Wednesday, April 27, 2016

National Infertility Awareness Week: Tips for a ‘Fertile’ Future #ChurchandDwight

It took me a while to settle down into adult life. Graduate school can have that effect on you.  By the time I met my husband and we began to talk about starting a family, I was already 30, and he was 36. My step-son was just 5, and we really hoped we could add a little brother or sister for him before the age gap got too wide. We didn't start actively trying right away, but we stopped trying to prevent it, so we figured we'd let nature take its course, and I should get knocked up within a few months, right?

Not so much. Fertility decreases with age for both men and women, and we were already facing much different odds than we would have in our 20s. After a year of not conceiving naturally, we began a journey of another 3+  years of investigations and interventions. It was stressful, exhausting, and sometimes physically painful. When our IVF treatment failed I was devastated, and we decided to take a break. Both emotionally and physically exhausted, I couldn't take any more "trying."

Six months later we conceived the old fashioned way. No schedule, no medical help. Just me listening to my body and not stressing about it. It was a bit of a miracle - 35 and finally pregnant!

Starting a family and having children is something that most couples dream of, and often try to plan for. But the reality for many is that conceiving a child does not come as easily as they would have thought. In Canada, the incidence of fertility issues has risen in the past several decades, with one in six Canadian couples now experiencing fertility-related problems[1]. The result is that what is supposed to be an exciting and happy time, can become a significant source of stress and pressure for the couples that experience challenges along the way.

With National Infertility Awareness Week around the corner (May 12th – 20th), Dr. David Greenberg, Family Physician at St. Joseph Hospital, has some tips to help start the family planning process.

Don’t “try”!
For couples “trying” to conceive, every month can be filled with anxiety and worry. Heightened stress can actually cause more challenges. Therefore, it’s important to live in the moment and just enjoy your partner.

It’s not your fault
There are many reasons why conceiving a baby may be difficult, but it’s not anyone’s fault. Blaming yourself or your partner won’t fix anything and may lead to more problems, including tension in your relationship. 

Live healthy
Don’t wait until you find out you’re expecting to start making changes to your diet or exercise routine. Once you decide to start trying to conceive, start behaving like you’re already pregnant by eating right, taking prenatal vitamins, avoiding alcohol, stopping smoking and exercising sensibly. 

Know yourself
Improve your odds of conceiving by having sex on the days when conception is likeliest to happen. Every woman's body is unique, and, when trying to become pregnant, your individual cycle should be taken into consideration. The First Response™ Digital Ovulation Test detects and tracks your personal daily baseline levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) to detect your personal LH surge, unlike other ovulation tests that use a preset "average" level to determine an LH surge. 

Know when to see an expert
Most couples who are trying to conceive will become pregnant within a year. For others it can take longer. If it’s taking longer than you expected to conceive, it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor about what you should be doing to improve your chances of conceiving.

For those who know someone trying to conceive, the most important thing is to be supportive and understanding. Please remember that every woman is different. It’s important to consult your doctor to find the best steps for you.


Disclosure: I am a member of the Church & Dwight Ambassador Program, and as such receive special perks, products, and other compensation for my participation. All opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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