Starting a Family
Pre-pregnancy and Fertility
You’ve decided it’s your time. Whether trying for the first time or planning for your fourth baby, I will help by addressing your specific issues, optimise your individual situation, settle your anxiety and reduce your stress to help achieve the best outcome possible for you.
HOW I CAN HELP YOU
I want a baby and need help:
Some couples will fall pregnant quickly and others will take more time. This is understandably frustrating, wearisome and concerning. If you have been trying without success for up to 12 months, I recommend you and your partner come and see me. Let me thoroughly assess you both and ensure that everything is in your favour to achieve a healthy pregnancy.
I’ve had a hard time before…I’m worried:
You may have had problems in a previous pregnancy and as a result feel fear and trepidation about embarking on the journey again. I will help put your mind at ease by carefully assessing and optimising your situation to ensure the best outcome possible in the future.
Is my medical problem going to affect things?
If you suffer from a medical problem it is really important to understand how it may impact on your pregnancy but also how your pregnancy may impact on your own health. I will see you before conceiving so I can ensure you are on the correct medications and in the best possible health to help to achieve our desired outcome…healthy mum and baby.
SO MANY QUESTIONS…
How long does it usually take to get pregnant?
- All couples are different, some fall pregnant straight sway while others take many months to conceive
- Research shows that overall, the probability of conception after six months is up to 80% and after 12 months is up to 90%
What things increase the risk of infertility?
- Increasing age
- Poor diet
- Athletic training
- Being overweight or underweight
- Tobacco smoking
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Health problems that cause hormonal changes
How does age affect a woman's ability to have children?
- More and more couples are waiting until in their 30s and 40s to have children but increasing age affects the fertility for both men and women.
- It is the single biggest factor affecting a woman’s chance of conceiving and having a healthy baby. About one third of couples in which the women is over 35 have fertility problems.
- In early to mid 20s a woman has a 25-30% chance of getting pregnant per month. A woman’s fertility generally starts to decline in her early 30s, with the decline speeding up after age 35. By age 40, a woman’s chance of getting pregnant in any monthly cycle is down to 5%.
Ageing decreases a woman’s changes of having a baby in the following ways:
- The ability of a woman’s ovaries to release eggs ready for fertilization decreases with age.
- The health of a woman’s egg declines with age.
- A woman is more likely to have health problems that can interfere with fertility.
Why isn’t it happening for us?
There are a number of reasons why a couple may have difficulty falling pregnant. A number of investigation can be done to try and work out the cause and fix it but in some, very frustrating situations, it is not possible to precisely explain the reason.
Where an egg is not produced at all by the ovary or is not produced at a regular time.
Where there is tissue, similar to tissue lining the inside of the uterus, outside. This can cause adhesions and distortion of anatomy affecting fertility.
A blockage or damage to the cells lining the fallopian tubes can occur from previous infection or surgery which then stops the passage of sperm or eggs.
Differences in the shape and size of the uterus can contribute to difficulties falling pregnant or staying pregnant.
Some medical disorders can affect your hormone function in turn affecting your fertility. Most commonly thyroid and weight related conditions.
For men, declining sperm counts, abnormalities in the movement or shape of sperm can affect fertility.
WHAT TO DO NOW
Changes to improve your health are not always easy but the decision to try for a pregnancy should be a great motivator. Here are some dos and don’ts to help try and achieve the best outcome possible and a list of things to bring when you come and see me for the first time.
Start tracking your menstrual cycle...
Ovulation occurs 14 days before your start bleeding. This varies depending on the length of your cycle but in an average 28 day cycle, it occurs between day 12 and 14. Sperm can survive for up to five days and the egg can be fertilised up to 12 hours from ovulation so you should be having intercourse every other day from day 8-16 of your cycle.
Take folate in the weeks before and up to three months after you get pregnant...
Folic acid has been shown to reduce the incidence of fetal spine abnormalities or spina bifida. It is most important in the early weeks when most people don’t know they are pregnant yet, so taking it when you are trying is best.
Make sure you are within a healthy weight range...
Being overweight or underweight can affect your chance of falling pregnant, increase your risk of miscarriage as well as increasing your risks during pregnancy.
Eat a variety of good food...
- Eat a balanced diet with a mixture of fruit and vegetables to ensure you are have adequate vitamin and anti-oxidant levels.
- Prenatal vitamins will help to ensure this.
Maintain a good level of activity...
Pregnancy is physically demanding. You can help manage your changing body shape as well as the demands of pregnancy, birth and early parenting by having a good level of fitness.
Look after yourself...
Try and rest whenever you can, get enough sleep, reduce stress in your work and family life if you can and if possible, try and find time for yourself.
Book your appointment
Contact us as soon as possible to book in your appointment.
SEE YOUR GP
See your GP to ensure you have had all your pre-pregnancy health checks and to get a referral to see me.
Women should have routine pap test screening every two years. It is best done before you are pregnant but it is safe to have done during pregnancy.
You should check your own breasts monthly but an annual breast check by your GP is also a good idea.
Any STIs should be treated before you are pregnant. If you have any concerns you should be tested before conceiving.
Conditions that may affect your pregnancy include high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, anaemia, kidney problems, hear or liver disease. You need to make sure your health is optimised and you are on the correct medication before becoming pregnant.
German measles (Rubella)
- Infection during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy can result in severe abnormalities in an unborn baby.
- Even if you have been vaccinated before, immunity doesn’t always last a lifetime.
- You can check this with a blood test.
- If you need another vaccination you should wait 28 days before tyring to get pregnant or have a follow up blood test to ensure you are immune.
- Infection in early pregnancy or close to babies birth can cause infection in the baby, miscarriage or possible abnormalities.
- If you have had chicken pox before you will be immune. A blood test can check your immunity and a vaccination is available if you are not.
- Pregnant women can become very sick with the flu and are at risk of complications. A flu vaccination can help prevent this as well as protect babies against flu in the first six months of life.
- Flu vaccination during pregnancy is recommended for all pregnant women and can be given at any stage of your pregnancy.
Whooping cough (Pertussis)
- Vaccination does not last a lifetime. Most adults are not adequately vaccinated as their last immunisation was over 10 years ago.
- It is important that any adults who will be in close contacts with your newborn be vaccinated to protect your child.
- You will be vaccinated during your pregnancy to help provide protection for your newborn before they can be vaccinated.
Dental x-rays aren’t recommend in pregnancy so a dental check before is the best plan.
Discuss all medication, prescribed and over the counter with your doctor before trying for a pregnancy.
Mental health assessment
Depression and anxiety can occur ant any time but is common during pregnancy and following the birth of a baby. Its very important if you are taking medications to seek advice before changing your medication, pre, during or post your pregnancy.
WHAT TO TRY AND AVOID
Stop drinking alcohol
- There is no safe level of alcohol in pregnancy so you should stop drinking now.
- Excessive alcohol consumption may reduce sperm mobility so it is important for your partner as well.
- Smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and harms the growth and development of your baby.
- You should contact the Quitline on 137 848 for free information, advice and support to stop smoking.
Avoid multivitamins containing retinol
This is a type of vitamin A that can be harmful in large amounts.
Tea, coffee and cola drinks all contain caffeine. Large amounts of caffeine may increase your risk of miscarriage. You should try and limit your intake to three cups of coffee per day.
WHAT TO BRING
A list of what to bring
- A referral from your GP.
- Any recent investigations including blood tests and ultrasounds.
- A list of your current medications, prescribed and over the counter.
- Any letters or referrals from other specialists.
- Your partner.