What can prevent a woman from conceiving?

Women are usually not very bothered about their fertility and ability to conceive until they face a problem. Young women live carefree lives till they get married, then their life takes a 360-degree turn. The obvious next step in a marriage, especially in the Indian culture, is a baby. In fact, there is a secret belief that when a girl is being selected as a bride, the older women in the family are trying to picture what their grandchildren will look like and hence looks plays an important role. Of course, there is no bias to this belief.

During the first year or two of marriage, there is not much thought given to getting pregnant. This holds true more for younger women. They go with the flow as and when it happens. It is after the second or third year of marriage that other family members begin enquiring about planning a child. This is when the pressure begins to build, and the couple starts consciously trying for a baby. When no baby happens after a few months, a woman may start wondering about her fertility and ability to conceive.

Today with media and so much of information floating around women are quite aware of infertility and its consequences. Many of them begin reading up. Some get really frightened when they learn of all the problems that they could have, which may be preventing them from conceiving. Rather than getting so freaked out it is advisable to visit a fertility specialist and have some fertility tests done to check if there is actually a problem. Once you have an inkling regarding the problem and what it is, then you can consider a possible solution that can help you to get pregnant.

There are many medicines that boost fertility and can help you to conceive. One such popularly prescribed fertility drug is clomiphene, which induces ovulation for women suspected to have an ovulation disorder. These drugs are effective when there are no medical conditions preventing you from getting pregnant. It is important for all women of childbearing age to be aware of the factors that can prevent them from getting pregnant.

There are many things that can thwart pregnancy; some are medical conditions while others are practical. So many aspects of our everyday life, which we do not even realise, actually plays a negative role in fertility and prevents conception.

INACTIVE LIFESTYLE

A complacent lifestyle may appear to be a luxury, but in actuality, it is doing your internal bodily functions much harm. Some women are just complacent. They will do anything to avoid having to move to get something or do something. These are usually women who have helpers and servants to run errands for them. They will not move out of the chair they are sitting in if they can help it. For every little thing that they want, they ask someone else to run the errand for them. Being physically inactive and mentally looking for ways to avoid exerting oneself physically can have the same effect inside your body as well. Your organs look for excuses to slow down or not work. Your metabolism and other organs all become sluggish. The worst effect is on the reproductive organs, which sometimes cease to function altogether.

Being physically active is very important for health. Without exercise, the organs are the body accumulates excess fat around them known as visceral fat, which inhibits them from functioning effectively. When a person is active, they have good blood circulation, and nutrients are transported to different areas of the body through the bloodstream. Good blood circulation can make your uterus more receptive for pregnancy, and it can also help your ovaries to function better.

It is essential to incorporate an exercise regime into your daily life. You do not have to join a gym and start pumping weights, but you should devote at least an hour a day to physical activity that gives you some form of exercise, even if it is taking a walk or cycling, swimming, dancing or whatever you like to do.

STRESS OF GETTING PREGNANT

When people tell you that you’re trying too hard or that you are too stressed about getting pregnant, they are probably right. In an attempt to get pregnant, you are doing the one thing that you should be avoiding, and that is getting stressed.

Today stress is a part of regular life. This stress stems from trying to get more done in a shorter duration of time. We feel compelled to do as much as we can with no time to stop and reflect. This mounts the stress irrespective of whether you are taking care of the home or have an office job.

Even though there is no conclusive evidence of the harm caused by stress, it cannot be ruled out. The effects of stress are quite visible in many spheres. Heart disease has been linked to stress. Stress has a negative effect on the liver and disrupts the digestive system, besides killing the appetite. Stress is known to reduce sperm count and delay the menstrual cycle. Those who are stressed find it increasingly difficult to get pregnant. There are many, stress-relieving techniques, and they are quite helpful in tuning the mind to focus on the positive rather than worrying about uncertainties.

IRREGULAR FOOD HABITS

What we eat and when we eat defines our general health and overall wellbeing. When you eat stuff that is not healthy or good for you, it has a negative effect on your body. It may not be noticeable immediately or have some sudden impact, but you will see the effect long term when your health is not quite right.

Start your day with a healthy breakfast. Most people do not realise the importance of eating breakfast. The very term breakfast means to break the fast that your body has kept through the night. Your system needs an energy boost in the morning for the activities that you have to perform. Some people have a habit of skipping breakfast, and this is not a healthy choice. Your body starts delving into its reserves. While this might sound like a fine idea since it will take out of the fat stores as well, but what happens to compensate is not pleasing. Because your body keeps getting into the fat reserves, it tends to build up even more fat reserves. So, as a result, you put on more weight. I’m sure that thought doesn’t appeal to you much.

