Navigating Fertility Issues

Have you been struggling with infertility for quite some time? If that’s the case, know that you’re not alone.

Infertility is generally defined by the inability to conceive after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex for women under 35 and six months of unprotected sex for women aged 35 years or older. Unfortunately, according to numerous studies, one in six couples experience fertility issues at some point in their lives.

Yet, infertility is still taboo, and many suffer in silence, navigating fertility issues on their own. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Indeed, the increasing amount of research and medical investment in the field has allowed scientists to better understand fertility issues, and a range of options is now available to couples trying to conceive. Besides, many clinics and consultancies also offer emotional support to help you navigate the journey to parenthood.

If you’re wondering where to start, keep reading as we highlight the emotional and physical impact of fertility issues before discussing what key steps can be taken in order to improve the chances of pregnancy.

1) The Emotional and Physical Impact of Fertility Issues

 

The Emotional Impact

Infertility can have a significant impact on a woman’s emotional and mental health. Indeed, the physical, financial, and emotional burden infertility issues put women and couples through can be challenging and difficult to cope with, leading to depression and anxiety. In fact, research has shown that infertile women and couples often experience a range of emotions from fear, worry, and anxiety to grief and depression. Some also experience guilt, loneliness, jealousy, or hope.

As a result, for many, the journey to parenthood can prove to be a long and treacherous process where anger, frustration, and despair collide, profoundly affecting the psychological and emotional health.

Some of the main contributors to the negative emotional impact include:

  • The emotional toll of each pregnancy announcement. Indeed, pregnancy announcements can significantly impact a woman’s self-esteem and drive them to social isolation.
  • The financial burden can fuel despair and depression.
  • The feeling of not being able to bear a child can profoundly affect women’s mental health, as they feel they’re unable to fulfill their role as women.

Unfortunately, infertility can also impact the couple’s mental health. Indeed, many couples have sex to connect emotionally. Yet, having to time intercourse can turn a lovely moment into a mechanical chore, solely focused on procreation, removing any pleasure, and severing the emotional connections between two individuals. Besides, conversations can become centered around fertility and pregnancy, and the highly stressful situation can drive couples apart over time.

 

The Physical Impact

Infertility issues often generate a high level of stress, and as research has shown, stress can have a significant impact on our bodies.

Besides, infertility treatments such as IVF involve self-injecting synthetic drugs daily for a set period (on average between 9 and 14 days) to stimulate the ovaries and promote the growth of follicles containing eggs. The next step entails ‘’picking up’’ the eggs via a minor medical procedure. The sperm and eggs are then placed in an incubator overnight for fertilization. Embryo transfer occurs 3 to 5 days after fertilization, depending on the number of embryos obtained, the mother’s age, and the clinic policy.

Unfortunately, this medical treatment often leads to bloating, cramping, mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness, and other unpleasant symptoms, impacting your physical well-being.

Steps to Improve your Chances of Pregnancy

Diet and Exercise Routine

Adopting a healthy and balanced diet can help boost your chances of falling pregnant naturally. Indeed, being overweight has been shown to impact fertility negatively, so adopting a healthy diet and achieving a normal BMI is paramount to improving your chances of falling pregnant. Besides, according to research, diets rich in omega 3 fatty acids, B12, or folic acid can help improve your fertility, and so can specific diets such as the Mediterranean diet.  As a result, you should make sure to include plenty of fruit, vegetables, and fish in your diet and limit your intake of processed food.

Numerous studies have also revealed that exercising at least 30 minutes daily could help reduce ovulation disorders. Professionals highly recommend combining strength workouts and moderate cardio exercises such as yoga, running, swimming, or dancing.

Seeking Emotional Support

While not a treatment directly impacting fertility as such, having open discussions with your friends and family or seeking professional support can be enough to help overcome some infertility-related emotional challenges. Indeed, having support from close friends or family who have also experienced difficulties or experienced professionals who can provide advice can also help set you on the road to recovery. It can also give you the extra emotional boost you needed to continue your journey to parenthood.

Tracking Ovulation

If you’ve been trying naturally for a while but haven’t been tracking your ovulation rigorously, you might want to try downloading an ovulation tracking app such as Fertility Friend, Kindara, or OvaCue. Indeed, these apps help predict your fertile window and record key elements such as period dates and sleeping or eating habits, optimizing your chances of falling pregnant.

Ovulation can also be tracked and pinpointed with frequent blood tests to measure the levels of  Oestradiol (E2), Luteinizing hormone (LH), and Progesterone (Prog). This will give you an accurate fertile window optimizing your chances.

Finally, you can also discuss ovulation medication options such as Clomid or Letrozole with your doctor. These drugs are used to treat a range of infertility factors and particularly irregular or absence of ovulation.

Fertility Treatment

Fertility treatments such as IUI or IVF are usually the next recommended step to take if ovulation tracking and changing your diet and exercise routine hasn’t worked out for you.

The main difference between IUI and IVF is that in IUI, the sperm is injected into a woman’s uterus and fertilization takes place internally.  On the other hand, with IVF, eggs are extracted from a woman’s follicles, and fertilization occurs externally in a lab.

Don’t hesitate to seek advice from your doctor or gynecologist to discuss these options further.

We hope this article has shed some light on infertility’s impact on emotional and physical health and has helped you better understand what options are available to try and improve your outcome.

At Baby Mum, we strive to provide emotional support and help mums and women trying to conceive reach their goals. If you need help to achieve your goals, don’t hesitate to get in touch here. Our highly experienced team will be happy to discuss how we can help.

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Have you been struggling with fertility issues and would like some help in your parenthood journey? In this article, we’ll provide some tips to help you improve your chances of success.

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