What to do if you don’t get pregnant?

What to do if you don’t get pregnant?

Most women succeed in getting pregnant within a year. However, if you’re having trouble, there are a number of things you can do to help you relax and improve your chances of conceiving. We’ve summarised a few tips below.

Recommended reading:

  • “Conquering Infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body Guide to Enhancing Fertility and Coping With Infertility” by Alice D. Domar and Alice Lesch Kelly, Penguin Books 2004
  • “The Fertility Diet: Groundbreaking Research Reveals Natural Ways to Boost Ovulation and Improve Your Chances of Getting Pregnant” by Jorge Chavarro, Walter Willett and Patrick Skerrett, McGraw-Hill 2007

Attitude: Having children essentially means being prepared to compromise. Children also impact on social relationships, working life and your finances. Not everyone wants to have children, but some people may feel under pressure from society or friends and family to do so. A decision should be made based on your attitude towards children, child-parent relationships and family as a whole. And also how you think you’d fare as parents. These attitudes/ideas can change over time or during the course of a relationship. 

Doctor/fertility clinic: If you have the feeling that something is wrong, contact your gynaecologist or a fertility clinic. You can download addresses of fertility clinics here.

Medical assistance: It can sometimes take a while to get pregnant – even for a perfectly healthy couple. There is a risk today that couples who want to have a baby are advised too quickly to undergo invasive medical treatments to encourage pregnancy.  Ultimately the decision lies with the couple. In the first instance, patience and relaxation is recommended. If you do decide medical assistance is necessary, some preliminary information is given below.

How long to wait before considering medical assistance: This is a matter of personal choice and best discussed with your doctor.  Almost all men and women can suffer from temporary infertility (also reduced fertility or subfertility) as a result of life events, e.g. personal crises and/or radical changes. Fertility is a complex issue involving various interrelated physical, emotional and social factors.

Medical tests: The following list outlines some basic tests available. If these tests don’t establish why you’re failing to conceive, other diagnostic tests are available which are more complex and expensive but may prove worthwhile. Talk to your doctor and also seek a second medical opinion.

  • Semen analysis for your partner
  • External examination of your partner (e.g. varicose veins on testicles)
  • Clarify whether your ovulation is regular
  • After multiple miscarriages or premature births: Was the expelled tissue examined for chromosomal damage? Did the patient receive genetic counselling?
  • If ovulation is regular: Is there any indication of hormonal imbalances (corpus luteum weakness, prolactin levels)?
  • If no hormonal imbalances: Examination of the cervix; observation and documentation of the cervical mucus throughout a cycle
  • If ovulation is irregular: Search for indications of polycystic ovaries (no menstruation, no ovulation, small cysts), hysteroscopy (myoma, polyps, growths, deformations), laparoscopy (permeability of the fallopian tubes, shape and size of the womb, ovaries and fallopian tubes), falloposcopy (permeability of the fallopian tubes)
  • Examination of rhesus factors of both partners
  • Examination of blood values for coagulation disorder
  • Test for a thyroid disorder using thyroid hormones
  • Examination of glucose metabolism /  test for diabetes
  • Search for autoimmune disease or immune disorder

Information on fertility treatment: A free brochure on conventional medical fertility treatments: “Der unerfüllte Kinderwunsch – wie gehen wir damit um” (The options available if you’re having trouble conceiving; only available in German) can be ordered here.

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