Childbirth is often referred to as a miracle and when you think about how many variables have to line up at the right time, it is. Despite this, people often take for granted just how difficult it is for some people to get pregnant in the first place. No matter how much their heart aches to bring a little one into the world, some individuals and couples simply cannot conceive without help from a doctor.
Of course there are a lot of questions that run through one’s mind before taking that step, the big one question being, how long should one try to get pregnant before seeing a specialist? Every situation is different, but in general the following topics are useful in determining if you should speak to a doctor sooner rather than later.
If you’re under 35 wait 1 year
It is recommended that patients in their 20s and 30s try to conceive for 12 months before making an appointment with a fertility doctor. Conception is a delicate dance of many factors, so it’s not a guarantee even if you’re timing things correctly.
If you’re over 35 wait 6 months
The same rule as above applies here in the sense that it may take a full year of trying to become pregnant. However, because a woman moves into “advanced maternal age” after 35, it is recommended that couples only wait 6 months. And yes, 35 does seem young, but over time a woman’s egg supply decreases and there is a significant drop once a woman enters her late 30s.
If you’re over 40 don’t wait
By this point, a woman’s eggs have not only dropped in quantity, but also in quality. The chances of conceiving are fewer and the risk for miscarriage is greater. Women in their 40s are more likely to need fertility treatments, so it is worth it to talk to a fertility doctor right away.
If you have had multiple miscarriages don’t wait
If you have had a couple of positive pregnancy tests but no baby it is a good idea to have a doctor check for problems with the uterus, thyroid and blood clotting. Miscarriage is common, but repeated miscarriages are not. And while this can certainly take a toll on one’s emotional state, it is not necessarily related to serious fertility problems.
If you have a high or low BMI don’t wait
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, a weight issue may be to blame. Being considerably overweight or underweight will hinder your chances of conceiving naturally. A healthy adult Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 18.5 and 24.9. Women who are overweight can experience ovulatory dysfunction and irregular menstrual cycles. The same goes for women who are underweight. When a woman’s body is deprived of nutrition, it can cause ovulation infrequency or a stop in ovulation altogether.
If you are having weird symptoms don’t wait
An absence of periods, irregular cycles or pelvic pain could be an indication that you have an undiagnosed fertility issue.
If you or your partner suffer from complicated or chronic medical conditions don’t wait
If you or your partner have a history of long-standing health problems it best to see a doctor to discuss one’s chance of pregnancy as well as to plan for a safe pregnancy. Diabetes, hypertension and cancer are three of the primary conditions that can impair sperm production and ovarian function. Both males and females can experience similarly problematic issues when it comes to fertility. Cancer survivors should also have a fertility consultation because chemotherapy can affect sperm production and egg supply.
While it’s easy to become impatient if you don’t get pregnant right away, it’s also important you don’t delay getting timely help. Talk to your doctor is you have any questions.