Fertility is often far more complicated than many people realize. There are many factors that can affect your reproductive health and ability to get pregnant. If you are thinking about having a baby—whether it’s your first, second, or third—there are several steps you can take now to be proactive about your fertility.
At Arizona Center for Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, we’re committed to giving you all the information you need to help you feel in control of your reproductive health. And that includes giving you a few actionable things you can do to prepare yourself for kids, whether you’ll be trying soon, a few years out from now, or you’re still uncertain of when or if you’ll want to start your family at all. Here are five ways to get proactive about your fertility.
Get familiar with your cycle and when you ovulate
If you’re not already tracking your period or menstrual cycle, now is a good time to start. Tracking your cycle will help you understand when you’re ovulating or alert you to irregular ovulation, which can make it more difficult to get pregnant. If you’re planning on getting pregnant relatively soon, you can use an ovulation predictor kit (OPK) to help you figure out your fertile window, or when you’ll be most likely to conceive.
Learn about your genetics and your medical history
When you come in to AZCREI for your first consultation, we’ll always ask you about your and your family’s medical history. It’s a solid starting point to help us determine what may deter a successful pregnancy. Besides knowing your medical history, it’s a good idea for you (and your partner) to get an STI test, in order to rule out any potential issues that may be related to complications from an STI.
You can also get ahead by digging into your genetics and family medical history now. Specifically, if you are a person with ovaries, finding out everything you can about your mother and grandmother’s health can help you anticipate any potential fertility issues that you might have in the future. Some questions you want to know the answers to are:
- When did your mother start menopause?
- Did your mother have any issues with getting or staying pregnant?
- Are there any thyroid or endocrine issues that run in your family?
- Do you have a family history of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)?
Talk to your doctor or OB/GYN or fertility specialist
If you have questions about your reproductive health you should discuss your options with your doctor, OB/GYN, or a fertility specialist (like AZCREI). There are many health conditions that impact fertility, including hormone imbalances, PCOS, thyroid disorders, uterine fibroids, damage to the fallopian tubes, endometriosis, and STIs. Age, BMI, and your family medical history can all affect fertility as well. You may want to write down your questions ahead of time, before your visit, so you can get all the answers you need to create a plan for your next steps.
Evaluate your lifestyle and habits
A chat with your doctor may spur you to evaluate a few of your lifestyle choices and habits. Since BMI can affect fertility, you may want to gain or lose weight before you start trying to conceive in order to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Exercise, regardless of your BMI, is also important for your general health. If you smoke, you’ll want to quit right away; the chemicals in nicotine speed up the loss of eggs (which naturally die off as you get older) and damage sperm. Smoking can also result in ectopic pregnancy, preterm labor, and birth defects, so the sooner you quit, the better.
Consider freezing your eggs
There are many reasons people with ovaries choose to freeze their eggs—the quick and simple process can have long-lasting benefits. If you are still uncertain of when you want to have kids, egg freezing gives you the ability to wait until you want to or are ready to. The procedure also increases your chances of a successful pregnancy later, since your eggs are of higher quality and healthier when you’re younger. Freezing your eggs now, even when things are up in the air, is like having an insurance plan that ensures you do have the option to get pregnant whenever you choose to do so.
If you’re at all considering having kids in the future, there’s no downside to taking proactive measures about your fertility. For more information on your options, give us a call at (520) 326-0001 or visit us online to schedule a consultation and talk to our doctor.