What women should know about baby-birth
What you need to know about getting pregnant. Even if you're not
planning on getting pregnant any time soon, you might want to consider
learning a little more about science of baby-making. New research shows
that a startling number of reproductive-age women still need to be
clued-in about the basics of reproductive health. A study published in
the January 27 issue of Fertility and Sterility found that about 50
percent of reproductive-age women had never discussed their reproductive
health with a medical provider and about 30 percent visited their
reproductive health provider less than once a year or never.
The research includes the following major findings about women's
understanding of fertility and pregnancy:
- Forty percent of the reproductive-age women surveyed expressed
concern about their ability to conceive.
- Half were unaware that multivitamins with folic acid are
recommended to reproductive-age women to prevent birth defects.
- More than 25 percent were unaware of the adverse implications of
sexually transmitted infections, obesity, smoking, or irregular menses
- One-fifth were unaware of the adverse effects of ageing on
reproductive success, including increased miscarriage rates, chromosomal
abnormalities, and increased length of time to achieve conception.
- Half of respondents believe that having sex more than once a day
will increase chances of conception.
- More than one-third of women believed that specific sexual
positions can increase chances of conception.
-Only 10 percent of women were aware that sexual interaction should
happen before ovulation, not after, to improve chances of conception.
As more women delay pregnancy until later in life, it's important to
get the facts early on so your body is ready for baby when you finally
do decide you want one. "Preparing yourself now helps you conceive
faster, have a healthier pregnancy and an easier delivery, and makes you
a healthier person overall," says Sheryl Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn at Saint
John's Health Center.
"The most important thing you can do for both yourself and any future
children is to be your healthiest self now." So if you think you want to
have a child at some point-whether in nine months or in 10 years-our
experts have some essential tips to help you prime your bod for baby.
If you want a baby...
Schedule pre-baby gyno appointment. When you're pregnant, not only
will you grow an entire human being inside of you, but you'll also
double your blood volume, sprout an extra organ, and have your hormones
sky-rocket to the highest levels they will ever be in your lifetime.
That takes a lot of preparation, both physically and mentally. Talk
with your doc about your medical history, in case you need certain
genetic or blood tests before trying to conceive. You should also talk
about any medications you may be taking, such as anti-depressants, since
some are not safe to take during pregnancy and you need to wean off them
"It's so important to really know and understand your own menstrual
cycle," Ross says. You should learn how to tell when you're ovulating
based on cervical mucous, body temperature, and timing; the length of
your cycle; and what a "normal" cycle feels like to you. She recommends
the Maybe Baby app to help you keep track of all those stats.
"Cultivate a network of other mothers during pregnancy and beyond for
support, babysitting, and friendship," says Danine Fruge, M.D., women's
health expert and associate medical director.
Emerging research suggests a man's health can affect the quality of
his sperm and the health of his child. "He needs to eat healthy and give
up smoking, especially weed," Ross says, adding that marijuana affects
both the motility and quality of a man's sperm.
Many women start pregnancy with insulin resistance (pre-diabetes) and
then develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy.
This can cause delivery complications, a higher risk of emergency
delivery and C-sections, prolonged hospitalization, and a higher risk of
your child developing diabetes and even heart disease at a young age.
So if your blood tests come back showing high levels of blood
glucose, if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes or
pre-diabetes, or if gestational diabetes runs in your family, talk to
your doctor about how to safely get it under control.
If you're trying to get pregnant and it doesn't happen right away,
it's easy to get stressed out...which may further hinder your odds of
getting knocked up.
In a 2011 study published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility,
researchers found that when a woman is more stressed, her likelihood to
conceive that month is "significantly reduced."
But when women reduced stress in their lives, their fertility
returned to normal levels expected for their age.
"True infertility is relatively rare, only affecting about 10 percent
of women," Ross says.
"Most women take between three and six months to get pregnant."
But if you've reduced your stress and have been trying for more than
six months with no luck, Ross says to check in with your doctor.
- Healthy Living