Questions to ask your doctor when you’re trying to get pregnant

by Burgie Ireland
Baby Yum Yum - questions to ask your doctor when you're trying to fall pregnant
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We had an older midwife on our team once who said that babies conceived when there’s a full moon are mostly girls, and boys are conceived when there’s a new moon. Old Wives Tales aside, a

Should I see a doctor if I’m trying to get pregnant?

If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for more than a year (or for more than 6 months if you’re 35 or older), it’s worth seeing a gynaecologist or fertility specialist. These visits are pretty expensive (and not always covered by medical aid) so it’s best to go well prepared. Take as much medical history, tests, previous treatments etc. as possible and keep copies for yourself.

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What your doctor needs to know when you are trying to get pregnant

Your doctor needs to know just about everything that’s happened to your body since puberty. S/he will ask you questions like: When did you start having periods, have you used contraceptives and for how long, have you had a miscarriage or an abortion, are your periods heavy, scanty, regular, sporadic? Do you ovulate? Have you been treated for a sexually transmitted infection? How many sexual partners have you had? Have you fractured your pelvis or coccyx?

Your doctor will want to know what you’ve been doing to get pregnant, and for how long.

Your partner needs to come along because pregnancy is not only up to you. It’s fifty percent his call and one hundred percent his sperm (X or Y sex chromosome) that decides whether your baby will be a girl or a boy. This visit may take a bit of persuading – especially when he’s given a girlie magazine and a little specimen bottle.

Next comes the internal examination and possible scan to check your vagina, cervix (mouth of the womb) position of your womb, bladder, bone structure and size of your pelvis.

questions to ask your doctor when youre trying to fall pregnant

How can I increase my chances of conceiving/falling pregnant?

You can do this by getting healthy. Think of your periods as your ‘health-barometer’. When your body is healthy, ovulation and periods will be predictable and hassle-free. Under these circumstances, pregnancy happens quite easily.

If you have major health issues like diabetes, you need to get these under control. Speak to your specialist about wanting to get pregnant. If you’ve been lazy about your health, now’s the time to take control and harmonise your hormones.

Learn to destress because excess cortisol can interfere with ovulation.
Stop smoking.
Exercise regularly.
Eat healthy.

What can I do to improve my egg quality?

There’s not much you can do about the quota or quality of your eggs, but there’s a lot you can do to make your vagina, cervix (mouth of the womb) and womb ‘sperm friendly’ during ovulation. It’s an aspect of fertility we’ve been ignoring for years.

Contraceptives thicken the mucous plug in the cervix to block sperm. During ovulation (when you’re not using contraceptives), surges of oestrogen and progesterone dilute this plug so that it looks like raw egg white. Not only does this clear mucous lubricate the vagina and balance the acidity, it creates microscopic channels to make sure that only perfect sperm are allowed to swim through the cervix and up into the womb. Some sperm even ‘holiday’ in the cervix for a few days, regaining their strength, resting and feeding on natural sugars.

Baby Yum Yum - questions to ask your doctor when you're trying to fall pregnant

How do I know if I’m infertile?

Irregular, sporadic, light or very heavy periods is an indication that all is not well in your reproduction department. Some women may have ‘regular’ periods, but don’t ovulate. These are called an anovular cycle – or POS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

A total lack of libido and fertility mucous are other signs of infertility. Libido goes hand-in-hand with a hormonal high associated with ovulation. During this time, a surge of oestrogen and progesterone puts you in the mood for sex. Fertility mucous and hitting the G-spot improves your chances of achieving an orgasm and ultimately pregnancy.

A good way to monitor your fertility cycle is to take your temperature (before you get out of bed) every morning. You can buy an ovulation thermometer for this. As long as you are healthy, your basal body temperature will be stable, then drop (very slightly) on ovulation day and rise slightly higher for the next few days, before returning to normal.

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Top tips for getting pregnant – from a midwife

Discard ‘ovulation calendars – they can be misleading.
See a fertility or natural family planning specialist.
See a dietitian.
Discuss options with your partner and stick to your modus operandi.
Go on holiday. Trust your instincts.

Good luck!

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