When you've finally decided to have a family, you've dreamt about playing games with your future little ones and planning unicorn themed birthday parties it can be overwhelming and upsetting when pregnancy isn't happening!
You did it right, you had sex while you were ovulating. You even used an app tracker and took your temperature every morning but no luck. Don't get too discouraged because you're not alone. If you're trying to conceive and getting frustrated, if you're having trouble sleeping because you keeping debating if it is a medical problem or if you just need to be more patient. Then this might be the blog for you.
How is infertility defined?
Infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex for women under 35 and six months for women 35 and older.
After that amount of time, an infertility evaluation is usually recommended. As there is a possibility that something is preventing pregnancy. However don't go to the doctor alone! Infertility problems can also be from your significant other. 30% of infertility cases can be caused by low sperm count, abnormal sperm movement, or past trauma, drinking/smoking or diabetes.
Some common medical conditions affecting infertility for women:
PCOS - Polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos) is a serious genetic, hormone, metabolic and reproductive disorder that affects women. This hormonal disorder causes a variety of symptoms and isn’t fully understood. However it is believed that it could be caused from a combination of genetic and lifestyle habits. PCOS is completely treatable with a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Fallopian tube obstruction - Blocked fallopian tubes don’t often cause symptoms. Until you have trouble getting pregnant, it is common to have no idea the tube is blocked. Blocked fallopian tubes are a common cause of infertility, as it is where the sperm and an egg meet for fertilization. A blocked tube can prevent them from joining.
Irregular uterine shape - Sometimes a fertilized egg can't attach itself to the uterine wall based on the irregular shape. This shape could be nature or formed by abnormalities from uterine fibroids (noncancerous growths on the uterine wall) or scar tissue from surgery or infection.
Simple but often overlooked reasons you might not be pregnant yet...
Something could be wrong but it's also possible you've overlooked some of these steps. Take a look.
1. Not Knowing When You Really Ovulate
Many women have a 28-day cycle, which means for them, ovulation generally happens on day 14. However, individual cycles vary, yours might be longer or shorter. To figure out the exact day you ovulated, you’d actually need to count 14 days back from the day you started your period. (That’s because while not everyone ovulates on the 14th day of your cycle, your period almost always begins 14 days after ovulation.)
2. You haven’t been trying at the right times...
You're thinking... whatever, I did the math but did you do it right? A common mistake is not counting from the real day of your cycle. Day one should be the first day you bleed, however some people make the mistake of counting the day before or the day after. Of course, the easy solution would be using an ovulation predictor kit, available over the counter. You have a small window and being off by a day can make a difference when you're trying to conceive.
3. You just got off birth control and your body needs time to adjust.
Sure, you can get pregnant as soon as two weeks after stopping birth control but for some women, it can take months to start ovulating again. Your body might just need time, however if it is getting close to a year and you still haven't had any luck, consult your ob-gyn.
4. Your body is under too much stress.
Don't underestimate stress! The stress hormone, cortisol, can throw all other hormones out of whack, which could make your periods irregular. If your goal is to get pregnant, you need to manage any chronic stress you could be experiencing. Positive practices like journalling, mind-body practices like yoga, acupuncture, and massage, may be able to help. It is never easy to deal with outside stresses but it isn't going to help you get pregnant ignoring them.
5. Don't ignore the voice in your head.
Let's face it, friends might think you're over reacting but you might be worried for good reason. Maybe your family has a history of miscarriages, or maybe you are just getting off of birth control after ten years and remember that you never had regular periods. Maybe you're worried about your health and want to make sure it's under control before trying for a baby. If you have reason to be worried and it's making you worry, then checking with a professional is a good idea. If nothing else, it will help you reduce stress knowing you took action instead of dwelling on it.
6. You're not enjoying sex anymore.
Do you enjoy singing in the shower or in front of thousands of people on a stage? The fact is, not everyone preforms well under pressure. Same goes for your sex life. If sex has just become a baby making tool, you and your partner might not be enjoying it the way you did before. Or maybe you preform well under pressure but your partner... not so much. Some couples have resulted to only having sex when the calendar says it will make a baby. That's a lot of pressure. You can still know the schedule or check your calendar but don't forget to enjoy one another and have a romantic moment. Try connecting and enjoying each other without a singular goal of having a baby 9 months later. At the end of the day, you two are the start of this family and your connection and love will last through whatever happens.
7. You're freaking out about getting frisky.
When your pregnant friends say, "It happened right when I stopped worrying about it." It's annoying to hear — but it's often true. Sometimes we don't realize how much pressure we are putting on ourselves, how much we are blaming ourselves or feeling stuck in a situation. When you have an elevated level of cortisol, a stress hormone, it can negatively affect ovulation and fertility. Not to mention, stress has negative effects on your mood which can create tension in your relationship.
Dr. Curtis: "I tell my patients who are actively trying to simply stop 'trying' so hard, and that's usually when they will conceive."
8. Stop asking yourself "what is wrong with me?"
Nothing is wrong with you. The fact is, having a baby isn't as easy as the world lets you believe. Todays generation is talking about it more but past generations often didn't mention how many miscarriages they had or how long they tried. Think about it this way, if everything is in perfect balance, women still only have a 1 in 4 chance of getting pregnant each month when they are 20-30 years old. After 30 they have a 1-10 chance of becoming pregnant each month. Throw in anything from stress, to PCOS and things get a lot harder but it doesn't mean you can't overcome it. Find other women to connect with, like on the S'moo app, because it is important to understand that you're not alone. Don't ever blame yourself.
There are several ways you can boost your fertility that we will review next week! Stay positive and don't give up!