Posts Tagged ‘menstrual cycle’

When You’re Still Not Pregnant

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

When You're Still Not PregnantMany women think they can pinpoint exactly when they will get pregnant. They plan their futures and think by this age or this month I will be expecting my first child. Sadly, this isn’t true for all of us. According to the CDC, 6 percent of women ages 15-44 struggle to get pregnant within 1 year of trying. To me, this number seems low and hits close to home.

For me, I was married at 23, lived in exciting places with my spouse, and we decided when I turned 26, we were ready to be parents. We were both healthy and had a stable, trusting marriage. We tried for a year, and still no baby. So, we went to my local doctor and were referred to a wonderful, amazing office, Florida Institute for Reproductive Medicine.

The first step after trying for a year for many couples, is simply going to your physician and having an honest conversation.  Women 35 and older or who have had trouble in the past can do this after 6 months of trying. While it’s not embarrassing seeking help, it can be scary not knowing what to expect.

Here’s what is done in an infertility evaluation in women:

  • An honest conversation about your health history, sexual history, and menstrual cycles
  • A physical examination of your breasts and pelvic area, including a pap smear.
  • Ovulation tests
  • ·       Hormone tests
  • Vaginal ultrasound

Male infertility can also be the cause of a couple’s issues, so your partner will need to be tested. Men can be evaluated with a semen analysis where the sperm are analyzed for their number of sperm along with the motility (movement of sperm) and morphology (form and structure).

For my husband and I, we were both tested in our initial appointment with the fertility specialist after some blood tests were done. I was told I had PCOS, which explained my irregular periods and hair growth above my lip. (Yay.) PCOS is treatable, and after a couple rounds of tests, ultrasounds, medications, shots, and IUI procedures, we were blessed to become pregnant with twins. 9 months later, my precious Johanna Grace was born.

While my story was not fun for me, I do know others who suffer much more. I recently became friends with a wonderful woman who tried for almost 5 years before being blessed with her pregnancy. The main thing I would tell other women is don’t be ashamed to get help. If you really want a baby, do it. Don’t be scared. Those months were the hardest I’ve experienced in my life. I have never cried so much, but I should have talked to others about what I was going through.

The great thing about my story is that my son Levi was not hard to conceive at all.

Infertility doesn’t have to define you. It is just an obstacle I’m convinced that can be used to make you stronger and appreciate your miracles a little more.

Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of two in Northeast Indiana where she lives, writes, and loves every day.

Fertility During Breastfeeding

Friday, September 11th, 2015

So you’re breastfeeding, and you want to start trying for another kiddo. Or maybe you are breastfeeding and really don’t want to have another baby right now. Either way, knowing how your reproductive system works alongside breastfeeding is good information to have.

One tough thing about learning about this is that if you ask five people about it, you may well get five different answers. Another tough thing is that in biology, nothing is finite. I have friends whose periods returned pretty quickly after giving birth despite exclusively breastfeeding, and others whose periods went MIA for well over a year. How your body is going to react post-pregnancy will probably be different than your best friend’s, and it may well be different pregnancy to pregnancy.

The basics though are (mostly) straightforward. If your baby is less than 6 months old, is exclusively breastfed (particularly on demand) and not eating solids yet, your odds of getting pregnant are very slim. Kellymom has a terrific article detailing statistics of fertility if you are a number hound.

For those of you wanting a baby right away, this may not be the best news. You can either wait until your baby starts eating more solids for your fertility to naturally return, wean partially or fully, or perhaps even talk to your doctor about fertility medications like clomid. For those of you in the NO WAY camp, you may be looking for a little extra insurance. In that case, you can ask your doctor to prescribe the mini pill , which is a progestin-only birth control pill (most birth control pills are combination pills), which is compatible with breastfeeding but also very finicky. They have to be taken at the same time each day, and some medications (like antibiotics) interfere with their effectiveness. Other options are a copper IUD or natural family planning (NFP).

After your baby’s 6-month birthday, though, most breastfeeding women will begin to ovulate again on a regular basis. When it occurs varies woman-to-woman, but this is the time where, if you’re in the NO camp, using an alternative form of birth control becomes necessary. For women trying to conceive, you may find that your first cycle or three you are menstruating but not yet ovulating. Other women may find they ovulate before their first period (according to Kellymom, this is more common in women whose periods return later postpartum). Finally, most women do not need to wean before their fertility returns, so if you have dreams of tandem nursing, it’s totally possible.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.