By: Dr. Unjali Malhotra
I hope you had a chance to read my first post about fertility and the modern woman. The key really is to just know as much as you can and to take the whole process in stride. Getting pregnant may or may not be easy for you – know the facts.
Something to be very aware of is that getting pregnant may be easy or it may be the hardest journey of your life. It may simply involve celebration or it may require your relationship to be put through a rigorous test.
There are a few things I hear a lot that I would like to clarify for people.
First if you are in a relationship and you are aging, please have an open and frank conversation about the impact of age on your eggs. Men and women alike are unfortunately being inaccurately informed that it is easy to get pregnant after the age of 37. Yes, you may have a friend or heard of a celebrity that had no trouble at all, but that is not the norm. I hate to sound like a grandmother, but when it comes to fertility, none of us are getting any younger – especially our eggs.. and by the way nor are his sperm!
If you are in the situation where you need to finish school, get your life on track and/ or met your partner later in life, then there are some things to be aware of that may assist your fertility journey.
- Be your best self. Stress, smoking, lack of exercise, and weight gain can impact your general health, your menstrual cycle and your gynecological health.
- Take your vitamins! Coq10 is a supplement that is gaining a lot of attention in the world of reproductive medicine. Studies show that taking 600mg daily can be beneficial to the health of eggs and sperm.
- Know your body, especially your periods: If you are able, start tracking your periods 6 months prior to wanting a pregnancy or start when you are ready to try to conceive. Your physician will really appreciate this information and you will have the ability to learn a great deal about the optimal time to get pregnant. One thing that become useful when you do know your cycles is an ovulation predictor kit. This is a test that can be done during your cycle to alert you to when to put on the sexy lingere and dim the lights!
- Get an updated sexual health exam including a pap and STI swabs. STIs are very common and can lead to infertility which seems to be a unknown fact. Pleas note that over 11 000 cases of chlamydia were found in BC in 2011. Men and women may not have symptoms but if left untreated it can cause infertility and /or pelvic pain in some women. Please get tested routinely.
- Ladies who are on their own may also consider egg freezing – yes it is real! Or an anonymous partner. Speak to your health care provider about a referral to a fertility specialist to discuss this further.
Remember, knowledge is power. Consult your health care provider more than you do Google and take advantage of the wealth of information available to you through reliable resources.
Dr. Unjali Malhotra is a Family Physician with extensive training and expertise in Women’s Health and University program development and improvement in Canada. She is the former Medical Director of Options for Sexual Health (Planned Parenthood). She is the creator and Program Director of a Women’s Health Residency training program for family practice residents at UBC and is the founder of the provincial HPV program through Options for Sexual Health.
References: Fluker, M. (2008) Ovarian Reserve and Age. [report] Vancouver: pdf available online; Casper, R. (2013) the aging oocyte – can mitochondrial function be improved?. Fertil Steril, 99 (1), p.18 – 22.; Guilbert M, et al. (2013) BCCDC [online] Available at: http://www.bccdc.ca/NR/rdonlyres/2035512C-DBEC-495B-A332-C410EE9520C7/0/CPS_Report_STI_HIV_2010_annual_report_FINAL_20111122.pdf [Accessed: 10 Mar 2013].