Are you facing a challenge when it comes to conceiving? If this is a problem that has been plaguing you, know that you are not alone in this struggle. Singapore’s total fertility rate (TFR) dipped by 1.16 in 2017, which is the second-lowest figure ever recorded. With all other contributing factors aside, one of the reasons is difficulty in getting pregnant. However, this should not rob you off of any hope, as there are several ways that can help you get pregnant fast.
Factors making it difficult for you to conceive
More women today are waiting until their 30s or 40s to have children. With the drive to build a career and other goals in the pipeline, it is common for couples to put off starting a family for a couple of years down the road. However, the concern here is that ageing decreases a woman’s chances of having a baby.
With age, a woman has a smaller number of eggs left. It is also likely that she is no longer as healthy as she starts to experience health conditions that may cause fertility problems, also increasing the likelihood of a miscarriage.
Women above 35 are advised to undergo a fertility health check with their partners because not only does a woman’s number of eggs drop, the quality also begins to decline drastically.
Premature ovarian failure
This refers to the ovary’s loss of normal function before you even hit 40. If your ovaries fail, they will no longer produce eggs or normal amounts of estrogen which can lead to infertility and other problems.
The signs and symptoms to watch out for include:
– Vaginal dryness
– Decreased sexual desire
– Hot flashes or night sweats
– Irritability or difficulty concentrating
– Irregular or skipped periods (amenorrhea)
Fibroids and polyps
Among the most common uterine issues affecting a woman’s fertility are growths, such as uterine fibroids (noncancerous muscle growths) or endometrial polyps (an overgrowth of glandular tissue attached to the lining or inner wall of the uterus).
The uterus, or what we call the womb, is where the embryo is embedded and develops into a fetus. Physical issues with the uterus such as growths or any irregularities in its structure can contribute to female infertility, recurrent miscarriages, or complications during delivery. Fibroids and polyps are always benign but they may need to be removed to facilitate implantation.
Damaged or blocked tubes
Every month, when ovulation occurs, one of the ovaries releases an egg. It travels through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. The sperm also needs to swim their way up to the cervix, through the uterus, and through the fallopian tubes to get to the egg. Fertilization takes place while the egg is travelling through the tube. If one or both tubes are blocked, both the egg and sperm will not have the chance to fertilize.
This is a condition where endometrial-like tissues are present outside the uterus, which causes a chronic inflammatory reaction, scar tissue and adhesions that may distort a woman’s pelvic anatomy. Typically, endometriosis causes pain and infertility, although 20-25% of patients show no symptoms. In moderate to severe cases, the chances of natural conception are reduced.
6 ways on how to get pregnant fast
If you are having problems getting pregnant, here are some ways that can significantly improve the odds:
A healthy, balanced diet is a basic requirement for couples who are looking to conceive. What you eat affects everything in your body, including your hormones. Nutritional experts suggest that you follow the “fertility diet.” This is not one of those fad diets; instead, it stems from the first comprehensive 8-year study on diet and fertility which revealed ten evidence-based suggestions for improving fertility.
Based on the recommendations of the study, fertility-boosting strategies for ovulatory infertility include:
- Avoiding trans fats
- Eating more plant protein and less animal protein
- Going for slow carbs (minimally processed foods), not no carbs
- Drinking whole milk
- Using more unsaturated vegetable oils
- Getting plenty of iron from plants
- Taking a multivitamin
If you are living a sedentary lifestyle and are above the “fertility zone” for weight, daily exercise can help improve fertility. However, it is also advised to not overdo it. Too much exercise, especially when you are quite lean already, can interfere with ovulation.
It is wise that women stay within the “fertility zone” for weight. It has been long established that body fat affects reproduction. Women with very little can have some difficulty in maintaining a pregnancy. Meanwhile, women with too much fat will find it difficult to conceive for other reasons, many of which may affect ovulation. A BMI (Body Mass Index) from 20 to 24 the fertility zone.
However, getting your weight within that range will not work like magic. This will put you at an advantage for getting pregnant. Things may look bleak for women who are overweight, but take heart because there are studies which show that losing a modest amount of weight (5-10% of their starting weight) can jump-start ovulation and improve fertility outcomes.
Many are asking if there is any harm in enjoying an occasional drink. As with most things, there is happiness in moderation. And if you are trying to get pregnant, it is important to know that alcohol may have a threshold effect on fertility.
Heavy drinking can adversely impact fertility. Harmful drinking patterns may consist of either heavy routine drinking (two or more drinks per day) or binge drinking (five or more drinks at one time). Heavy consumption within these two categories has been linked to increased rates of menstrual abnormality and miscarriage.
Women can enjoy an occasional drink during the holidays, but it is encouraged that they limit themselves to fewer than five glasses of wine or champagne in a week. It is also better if you avoid hard liquors with higher alcohol content.
Smoking can affect female smokers who are trying to conceive because it increases the risk of developing the following fertility problems:
- Damaged eggs
- Increased chances of a miscarriage
- Problems with the fallopian tube
There are studies which show that smoking lowers a woman’s biological clock. It decreases the total number of eggs in her ovaries causing them to age prematurely. This may lead to earlier menopause, as much as 4 years earlier than normal.
The numerous toxins in tobacco smoke can interfere with the production of hormones that are related to fertility cycles. It can also damage egg cell production and damage the embryo even before it gets implanted in the uterine wall. Furthermore, it can also impede the processes that prepare the womb for pregnancy.
The best way to improve your odds of getting pregnant quickly is to have sex at the right time in your cycle. You increase your chances when you have sex within a day or so of ovulation (that period when your ovaries are releasing an egg). This happens about 14 days after the first day of your last period.
Once an egg is released it lives for about 12-24 hours. A sperm must fertilize the egg within that span of time in order for you to get pregnant. To get the best chances of success, it is best that you have sex every two to three days throughout the month.
If you are planning on starting your family any time soon, go for a fertility health check to screen for some of the common health issues that may affect fertility. Since we can’t really detect fertility problems just by looking at someone, going for a fertility check can help couples be aware of any issues that should be addressed right away.
Women who regularly experience heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding, menstrual cramps, and pelvic pain should consult their gynaecologist. A fertility screening can help determine if these symptoms are caused by a severe underlying fertility issue.
If you are having trouble conceiving, it is wise that both you and your partner get checked. This is to ensure that the right person receives treatment as soon as possible. Make the right lifestyle changes today and the professional help you need.
Book your consultation with Dr. Pamela Tan today and get the appropriate tests and infertility management going.
Dr Pamela Tan is a board certified obstetrician and gynecologist in Singapore. She finished her undergraduate studies at the National University of Singapore and earned her post-graduate degree at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in the UK. She is an accredited specialist by the Specialist Accreditation Board (Ministry of Health), and a fellow of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore. She subspecialises in colposcopy and is certified to perform Level 3 minimally invasive keyhole surgeries such as laparoscopic hysterectomy, myomectomy and cystectomy. Dr Pam also supports the natural birthing method and she strives to provide a personalised care and treatment for each patient.