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Increasing the odds of pregnancy

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Getting pregnant may be easy, but some couples find it hard to conceive for various reasons, such as an insufficient sperm count. So, when Nature needs a boost, a little push from you and your partner can go a long way
to help.
In general, it’s safe to assume that the best sex position is the one that helps the sperm to meet the egg in the shortest possible time, so a good tip is to avoid positions that poorly expose the cervix to male sperm and those that defy gravity, such as sex while standing up, sitting down or with the woman on top.
Even when the most optimum position is used to ensure that more sperm reaches the egg, conception is extremely complex. An egg that is fertilized in a laboratory still often doesn’t result in a baby when it is placed back in the uterus.
There are many variables that are as yet unidentified. Around 18 per cent of couples in the EU have difficulties in getting pregnant, and they could fall into one of three categories: primary infertility (infertility without a previous pregnancy), secondary infertility (infertility after conceiving) and sterility.
The causes range from using a non-productive position during sex to
one of the partners being sterile. Here are some of the more common reasons why you may not yet be conceiving if you have been trying for more than a year:
u ovarian cysts
u fibroids
u endometriosis
u weight gain
u blocked fallopian tubes
u anovulation (no eggs are produced).
Also, if your body is not in optimum health, or is overloaded with toxins or lacking in nutrients, its ability to reproduce may be dramatically affected.
The average number of months of ‘trying’ before conceiving gets longer as we age. For those in their early 20s, it is roughly four to five months; for those in their late 20s, it’s up to seven months. By the time you reach your early 30s, it can take up to ten months, and it can stretch to a year of trying for women in their late 30s.
Ovulation is supposed to take place on day 14 of the 28-day cycle, so the best time for sex is on days 12-14, as sperm can live for around three days. However, as many women don’t have the textbook 28-day cycle, it’s best to find out when ovulation actually occurs in your particular case. There are various ovulation charts for this available online.
In my clinical experience, when ovulation falls late in the cycle (day 20 or later), the chances of becoming pregnant are reduced due to poor egg quality and because the quality of the uterine lining may no longer be ideal for egg implantation. However, pregnancy is still possible with the help of significant changes to your diet and exercise programme, and the appropriate supplements to help balance hormones and regulate your cycle.
Fertile-quality cervical mucus is clear and viscous, rather like raw egg white. In addition, get into the habit of drinking
at least six tumblers of water every day to increase your cervical fluid volume, which can help sperm to complete their journey. Vitamin C (in small doses only) improves the quality of cervical fluid (whereas large doses have the opposite effect).
As for male fertility issues, taking H2-receptor antagonists (such as Zantac) for stomach problems can have a harmful effect on sperm production. Other medi-cations have similar effects, so discuss this with your medical practitioner. Good sperm also need adequate zinc levels, so have this checked out, too. What’s more, ejaculation should take place at least six times a month to avoid accumulating tired, old, sluggish sperm.
To be on the safe side, both of you should avoid caffeinated drinks, although the published clinical studies have shown mixed results.
One final word of advice on diet: in the two weeks that intervene between your period failing to turn up and conception, the fetus will have been exposed to every-thing you’ve eaten, including fish that may be high in mercury, such as grouper, mackerel, marlin, skate, swordfish, tuna and snapper. However, do eat other types of fish, as it’s an important part of a healthy diet-full of protein, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids.

Harald Gaier


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