Skipping lunch is not a good idea either. Your lunch should consist of a decent portion. This fuels the rest of your day. Dinner, on the other hand, should be light as your body has begun slowing down for the night. Bombarding your system with a heavy dinner will prevent the food from digesting properly. We know all too well what happens when you want to shut shop, so you just put stuff away for the sake of it just to get it over and done with. Your body does exactly the same. The food is just passed through your digestive system without your body absorbing much of the nutrients. So eat an early dinner and keep it light. This gives your body an opportunity to digest the food properly.

Mid meal snacking is unhealthy, and so is skipping meals. Eat your meals on time. If your body doesn’t know when the next meal is going to come, it responds in ways that are not healthy. When you do not eat regularly various parts of your body, including your reproductive organs does not get the nutrition they require and therefore do not work as effectively as they should.

GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP

Sleep is the one factor that no one gives much importance to. People do not realise how essential proper sleep is to our body. The human body has been programmed to perform certain functions at certain times. This is the reason researches believe that a person should go to bed by 10 pm and wake up by 6 am. After you wake up, your body goes through certain motions, which is preprogrammed.

Sleep boosts your hormone activity and fertility. Women who get enough sleep at night have higher levels of FSH hormone which stimulates follicle maturation. When you sleep, your body produces a hormone called melatonin. This is the same hormone which protects the eggs when you are nearing ovulation. Proper sleep leads to the production of the leptin hormone, which helps to maintain timely ovulation and a proper menstrual cycle.

Your body recuperates and regenerates during sleep hours. A definite duration of sleep is essential too. A body needs at least 7 to 8 hours of restful, undisturbed sleep. While asleep the cells in the body are repaired, and the hormones are regulated.

FALLOPIAN TUBES

Some women have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes from birth while in the case of other women, this condition could be caused due to other reasons. A woman with a tubal problem will not be able to get pregnant naturally. Fallopian tubes commonly get damaged as a result of an infection or surgery. Sexually transmitted diseases can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can, in turn, damage the fallopian tube.The fallopian tubes play an important role in the process of pregnancy. The mature female egg waits in the fallopian tube for the sperm to fertilise it. Once it is fertilised, the embryo remains in the fallopian tube for a few days before it moves to the uterus. If the tubes are blocked, the sperm cannot reach the egg to fertilise it.

In the case of partially blocked tubes, the sperm may reach the egg, but the embryo may not be able to travel from the tube to the uterus, leading to an ectopic pregnancy.

HORMONAL IMBALANCE

The reproductive cycle is controlled by the hormones in the body. The pituitary glands release hormones which stimulate the ovaries. Hormones prepare the endometrium for implantation, and at each stage, there is some role or function of a hormone which leads to the next step. What happens when the hormones are not released as they are supposed to, and the balance in the body goes off? A hormonal imbalance can wreak havoc with the reproductive system and literally cause it to malfunction such that pregnancy becomes almost impossible. Without the release of the right hormones at the right time, the reproductive organs don’t function correctly. When the correct hormones are not being produced, it may result in other hormones being produced in excess, and this can cause strange and unusual changes in the body.

A very common hormonal disorder among women is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Due to a malfunction of the pituitary gland, the FSH and LH hormones are not released preventing ovulation. The presence of cysts in the ovaries causes it to produce the larger quantities of androgen which is the male hormone, and consequently, the patient begins experiences changes in her body like excessive hair growth, acne, loss of hair on the scalp and various other symptoms including irregular menstrual cycle and lack of ovulation. PCOS is a common hormonal imbalance condition and a major cause for infertility among young women.

AUTOIMMUNE DISORDER

The Autoimmune disorder is a condition which attacks the immunity of the body. It is found in a number of diseases such as diabetes, thyroid, arthritis, lupus, celiac disease and various other conditions. These illnesses are known to inhibit pregnancy. If a woman suffers from any of these diseases, she has a lower chance of conceiving naturally. Over the last few decades, there has been a rise in autoimmune disorders. The autoimmune disorder further leads to infertility conditions such as endometriosis and polycystic ovaries as well as premature ovarian ageing resulting in premature menopause.

