Whether you know you want to start a family right away or in the next few years, it’s important to know the basics of your fertility as well as options to explore should you have any health concerns either in your family history or along your trying to conceive journey. There are also ways women looking to get pregnant can start getting their body “pregnancy ready”.
Knowing Your Healthy is a Smart First Step for Women Looking to Get Pregnant
Women looking to get pregnant should consider getting a physical. Are your vaccinations up to date? How is your overall health? Do you smoke? Are you a healthy weight? Do you have any medical conditions that need to be monitored or under control such as diabetes or asthma before getting pregnant? These are all things to review with your doctor. Women looking to get pregnant should also ask their doctor to look for any conditions or potential issues that could impact their chances of either conceiving or carrying a child to term. This might include hepatitis, anemia, high blood pressure or HIV. You may also want to ask about prenatal vitamins, including when to start taking them and if there’s any in particular your doctor recommends.
What Is Your Family History?
Even if you don’t have any known fertility issues and are perfectly healthy, if you have an inherited disease in your family history, you may want to speak to a reproductive endocrinologist about a test called preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGT-M, formerly called PGD). This includes conditions like cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) or sickle cell to name a few. PGT-M can test an embryo for such conditions and helps your doctor to determine which embryo is the healthiest which can increase your chance of having a baby born free of a genetic disease.
The Best Time to Conceive
For women looking to get pregnant, knowing when you’re ovulating is key. Ovulation is when your body releases an egg from your ovary. The egg is viable and ready to be fertilized for approximately 12 to 24 hours. Sperm can live in the female body for three to five days so ideally, knowing when you’re ovulating and having sexual relations around that time to ensure sperm is there waiting to fertilize the egg will maximize your chances of conception. You can use over the counter ovulation prediction kits or take your basal body temperature but in general, most healthy couples are able to conceive within one year of trying.
When to Talk to a Doctor
Women looking to get pregnant who are younger than 35 years old, and are in good health typically conceive within a year. If you are 35 years old or older, and haven’t conceived within six months, you should consider getting a fertility consultation. While no one dreams of needing fertility treatment to have a family, it should be a comfort to know that assisted reproductive technology has helped an estimated 8 million babies born from IVF to date. Should you need it, family building options like insemination, IVF or even medical advancements such as the ERA test, which can assist in avoiding implantation failure by figuring out the best day to transfer your embryo, are available to help increase your chances of pregnancy.
Bottom line, women looking to get pregnant can rest assured that whether you conceive on your own or need a doctor’s help, there are many options to support and guide you along the way.