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Trying to get pregnant can go either ways for most couples that is it can be a breeze, or it can be a difficult process that ends up with lots of fertility clinic visits. While in some cases, the reasons for not being able to conceive may come down to male infertility, there are many cases where the reason may be female infertility too. In many other cases, both male and female infertility may be the cause.
Let us discuss female infertility in more details here.
When can it be called Infertility?
When a couple is not being able to conceive even after trying for a period of over a year, then a case can be made in favour of infertility. Infertility can result from females in at least one third of the cases, as per various medical studies. While the actual cause may be difficult to diagnose, there are many available treatments that one can use in order to fix the underlying issues.
When to Start Worrying?
Female infertility comes with many symptoms, while the main symptom may be the inability to conceive, the other symptoms include excessively long menstrual cycles that show signs of slowing down only after 35 days or so, or even cycles that are too short where they appear within 21 days. Irregular and absent periods can point at the lack of ovulation which is the main sign of infertility. Other than that, there are no outward signs of infertility as such apart from pelvic pain and cramping or heavy bleeding during periods. If you are 30 years of age, or younger, then you may want to see a doctor regarding irregular and absent periods, or the lack of conception even after trying for a year. Also, if you are between 35 and 40 years of age, you can discuss the inability to conceive with your doctor, after efforts for six months. If you have been trying to conceive and you are over 40 years of age, then the doctor will put you through tests on an immediate basis.
The Requirements for Conception?
In order to conceive, you will need to ovulate on a normal basis and have regular menstrual cycles as well as intercourse. Also, your fallopian tubes and uterus must be in normal working condition without any infections and other conditions.
There may be many causes for female infertility including ovarian faults like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothalamic dysfunction, premature ovarian insufficiency and excessive prolactin in the ovaries. Also, pelvic inflammation disorders that lead to damage of the fallopian tubes and other uterus related issues like endometriosis can lead to female infertility.
Becoming a mother is a special feeling. This can be best explained by only those women who start feeling their babies inside them from the very early stage of pregnancy. These nine months, for a mother to be would need extra care and she has to take precaution of each and every type. In the first trimester or the first three months of your pregnancy detection, you need to take certain precautions. Here are some of the ways in which you can make yourself and your baby secure during the first three months of your pregnancy.
- Double check your pregnancy: There have been many cases of false pregnancies during this time. It is thus best to double check that you are really pregnant so as to avoid a heart break later on. Most home tests are accurate but if you are still unsure, you might want to wait another week after taking your first test and then take a second one. Alternately, you can also go and visit a doctor and take their advice to confirm that you really are pregnant.
- Prenatal vitamin: Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, it is time for you to start taking your prenatal vitamins. These vitamins have enough folic acid which is required by the to-be mother to conceive. These vitamins also help in the development of the baby and protect it from developing any birth defects.
- Arrange for a health insurance: Medical bills can be very costly in contemporary times. Thus, if you are pregnant then it is best to start looking for health insurance schemes which cover pregnancy and delivery cost. This procedure might take sometime to finish and thus it is best to start the process in your first trimester.
- Choose a doctor: If you already know a doctor who specialises in delivery and pregnancy then you need not worry. But in case you do not have enough information then it is time you start looking for an experienced doctor. You can consult your friends and family members and choose a doctor whom you find appropriate for you. You should also consult a doctor by the time you are two months pregnant in order to get the necessary vaccines and other advice.
- Quit bad habits: Smoking, drinking and too much of coffee would damage the development of your child. Thus, you must try and quit all of them to deliver a healthy baby.
Thus, these are the five most important precautions that you need to take in your first trimester in order to ensure a healthy delivery ahead.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of the popular Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for treating infertility and helping couples to conceive.
But lack of understanding about the IVF treatment has given rise to a number of myths such as:
Myth 1: IVF never fails but is always successful
The success of the procedure depends on a number of factors such as quality and quantity of embryos and age. It is said that chances of conception decreases with age, with women above 40 reporting reduced fertility potential as well as success rate. On the other hand, women below the age of 35 have about 41% chance of getting pregnant.
Myth 2: IVF increases your fertility levels
Instead of making you more fertile, IVF stops your natural fertility cycle. This is usually done through hormones that are taken at the beginning of the process. The aim of such an action is to essentially put an end to your natural fertility process and create in its place an artificial cycle.
Myth 3: It causes you to have triplets or twins
No, it's not necessary for multiple births to take place if you opt for IVF. You can reduce the prospect of having twins or triplets by cutting down on the number of embryos that get inserted into the uterus.
Myth 4: IVF hormone injections make you prone to uncontrollable emotions.
