If you’re a newly-wed, you’re no stranger to the pressures of having a child that soon follow after marriage. What many people fail to understand, however, is that having a child is a decision that solely belongs to you and your partner. Maybe you want to wait a few years and enjoy each other’s company before bringing children into your family. No matter the situation, the decision should not be taken lightly.
If you have made that decision, be prepared for a storm of emotions. Getting pregnant isn’t as easy as people make it out to be. Every couple is different and sometimes, things may take longer than expected. There are a number of reasons why you might not be getting pregnant and, as frustrating and upsetting as it is, it’s actually quite common.
While you should always consult a doctor when it comes to such matters, it’s important to know the basics of infertility – what it is and what causes it.
What is infertility?
Primary infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months of trying without using any form of birth control. Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after previously giving birth to a healthy child – and is much more common than primary infertility.
On average, it can take a couple anywhere from 6 months to a year to conceive a child. Women under 35 should consult a doctor for evaluation and treatment after 6 months of trying. But women over 35 should get themselves checked out before they hit the 6-month mark.
Female infertility is caused by a number of things – anything that deviates from the natural process of conception can be a sign of infertility.
Causes of Infertility
1. Ovulation Disorders
Certain disorders affect the healthy growth of eggs in the ovaries and their subsequent release in the fallopian tubes. These ovulation disorders are the most common causes of infertility in most cases. Polycystic ovary syndrome (known commonly as PCOS) is a disorder that causes a hormonal imbalance where the eggs in the ovaries do not mature enough to be released in the fallopian tubes. Other issues related to thyroid – such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism – affect the menstrual cycle and ovulation as well.
2. Uterine/Cervical Abnormalities
Sometimes congenital abnormalities in the normal shape of the uterus and cervix can be a hindrance in conceiving. Benign growths, such as polyps and fibroids, can cause disruption and blockage of uterine cavity, which interferes with the implantation of a fertilised egg in the uterus.
3. Fallopian Tube Blockage
Inflammation of the fallopian tube is called Salpingitis, and can cause narrowing and/or blockage of the tube, causing an obstruction in the passage of egg to the uterus. Salpingitis can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, pelvic tuberculosis or endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the tissue, that normally lines the inside of the uterus, starts to grow outside the uterine cavity, hindering the implantation of the fertilized egg.
What can you do?
If you’re trying to get pregnant, here are some things you can do to increase your chances of conception.
- Quit smoking – smoking increases the chances of infertility and miscarriages
- Exercise in moderation – intense workouts can cause irregularities in the menstrual cycle
- Maintain an appropriate weight – women that are overweight or underweight face difficulties conceiving
- Maintain a healthy diet – eating healthily and a regular intake of Folic Acid and Vitamin B12 will have a positive effect on fertility
- Avoid excess of Vitamin A – it’s harmful for the fetus and can cause liver toxicity
- Try to have children young – as you age the chances of infertility increases due to a smaller number of healthy eggs
- Visit a gynecologist before you start trying – they will answer any questions and recommend what will work best for you
- Visit a fertility specialist – they’ll be the ones to evaluate your situation and provide the appropriate treatment
Above all, remember that this is NOT your fault. Infertility, in men and women, is increasingly common so make sure both you and your husband visit the doctor.