm contain either an X or a Y, the sperm is the de facto decision maker regarding gender.
A pregnancy achieved through assisted reproductive technology, which includes in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and intrauterine insemination (IUI), is not necessarily considered high risk. Yet a woman who conceives via either technique may have one or more pre-existing conditions, such as "advanced maternal age" or a history of miscarriage, that make it appropriate for her to see a perinatologist--a physician who specializes in the treatment of a mother and her fetus when either is at risk for complications.
When you're trying to get pregnant, timing is everything. Perfect eggs and flawless sperm are useless if they don't hook up at the opportune moment. To make that happen, you need to have intercourse within 24 hours of ovulation (when the ripened egg is released from the ovary). OB-GYNs and fertility experts recommend having intercourse every other day before ovulation, especially in the week preceding it. That way, you're sure to have sex at least once during your fertile period each menstrual cycle.
Undergoing fertility treatment is stressful enough, but women who conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF) might have more tough times ahead once they become moms. While only 1.5 percent of women in the general population undergo IVF, Australian researchers found that 6 percent of women who sought help for postpartum depression and early-parenting problems had conceived using this method. Women who get pregnant with IVF should be forewarned that they could need additional support after delivery.
Women who take longer than 12 months to get pregnant are more likely to deliver a boy. According to a recent British study, 58 percent of women who conceived after a year of trying to get pregnant had male offspring, compared with 51 percent of those who got pregnant quickly. Possible reason: Male sperm are better able to swim through thick, sticky cervical mucus--and women with such mucus take longer to conceive.