When you’re ready to try for a baby, any delay can feel like it’s taking up entirely too much of your time. You just want to get a positive result on your pregnancy test and start this new chapter of your life — and the sooner the better. But there are a few simple things to find out before your check your fertility at a doctor’s office. You just might be able to get that baby started without any help from the pros.
This is not to downplay the importance of your doctor’s guidance at this point in your life. But for many couples, getting their fertility tested can be a stressful (and sometimes expensive) undertaking. It’s smart to make sure you aren’t just experiencing a case of bad timing, for instance, that could be remedied with a calendar and some at-home ovulation tests. And even if you do wind up at the doctor’s office down the line, being able to go over the steps you have taken to ensure conception may help your physician provide a diagnosis. Although it’s normal, and perhaps unavoidable, to feel anxious and concerned about your fertility, you can take charge of it now to give yourself the best odds of conceiving.
1. Basal Body Temperature
Tracking your basal body temperature (BBT) is one way to monitor your fertility. Once you have a good baseline reading of your average temp, it will be easy to note when ovulation (and the release of the hormone progesterone) causes your temperature to go up by about a half degree, as explained on WebMD. When you're running a little hot, it's a good time to try for a baby.
2. Health Factors
Following basic health advice is more important than ever. As explained in the Huffington Post, getting adequate sleep, eating well, and giving up smoking may help you conceive more easily. This might be a good thing to keep in mind the next time you're temped to stay up late watching YouTube.
3. Dental Checkup
Has it been a while since your last checkup? According to a 2014 study in the Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research, periodontitis (AKA gum infection) may affect women's fertility and cause them to take longer to conceive. You might want to see your dentist before trying for a baby.
4. Cervical Mucus
You just can't think about fertility without addressing cervical mucus. Monitoring your cervical mucus for signs of fertile quality may make it easier to conceive, according to the American Pregnancy Association. Fortunately, it's pretty easy to keep track of your CM.
5. Your Partner's Fertility
Hey, it takes two to make a baby. When you and your SO are looking to increase your odds of conception, he might consider an at-home sperm test, as noted in the Mayo Clinic. It's an easy step to take before getting a more thorough checkup at a doctor's office.
6. Family History
This might involve some rather personal questions, but knowing your family's history of conception may give you a good idea of your own fertility. As explained by the National Health Service, if your family has no history of fertility problems, you will hopefully be just as fertile as your foremothers. On the other hand, if something like early menopause is common in your family, this might be a good thing to discuss with your doctor ASAP.
7. STIs History
Certain STIs can hamper your reproductive health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, untreated cases of chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which may lead to fertility problems. Making sure you get annual screenings, and reporting to your doctor ASAP if you show any symptoms of an STI, can help preserve your fertility.
8. Cycle Regularity
Women who have irregular periods may have a more difficult time hitting the target date, even if they don't have any fertility problems whatsoever. As explained by the American Pregnancy Association, you try using an ovulation predictor kit to test for the hormonal fluctuations that occur around ovulation. It's one way to make your cycle just a little more predictable.
9. Fibroids & Endometriosis
It seems unfair that women who suffer from a debilitating condition such as endometriosis may also be forced to contend with infertility. However, as explained by the Arizona Center for Fertility Studies, endometriosis and/or fibroids may make conception difficult or increase your chances of a miscarriage. You may need to consider surgery or other forms of treatment before conceiving a baby.