When “Expecting” Isn’t Easy – Answers to Infertility Questions
For many women, talking about infertility or their fears around infertility can be difficult. Some women struggle with the feeling that conception should be natural or easy, but for millions of women in the US, this is not the case. Infertility is also a sensitive topic. It can feel too personal or lonely when social media and friend group conversations are full of baby milestones and happy birth stories. This month, as we celebrate women’s health, our physicians and providers want to take a moment to bring clarity to the subject of infertility and remind women in our community that they are not alone. Harbin Clinic is ready for your questions and concerns about infertility and women’s health.
Women’s health providers define infertility as not being able to conceive after 12+ months of unprotected sex. For those over the age of 35, doctors suggest making an appointment after 6 months of unprotected sex as natural fertility begins to decline after age 35. But before seeking medical help, there are several easy steps you can take at home:
First, consider infertility risk factors that might be a part of your daily life or medical history. Smoking, excessive alcohol use, extreme weight gain or loss, and significant stress can all lead to infertility. You may still need to see a healthcare provider to receive guidance in these areas, but narrowing in on other health factors first could help answer conception questions sooner.
If you already know you struggle with one of the health problems listed below, do not wait to see women’s health providers about infertility as these all can play a role in a higher risk of infertility:
- Irregular or no menstrual periods
- Uterine malformations
- Pituitary adenomas
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- More than one miscarriage
- Male factor concerns such as testicular trauma, hernia surgery, chemotherapy, or infertility with another partner
- Genetic disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Thyroid condition
If you have no known medical issues and have been trying to conceive without success, consider tracking your ovulation. This is one of the first steps fertility specialists will take, but tracking ovulation is something you can also do at home. Knowing that you are experiencing regular ovulation can rule out one potential factor when trying to understand your infertility journey.
Understanding Your Cycle
Most people were taught that the female cycle is about 28 days long with ovulation happening around day 14 or halfway through the cycle. However, ovulation can happen much earlier or later than day 14, so it can be helpful to know when ovulation is happening in your cycle. Consider using ovulation prediction methods such as ovulation kits, basal temperature charting, or cervical mucus observation to learn more about the natural rhythms of your body.
More than anything, Harbin Clinic physicians and providers want you to know that questions and concerns around conception are normal. Getting pregnant can be more complicated than you might think. Several health factors play a role in conception, so identifying what’s going on can help women make a clear plan for their future. Although the disappointment of passing months and no positive pregnancy tests can feel frustrating, the Harbin Clinic Women’s Centers are ready and willing to walk the road of building a family with you. Make an appointment with a Harbin Clinic infertility specialist.
Content updated January 2023.