Difficulties conceiving and pregnancy-related problems are common. In this you’ll get a broad overview of these topics and some sources of additional information, but speak to your gynaecologist-if you’re currently pregnant-if you need further help and advice.
Finding out about fertility problems
If you’ve been trying for a baby for a year or so and you haven’t been able to conceive, you’re not alone. For a woman to take a year or so to conceive is quite normal, but sometimes an underlying physical cause – in the man or the woman – can make conceiving more difficult, and in rare cases impossible. Lots of reasons may be responsible, and here is an overview of the common ones.
Consider whether any of these causes of failure to conceive may apply to you:
- Blocked Tubes: If you’ve ever suffered from a pelvic infection (such as infection of your fallopian tubes, which is called salpingitis), your tubes may be blocked, impeding an egg from travelling from your ovaries to your womb. Sometimes, a previous ectopic pregnancy outside your womb or a termination of pregnancy may also play a role. See your infertility specialist for further assessment and to discuss the management options.
- Hormone problems: Irregular or infrequent periods suggest that you may suffer from a hormone imbalance, which may affect your fertility. A condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, is the most common hormone disorder affecting women in their reproductive years and often presents with fertility problems. Visit your infertility specialist for advice if you have PCOS and are having a hard time conceiving.
- Long-term illness: Some chronic illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid gland disorders or chronic infections can affect your fertility. See your infertility specialist for further advice if you suffer from any of these illnesses and you’re trying without success for a baby.
- Stress: Sometimes, couples can get into a real rut about trying for a baby. Instead of enjoying sex, intercourse may become a matter of routine when sex is dictated by the diary rather than because you both feel in the mood. Try to take your time even if your reason for having sex is for you to become pregnant.
Generally, if you’ve been pregnant in the past and particularly when you’ve had one or more babies, the chances of any medical causes are less compared to when you’ve never been pregnant, although you may still want to get checked out by your infertility specialist