In actuality, IVF hormone injections don't cause you to suffer from out of control emotions but make you happier. This is because they come packed with the female hormone oestrogen, which produce endorphins (brain chemicals) that give you a sense of wellbeing. The wave of emotions that you end up experiencing is a result of the stress and anxiety surrounding the success of a cycle.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
There are three main types of eating disorders, these are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating. Anorexia nervosa is an exaggerated fear of gaining weight all the way to the point when the patient becomes abnormally thin. Bulimia nervosa is eating too much and then vomiting it out on a regular basis. Binge eating is when an individual eats an excessive amount of food in one go. All three types of eating disorders have adverse effects on pregnancy.
Here is how eating disorders affect pregnancies:
1. Unplanned pregnancies: Women with eating disorders are much more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy. This is true both for women who had eating disorders in the past as well as women who have eating disorders at the moment. In a study by University College London and King's College London consisting of 11000 women showed, only 28% of women reported that they had an unplanned pregnancy without suffering from any eating disorder as compared to the 41% who did have an eating disorder at some point in their life. The reason for this is that women tend to think that they do not need contraceptives due to an irregular menstrual cycle, which is one of the consequences of eating disorders during pregnancy.
2. Happiness about their pregnancy: The same survey of 11000 women conducted by University College London and King's College London reported that 71% of women were happy about their pregnancies. However, the number would have been a lot higher if there were fewer women with eating disorders. It has been said that 10% of women were unhappy to discover they were pregnant, if they had an eating disorder in the past as compared to 4% who never had an eating disorder.
3. Consider pregnancy a 'personal sacrifice': It has also been said that women who have had or have eating disorders during or before their pregnancy tend to consider pregnancy as a 'personal sacrifice' much more often than women who have no history or eating disorders.
Even though mostly, eating disorders affect pregnant women mentally rather than physically, it is crucial that women try to fix this problem before their pregnancy so they actually can enjoy having a baby. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Your ovulation cycle is largely ignored until you decide to have a baby. Suddenly, the ovulation cycle becomes more than just a countdown to your next period. When you're trying to get pregnant, you need to identify when you're ovulating to calculate the time available to you to conceive a child. Ovulation occurs mid cycle, every month for most women. It is usually accompanied by a number of symptoms. Some of these are:
Some women may experience an abdominal pain when they ovulate. This can range from a mild sensation to a constant pain. The latter is not normal and may be caused by ovarian cysts or scarring by a previous surgery.
Higher Basal body temperature
Basal body temperature is the lowest temperature recorded in the body when it is at rest. At the time of ovulation, this temperature normally increases as a result of the release of progesterone. To use this method to determine ovulation, you will need a basal thermometer. Take your temperature every morning as soon as you wake up and record it in a chart to spot temperature changes. Basal body temperature can also be used to determine if recent intercourse has resulted in a pregnancy or not. If the basal temperature remains elevated for 18 days after intercourse, it is safe to say that you are pregnant.
The mucus released by the vagina changes according to the stage of the ovulation cycle. This is caused by the fluctuations of hormone levels. At the time of ovulation, cervical mucus is clear, slippery and highly elastic. This can be compared to a raw egg white in colour and consistency. After ovulation, this mucus will turn stickier and denser.
Your cervix itself will shift at the time of ovulation. Some women can easily feel this change while it may take a little time for others to identify it. The cervix is usually positioned low and feels hard and closed. However, just before ovulation, it will usually open up and soften a little as well as pull back. Cervical position also needs to be regularly charted to determine when the position changes.
Spotting mid cycle is not always a sign of an early period. It may also signal ovulation. This is usually a result of the sudden drop in estrogen that precedes ovulation. Since the progesterone levels are not high at this time, the lining of the uterus may leak a little blood.
Other signs of ovulation include:
- Breast tenderness
- Heightened sense of smell, taste etc
- Increased libido
- Increased energy levels and
- Water retention
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease results from the disorder more commonly known as PCOS or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. A syndrome is starkly different from a disease, for the former entails a set of symptoms usually occurring in concurrence, while the latter means a particular biological condition with an identifiable reason behind it. A syndrome solicits your concern and forethought in order to eliminate or at least control the chances of an underlying disease. Trigger to a syndrome is undetectable and hence fighting it efficiently is fairly problematic. It is rare to find adolescent girls without hormonal problems.
Hormonal imbalances are just too common to be a novel topic any further. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is faced due to imbalances in hormone secretions. It refers to the development of multiple cysts in your ovary. This condition usually affects women falling within the age group of 15 to 50. Eight among ten women, at a given point of time, are reported with PCOS. Symptoms of PCOS, when neglected, can lead to Polycystic Ovarian Disease. If you have been facing similar heath issues, it is advisable to undergo a check- up and get diagnosed at the earliest possible.
Symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Disease
- A receding hairline or increased hair fall can lead to thinning of scalp hair. Such a sign should not be taken lightly as it could be indicative of Polycystic Ovarian Disease.
- Extremely painful menstruation, irregular periods or prolonged periods with heavy bleeding might be reason enough for worrying.
- Development of acne could be another sign. Acne is common to girls attaining puberty but an unprecedented growth should be a matter of concern.
- Patchy skin, pigmentation and discoloration of the skin are the other symptoms.
- PCOS may also result in continual depression and anxiety.
- Obesity is the most commonly noticed symptom. People suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Disease have lower metabolism and thus reducing weight is an ordeal.
- Many women tend to grow thick facial hair or chest hair. Such a condition discourages the person to go out in public. It leads to social ostracizing which further bears severe effects on one's mental health.
- PCOS mostly affects women belonging to the childbearing age. As a result of this syndrome, females stop ovulating. Conception becomes extremely difficult as the syndrome may lead to infertility.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease can result in Type 2 diabetes or even cardiovascular problems. If not diagnosed and treated at an early stage, it might lead to ovarian cancer. There is hardly any preventive measure to counter the chances of such a syndrome but certain alterations in your diet under the guidance of a dietician and regular exercising can improve your health.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Clotting of blood is important for us in case of an injury or wound. It prevents the blood to ooze out of the body from any opening. Our blood releases cells called blood platelets, which initiate the process of clotting. However, the clotting of blood inside the veins is not a good thing to happen. This condition is called thrombosis. Moreover, clotting during pregnancy is a serious condition that poses threat to the health of both the mother and the child. In case of pregnant women, clotting of blood starts in the deep veins. These veins are usually the ones in the legs or the pelvic region. This condition is termed as deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Why there is a clot during pregnancy?
Blood can clot during pregnancy due to multiple reasons. Clotting occurs to prevent too much loss of blood at the time of labour.
How will you know that it’s DVT?
DVT comes along with certain symptoms. Some of these have been listed below:
- The pregnant woman may notice tenderness or swelling in one of her legs. She might feel the pain in one of the legs.
- The skin colour of the woman starts reflecting changes. The skin might turn a little reddish.
- The patient’s skin will be warmer at the site of clot.
- The veins in the affected region might look dilated or larger in size.
What are the dangers linked to this clotting?
Whatever may be the reason, clotting during pregnancy is always attached to some dangerous consequences. If the blood clot is left unattended and untreated for long, it may have some serious consequence. The clot may start shifting from your legs to one or both of your lungs. This condition is called pulmonary embolism (PE). It is acute condition that can cause death of the patient as well. The symptoms of PE are as follows:
- The patient suffers from sudden breathlessness.
- The patient may feel that there is some tightness around the chest.
- The patient may find blood in her cough.
- The patient may show signs of collapse.
Clotting of blood can also prove detrimental to the baby’s health and growth. The blood is supplied through placenta to the baby and a clot in the mother’s vein can decrease the amount of blood supplied to the baby. Sometimes, the blood supply to placenta might be entirely snapped, leading to the death of the child inside the womb. However, blood clotting at the time of pregnancy happens to only a few women. It has been found that one or two in thousand die due to clotting of blood during pregnancy.
So you have just found out that you are pregnant and you and your partner are over the moon about it! While congratulations are in order, so are a host of tips which will help you settle into the pregnancy. It is important to remember that the first trimester of your pregnancy is a crucial phase where you may not change that much physically, but will be prone to many emotional changes. It is also a phase where you will make way for the changes that will inevitably come in the next two trimesters and for a long time after delivery of the baby too. Read on to unravel our first trimester guide.
- Pregnancy Test: You must ensure that you know you are pregnant by monitoring your menstrual cycles closely so that even one missed period points at the possibility of pregnancy. This test can be a home based kit available at the chemists' or can even be conducted with a lab test based on a urine sample. Despite the results that you may get on a home pregnancy test, it is best to get a professional opinion as well.
- Finding the Right Doctor: In this phase of your pregnancy itself, it is imperative to home in on a gynaecologist who will put you ease. Take care to pick someone who may be recommended by family and friends. Have a talk with the doctor a few times to see how well he or she engages you as a patient and if you are suitably convinced with the sessions and appointments.
