By Dr Meghana D Sarvaiya
Are you ready to conceive? You’ll want to put some planning behind the conception. If you’re thinking of getting pregnant – or already trying to conceive – it is very important that this phase of “wellness” is planned in every woman’s life. While there are important things to know, the first and foremost requirement for every couple in order to ensure a “healthy pregnancy” is through right nutrition, maintaining the right weight and taking preconception folic acids.
With our lifestyles deteriorating day by day, infertility concerns are also rising. Most people, these days, lead a stressful and sedentary lifestyle, which often ends up affecting their fertility. In most developed and developing countries, the work life of both men and women, is such that they are spending too much time over the computer, and involved in very little or no physical exercise. This kind of lifestyle, often referred to as sedentary, has a significant bearing on one’s fertility. If you are trying to get pregnant, or plan to start trying, every woman needs to maintain a healthy weight which will in return result in improved chance of conceiving (getting pregnant) and having a healthy baby.
Tips to increase a healthy woman’s chances of becoming pregnant
· Record menstrual cycle frequency.
· Monitor ovulation.
· Have sex every other day during the fertility window.
· Strive for a healthy body weight.
· Take regular folic acid supplements.
Factors such as your weight, compared with your height, and what you eat can play an important role in your health during pregnancy and the health of your developing foetus.
Couples, who have been trying for conception for over six months, often ignore the basics of scheduling a preconception check-up with a doctor to find out whether they are in the best baby-making shape, and to learn what changes could help will be very helpful to kickstart.
The fertility window
For any pregnancy to happen, “getting the timing right” for sexual relations alongside monitoring the fertility window of the female partner regularly is very important. Every woman ovulates only once each menstrual cycle and anyone with a regular menstrual cycle follows a 28-day cycle. The fertility window starts from the ninth day of the previous cycle and lasts till Day 18. This window period may vary for each woman depending upon the health conditions. It is during this ‘fertile window’ that an egg is released from the ovary (ovulation) and having sex (intercourse) during this time gives you the best chances of getting pregnant. The last day of your fertile window, ovulation, is the phase of your cycle when one of your ovaries releases an egg into a fallopian tube, where it awaits the sperm for fertilisation. An egg lives for about 12 to 24 hours after being released and the sperms remain in the female body for 48 to 72 hours. It is recommended that the couples have regular sex at least every alternate day to make the best of this window.
Avoid vaginal lubricants
Couples should avoid the use of any kind of vaginal lubricants, jelly or oils. That way you’re likely to have healthy sperm in your fallopian tubes whenever your body releases an egg. Women should hold the sperm after sex at least for 45 minutes and then should be wiped with tissues or normal water.
Cut unhealthy habits to boost sperm count and aid pregnancy
It is very important that unhealthy habits and recreational drinks such as alcohol, smoking, drugs should be avoided. Caffeine intake has to be reduced drastically. To give sperm a boost, skip tobacco and limit alcoholic drinks. A bunch of hormonal changes occur before and during pregnancy and they play an important role for a successful pregnancy. Stress levels should always be kept under control if you are trying to get pregnant. If you’re younger than 35 and haven’t gotten pregnant after trying for a year, it’s time to see a fertility specialist. If you’re 35 or older, talk to a specialist after you’ve tried for six months with no luck. And of course, if you know there’s a reason you or your partner are more likely to have a fertility problem, it’s a good idea to see a specialist even before you start trying. It is very important to stay out of popping any contraception pills.
Enjoy the transition
The transition to motherhood is an emotional development and it is a period that is associated with significant social and psychological changes and upheavals that may give rise to feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt. It is important for both the partners to stay positive and remove elements of self-doubt and negativity from their life to have a healthy pregnancy. Pregnancy is supposed to be one of the happiest times of a woman’s life and new beginnings need time, a little care and tremendous support.
As rightly been said by Helen Keller, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence” and the journey of pregnancy requires a lot of hope, optimism and support during the entire nine-month journey.
(The writer is Senior Consultant – Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Mumbai (Malad).)