Trying for baby? Avoid these common mistakes…

Are you going about your baby making the wrong way? Two ob-gyns weigh in on avoidable missteps.

For some couples, bringing their bundle of joy into this world isn’t a process that’s quick nor easy. Especially in the case of late-in-life parents or those with existing fertility issues who may have to contend with the hefty price that comes with assisted reproductive technology, such as in-vitro fertilisation.

Dr Dharshini Gopalakrishnakone, an obstetrician-gynaecologist at the Singapore Medical Group, notes that 85 per cent of couples who have regular intercourse — at least two to three times a week — will get pregnant within a year.

“Apps on phones are not medically trained, nor are they genies. Hence they cannot predict a woman’s ovulation dates accurately.”

However, sometimes couples do make “mistakes” along the way that might postpone their entrance into parenthood. Also, there’s so much conflicting information out there about baby making tips and tricks that couples may be left feeling overwhelmed and confused.

SmartParents experts help to set the record straight on the business behind baby making by busting some common myths and mistakes.

MISTAKE #1: Having sex only when your ovulation app tells you to

There’s no denying that ovulation apps have made it more convenient and easier for women to keep tabs on their ovulation patterns. But Dr Dharshini cautions you not to be fooled by the app’s ability to accurately predict your ovulation patterns.

“Apps on phones are not medically trained, nor are they genies. Hence they cannot predict a woman’s ovulation dates accurately.”

She stresses having intercourse two to three times a week instead, without necessarily aiming for the precise date of your ovulation.

Dr Christopher Chong, an Ob-Gyn at Gleneagles Hospital adds that while one egg is ovulated every month month, the egg can stay alive for 48 hours, and the sperm for 48 to 72 hours, in the womb. “Hence the two to three days before and two days after ovulation is still considered the fertile period.”

MISTAKE #2: Not having enough sex

Dr Chong explains some men are afraid that having sex too frequently can reduce the quality and quantity of their sperm. This is absolutely untrue.

“The couple should have intercourse daily during the ovulation period — two days before and after ovulation — for a total of five days.” It is believed that doing so will not cause any adverse effects on a guy’s sperm quality or quantity.

Five more avoidable baby-making mistakes coming right up!

 

Trying-for-baby--Avoid-these-common-mistakes-2

MISTAKE #3: Not observing the changes in your body

Allowing yourself to get fixated with the days and dates of your ovulation will only cause you much frustration and stress. Even worse, you’ll be taking all the fun out of having sex!

Dr Chong notes that a woman’s luteal phase – the period from ovulation to menses – is more or less fixed at 14 days. However, the days between one’s menses and ovulation can vary from person to person. “Many couples calculate 14 days from the start of her period to decide the date of ovulation,” he adds. “This method is only accurate if your cycle is 28 days.” However, not everyone’s menstrual cycle is 28 days. A cycle between 25 and 32 days is still considered normal. So, track your dates and chart it over a few months to figure out which cycle you are on and you’ll get a clearer picture of when you ovulate.

MISTAKE #4: Forgoing lubricant when you need it

If the lack of natural lubrication is causing you and your hubby to experience discomfort — or worse, pain — while having sex, it’s probably a good idea to get some “assistance”.

Dr Chong advises you to examine the ingredients in the lubricant as some may contain spermicides. He also notes that lubricants made with inert gels are especially useful for those with frequent vaginal infections or discharge.

“[These gels] will help the sperm to swim through the cervix, rather than have the discharge kill the sperm.” Dr Dharshini says, “K-Y Jelly is a safe water-based lubricant that even obstetricians use when examining pregnant patients. This can be used safely when [couples are] trying to conceive.”

There is no hard and fast rule as to when a couple should seek help. That’s why both Dr Chong and Dr Dharshini advise that you get a consultation and examination prior to trying for a baby.

MISTAKE #5: Assuming the problem lies with her

Dr Chong notes that a third of a couple’s fertility problems is caused by problems with the wife. Another third is due to issues with the husband’s health and lastly, shared between both parties. Thus, it is important to seek help as a couple.

MISTAKE #6: Waiting too late to get help

There is no hard and fast rule as to when a couple should seek help. That’s why both Dr Chong and Dr Dharshini advise that you get a consultation and examination prior to trying for a baby. Not just to screen for medical problems, but also to get counselling. Dr Dharshini says a simple gynaecological consultation and scan will be sufficient in helping to reveal important issues. “It is best to seek your friendly gynaecologist earlier than later in such cases to avoid a situation where even fertility drugs are unable to help,” she adds.

MISTAKE #7: Not treating your pre-existing health problems

When left untreated, chronic health problems can end up ruining your chances of conceiving. Conditions like PCOS, large fibroids or ovarian cysts need to be resolved as soon as possible.

Dr Dharshini notes, “Not knowing these issues can delay conception, or worse, may become severely problematic once the patient is already pregnant and unable to deal with the issues then.” If you are already receiving treatment, then be sure to check that you are on pregnancy-safe drugs prior to trying to conceive.

Above all, sticking to a healthy and balanced diet, stubbing out your smoking habit and avoiding caffeine as much as possible can also help you along the way as you try for a baby.

Photos: iStock

Elsewhere on SmartParents.sg

7 ways to heal your vaginal tear

BUYER’S GUIDE 8 unbelievable high-tech nursery gadgets

10 super early signs of pregnancy