This post was brought to you by Scarsdale Medical Group.
Whether you’re trying to conceive your first baby or your fourth, the process of getting pregnant can be stressful if it doesn’t happen right away. The good news? “85 out of 100 couples planning to conceive are successful within the first 12 months of trying,” says Dr. Beth Simon, OBGYN, from Scarsdale Medical Group. Dr. Simon answers your questions about getting pregnant and how to prepare.
Does a woman’s state of mind influence her chances of conception?
There are no studies to prove or disprove that stress affects fertility, however, in my experience, it may. We know there are physiologic changes that occur from stress, none of which are good for conception. The logical conclusion would be that stress works against you. That being said, not being stressed about conceiving is much easier said than done. Women need to make lifestyle adjustments to promote overall health, like eating right and exercising, which release endorphins that will decrease stress. The better you feel about yourself and your health, the lower your stress level. Make sure you have time to yourself, enjoy your partner, and do things you like to do. Nothing good ever came out of being miserable. Most women of reproductive age do not have fertility issues, so as long as you get regular medical care, there is no reason to assume you are infertile. Similar to the presumption of innocence, you are fertile until proven otherwise. Also, it is perfectly normal for it to take up to one year to get pregnant. So don’t freak out when you don’t get pregnant the first month you try to conceive.
Would you recommend alternative therapies to increase chances of conception, like acupuncture?
There are a few studies that suggest acupuncture can aid in fertility treatment. It is unlikely that it is harmful. Eastern medicine has been around a lot longer than Western medicine, so as long as you go to someone who is recommended and has experience in taking care of women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it is an option. I allow my patients to undergo acupuncture.
Are there any exercises that will increase my fertility?
No, there is no special fertility Pilates class. I wish there was, as it would make life much easier (and it would be a popular class!). Ideally, you should be at your ideal body weight, or at least a normal BMI, before conceiving. If you have never exercised before, it’s a great time to start! Discuss your plan with your OB to make sure it is safe. Begin with as little as five minutes a day, and add five minutes each week. Your goal is to stay active for 30 minutes on most days of the week.
What’s the most effective way to determine when I’m ovulating?
There is no foolproof method to make sure that an ovary has released an egg, but there are a number of methods that are useful. One method is to note changes in your body. Look for telltale signs of ovulation: cramps, tender breasts, cervical mucus, or an increased desire to have sex. Other methods — charting your cycle, tracking your temperature, and using an ovulation-predictor kit — can give you a pretty good idea.
Is it easier or harder to get pregnant the first time?
In general, the younger you are, the “easier” it is, because your fertility is better. But if you have undiagnosed fertility issues (because you have never tried to get pregnant before), it is “harder” because you are unaware they exist. How long will it take before you become pregnant? That depends on a number of factors: your age, your health, and how often you have sex, for instance. 85 out of 100 couples are pregnant within a year.
Couples who have not been able to conceive after 12 months of having regular sex should discuss it with their health care providers, and many are referred to a fertility doctor. Many of these couples eventually have children without medical help.
Should I start taking prenatal vitamins when I’m trying to get pregnant?
Yes, start taking prenatal vitamins three months before trying to conceive. Many women do not know they are pregnant until they are several weeks into their pregnancies. These early weeks are key for the baby growing inside you. The first eight weeks of pregnancy are a time of rapid growth; most of the major organs and body systems have begun to form. Folic acid is the most important vitamin. It is a B vitamin that helps prevent NTDs when taken before pregnancy and during pregnancy.
Beth Simon, MD, (pictured above) and her partner, Ronald Reiss, MD, FACOG, are Scarsdale Medical Group’s OBGYN physicians along with GYN, Elizabeth Hung, MD. They accept many insurances and provide full OBGYN services including infertility/conception, obstetrics/pregnancy, breastfeeding consultations, ultrasound, gynecological care, well woman care and surgery.
Disclaimer: Please be advised that these responses are for informational purposes only. The advice given in this article is not meant to replace the advice of your personal physician. No formal diagnosis of any condition can be made without a physician, and if you are concerned about any skin issues, you should see your dermatologist for evaluation and treatment.
Scarsdale Medical Group, 550 Mamaroneck Avenue, Suite 101, Harrison; 914-723-8100