Why You're Not Getting Pregnant (and What to Do About It)
If you're trying to get pregnant and it's just not working, it probably feels like everyone else around you is glowing with their own baby news. And while reassurances of "at least you have your health and your relationship" and "it'll happen when it's the right time" may be well-intended, we're guessing that they sting. The fertility business is a booming one, with some 7.4 million women in the US using infertility services, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while you may feel alone in your battle, according to the American Society For Reproductive Medicine, even a healthy and fertile 30-year-old woman has just a 20 percent chance of becoming pregnant each month. We promise, you're not the only one having a tough time of it!
Before you diagnose yourself as being a lost cause for a natural conception, read on. The reason you're not pregnant yet may very well be a whole lot simpler than you thought. And even if you do require the assistance of your obstetrician, know that there are plenty of options out there. Relax and happy baby-making!
It's Not You, It's Him
It takes two to make a baby, and while it's, of course, the woman who bears the brunt of the hard part, it could very well be your partner who's preventing your pregnancy. Male infertility is caused by low sperm production, misshapen or immobile sperm, or blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What to Do: If you think that your significant other may be the one with the issue (and there's really no way of knowing unless you've ruled out other possibilities), have him pay a visit to his internist or urologist. Keep in mind that while the emotional impact of not being able to get pregnant is most frequently associated with women, it takes a toll on men, too. If his doctor discovers that he's the one with the problem, be supportive, encouraging, and positive. There are treatments available, and you can get past this.
Stress as a factor in infertility is a vicious cycle. With each month that passes with negative results, the more pressure a would-be mom-to-be is likely to put on herself. Add to that external stressors like work and family issues, plus the tension that trying to conceive can add to a relationship, and it's easy to see how a stress spiral occurs.
What to Do: Relax. Easier said than done, right? But seriously, if you've been talking about a vacation, now's the time to take it. We've heard plenty of stories of women who gave up on trying to get pregnant, decided to adopt, and found themselves expecting as soon as the onus was off them. Focus more on maintaining your physical and emotional health and less on TTC, and you'll be a whole lot more likely to end up with a big, fat positive next month.
It May Be a Real Medical Condition
Polycystic ovary syndrome (which causes irregular menstrual cycles), a lack of healthy eggs, endometriosis (which causes the lining of the uterine cavity to appear in the abdomen), and blocked fallopian tubes are just a few of the medical conditions that can prevent a woman from getting pregnant.
What to Do: Any of these diagnoses may be a setback in your conception time line, but don't despair. Schedule an appointment with your ob-gyn immediately, and you'll come up with a plan of action that you can feel good about.
What to Do: Make an appointment with your ob-gyn and get to the root of the problem. (S)he'll give you your options as to what comes next.
You're Not Understanding Your Cycle
You may have been the best student in the class during eighth-grade sex ed, but fast-forward 20 or so years, and making sense of this whole ovulation thing can feel awfully confusing. You could simply be trying during the wrong time of the month.
What to Do: If you think this may be your problem, you're in luck, because the fix for it couldn't be easier. Purchase an ovulation kit to eliminate the guesswork and mental math.
You're Not Having Enough Sex
Plain and simple, sex makes babies! Once you know when you're ovulating, get down to business, as often as you can.
What to Do: You get it — we know you do.
You're Over- or Underweight
We're certainly not encouraging hopeful moms-to-be to obsess over numbers on the scale, but if your weight falls on the extreme end in either direction — too high or too low, you could be doing yourself a major disservice in the conception department.
What to Do: Preconception is a terrific time to get healthy. If you've been meaning to lose a few pounds, or your compulsive dieting over the years has put you on the dangerously low end of the scale, now's the time to really start taking care of yourself.
Your Smoking Habit Is Killing Your Eggs
We're not going to beat around the bush with this one. If you're trying to conceive and have a smoking habit, do whatever it takes to quit. That nicotine addiction is literally killing your healthy eggs.
What to Do: We think you know!