Many women who are not able to conceive, find that they are affected by autoimmune disease of some kind. Fertility treatment is the best solution for conceiving if you suffer from infertility due to autoimmune disease. Women with autoimmune disease are also more susceptible to suffering from a miscarriage, and this factor needs to be kept in mind when undergoing IVF treatment.

OVULATION PROBLEMS

Many women have no idea what ovulation is. They are aware that their menstrual cycle has something to do with getting pregnant, but ovulation is beyond them. Ovulation is the process of the egg being released by the ovary. The egg is available for fertilisation by a sperm usually for a time frame of about 12 to 24 hours. This time duration is known as the fertility window and varies from woman to woman. While some women have a longer fertility window, some are fertile for just about 12 hours. Usually, the sperm is expected to be present in the fallopian tube before ovulation takes place.

Anovulation disorder is usually linked to irregularities with the menstrual cycle. If a woman has any kind of abnormality with her menstrual cycles such as painful periods, scanty periods, excessively heavy bleeding, delayed periods, missing periods or any other irregularity, it should be reported to a doctor.

Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) is a common ovulation disorder, and women with this condition cannot conceive naturally. They are declared medically infertile. However, women suffering from PCOS can have a successful pregnancy with the help of IVF treatment.

ADVANCED AGE

As a couple gets older, they find it increasingly difficult to get pregnant without medical intervention. The quality of a man’s sperm begins to deteriorate after he crosses 40. Similarly, a woman’s egg begins to deteriorate after she crosses 37. Doctors always recommend having at least your first child before the age of 35.

Today many couples plan a delayed parenthood and give priority to their careers. Age is the enemy of fertility. Many couples are aware that fertility is affected by age but they rely on the advanced fertility treatment options to get them through. Women even in their mid and late 40’s have been able to successfully get pregnant with the wonders of IVF treatment.

Seema and Ajay had a late marriage. They were both in their mid-forties. They were eager to have a child immediately and didn’t want to delay any further. They were relatively healthy, but concerns regarding poor sperm quality and low ovarian reserve accompanied their age. The best option was IVF treatment. The doctor at Medicover Fertility advised a test to check the ovarian reserve for Seema and a semen analysis test for Ajay. For her age, Seema had a relatively good ovarian reserve. Ajay’s sperm, as expected, was of poor quality. The fact that Ajay was a regular smoker made his sperm quality even worse. The Fertility Consultant at Medicover suggested IMSI and a pre-implantation genetic screening ensure that the embryo they transferred had no chromosomal abnormalities, thereby improving the chances of IVF implantation success. The whole treatment went well without any complications. Of the 12 embryos they had, 7 of them showed chromosomal anomalies. One good embryo was transferred to Seema’s uterus, and the implantation was successful. Seema remained under the watchful eye of the doctor and was given a list of precautionary measure to adhere to. They did not want to risk a miscarriage. Everything went well, and Seema delivered a healthy baby.

SOLUTIONS TO GETTING PREGNANT SUCCESSFULLY

Many women are so caught up by the different factors that are preventing them from getting pregnant that they tend not to look for a solution, but rather at attacking the problem. Medicover Fertility is an IVF clinic which believes that women who are not able to get pregnant should not waste too much time on continuing to try for a natural pregnancy but should rather seek fertility treatment as soon as possible.

TESTIMONY

“Due to severe diabetes, I was not able to conceive, and even my ovulation was getting affected. We were advised to have IVF treatment. My IVF procedure kept failing, and finally, we decided that we would try Medicover and see what their claim of international standard treatment was. The fertility consultant at Medicover Fertility Clinic suggested that they do a PGD to prevent our baby from getting diabetes, which had been in my family for many generations. We were not aware of this facility, and we were very happy when the doctor suggested a PGD. Along with the PGD we also had a PGS which helped the doctors to check for chromosomal abnormalities and improve our chances of IVF success. This was a good decision because soon after we conceived and now have a lovely baby.”

SOME FAQ’S

Q: I have diabetes will reduce my fertility?
A: Diabetes is an autoimmune disease and can lower your chances of getting pregnant.

Q: I work night shifts and do not get more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep during the day. Will this reduce my ability to get pregnant?
A: Poor sleep will have a direct effect on your fertility as well as affect your overall general health, reducing your chances of getting pregnant.

Q: Can a good diet improve my chances of getting pregnant?
A: If you do not have any medical conditions of infertility like ovulation disorder or tubal problems, a good diet can help your fertility.