- Activity: While heavy activities may not be recommended by all doctors as the foetus needs to latch on, one can indulge in plenty of walks and a normal routine as well. Ensure that your pregnancy is a normal one and ask your doctor about any precautions that you may need to take with the progressing trimesters. Also, find ways to deal with any morning sickness with the help of the doctor.
- Supplements: In this crucial phase, ensure that your doctor gives you plenty of folic acid supplements that you must ingest on a regular basis. This will keep any risk of neural tube birth defects at bay.
- Other Medication: Find out more about over the counter drugs or any medication that you may have been taking as this may have to be stopped or adjusted for the pregnancy. The doctor should be able to guide you on this aspect too.
The other activities during the first trimester include taking pre natal appointments and choosing and interacting with your caregiver who will also be a support after you have had the baby. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Recurrent pregnancy loss refers to the situation when three consecutive pregnancy loss takes place. A pregnancy loss is a clinically defined pregnancy which ends before twenty weeks.
Causes of recurrent pregnancy loss
- Major cases of pregnancy loss occur due to genetic abnormalities and chromosomal abnormalities. The abnormality may occur from the sperm, egg or the early developed embryo.
- Recurrent pregnancy loss may occur in a woman due to ascending maternal age. This happens because of poor quality of the egg, which further leads to chromosomal abnormalities. In some cases, the pregnant mother or the father can have some gene irregularities. In such cases, the would-be-born infant is affected, and this causes pregnancy loss or miscarriage.
- Uterus abnormalities also lead to recurrent pregnancy loss. This may happen because of poor supply of blood to the uterus. Abnormalities in the uterus are in-born in some women and in others these may develop over time.
- Women having a poor immune system are likely to suffer pregnancy loss. Abnormalities in hormone secretion like thyroid or diabetes may also cause pregnancy loss in women.
- If a woman suffers from abnormalities in blood clotting, the chances of miscarriage are enhanced.
Testing for recurrent pregnancy loss
Several tests and examinations should be carried out for detection of pregnancy loss.
- Karyotype analysis of the woman and her male partner has to be conducted. Karyotype refers to the genetic or chromosomal constituents of an individual and this test is carried out to detect abnormalities in genes and chromosomes of the parents, which cause miscarriage when passed on to the developing infant.
- Another test includes the evaluation of the uterus and the uterine cavity. This is done by ultrasound, saline ultrasound, MRI, hysterosalpingogram X –ray or by hysteroscopy. These tests help to get information on the uterus shape, about fibroid presence, detect abnormalities within the uterus and observe the opening and closing of the tubes. Tests to detect the functioning of hormones are also carried out.
The treatment for women with recurrent pregnancy loss depends upon the underlying causes of the pregnancy loss.
- In case of patients with karyotypic abnormalities, genetic counselling is recommended, where a specialist is consulted to know about chromosomal abnormalities.
- Prenatal genetic studies are carried out by some couples to know about the offspring’s genetic make-up. This is done with chorionic villus sampling or with amniocentesis. A process known as in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be carried out.
- In case of uterine abnormalities, a surgery may be performed and medications for reducing blood clot are used if antiphospolipid syndrome is detected.
Recurrent pregnancy loss may happen due to various reasons and proper tests, and treatment procedures should be carried out for curing pregnancy loss. This phenomenon affects a woman and her partner deeply. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a gynaecologist.
IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and surrogacy are alternative methods of having a baby and can be resorted to when a couple cannot conceive the natural way. There are three things you must keep in mind before making a choice between IVF or surrogacy:
Surrogacy is opted for when the woman is unable to conceive by natural means and when there's no possibility of her getting pregnant whatsoever. Surrogacy can be of two types- full surrogacy and partial surrogacy. On the other hand, IVF works towards the treatment of infertility in one or both the partners, enabling the woman partner to conceive the child. IVF involves the fertilisation of a woman's eggs by the sperm of the intended father in a laboratory dish. The developed embryo (or fertilised egg) is then implanted in the woman's uterus.
Risks of surrogacy include multiple births, ectopic pregnancy (implantation of the fertilised egg in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, leading to miscarriage) and birth defects in the child, to name a few. As for risks associated with IVF, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (swollen and painful ovaries), multiple births, ectopic pregnancy and stress can take place if IVF is opted for.
Surrogacy requires the fulfilment of complex legal processes, such as determining eligibility, matching profiles of surrogates with intended parents, finding of a potential surrogate and more, which require proper legal counselling. Besides the cost of surrogacy in India is higher than IVF.
IVF does not involve any such processes and is easier to carry out. The low cost of IVF in comparison to surrogacy makes it a much more viable option. Based on these factors, you can make the choice of a procedure that is best suited for you. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.