You know you are ready to start trying to get pregnant and so you start full of hope. But then nothing happens!
So you keep trying but don’t really know what the first step is if nothing happens every month. Which can be frustrating, anxiety-inducing and isolating. You might start to wonder if there is something wrong with you and if there is where do you go for help? What can you do?
You are not alone in this and it might feel more than a little overwhelming. There is a huge amount of information out there, you’ve only got to type a few key phrases into Google and you’ll be completely bamboozled by the amount of information that pops up.
Here at Nurture 4 Life we speak to lots of couples in very similar situations and, as we share with them, there are a few key things to do first:
1. Are you tracking your cycle?
Understanding what is going on by identifying when your period starts and ends, how long your cycle is and if you notice any ovulation signs can help you become familiar with your menstrual cycle and notice any anomalies. We often support our clients in charting their temperatures in the short term, which can be a great way of gathering information about your reproductive health and hormonal patterns.
2. Have you been to your GP?
This should always be the first thing you do if you are having any difficulty conceiving. Your GP should be understanding (ask for a second opinion or make an appointment with a different GP if they aren’t) and make sure he/she carries out some blood hormone tests, and if necessary refer you on to a Fertility Clinic.
3. Once you have seen your GP, are you making sure you’re being offered the right blood tests at the right time of your cycle?
Some GPs think all women have a 28 day cycle and this isn’t true. Cycles can be between 24 and 40 days so a day 21 progesterone test will only be accurate if you have a 28 day cycle! Some blood hormone tests will need to be done between days 1-5 of your cycle. It can also be helpful to ask for a printout of your blood test results.
4. Have you been for a scan to check your womb and ovaries?
And have they checked that your fallopian tubes are clear and in good working order? Your GP can refer you on for these further tests.
5. Have you both been checked for STI’s (sexually transmitted infections)?
It is always helpful to have a full screening as Chlamydia can lie dormant in your system and this will have an effect on your fertility.
6. Has your partner had an up to date Sperm Analysis?
It is often automatically assumed that if you are having problems conceiving then it is the woman’s fault. Not true at all! It is of equal importance that both of you have the relevant tests as male issues account for up to 50% of conception difficulties. Sperm need to be checked for their motility (the percentage of sperm that move), morphology and total count. If a man is told his morphology is 4% that means 96% of his sperm are of no use at all so this is all information that will help you make the right decisions in moving forward. It is also very helpful to ask for a print out of these results too.
Whilst it’s easy to say, try not to panic as there IS help out there. Talking to someone you trust as you take the first step can be really helpful. Seek support from experienced and knowledgeable medical and/or complementary practitioners is also important as you move forward on your journey.