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For couples

Here is what the experts advice couples who are beginning to worry about their lack of success at conception.

  1. Give it a year:
    If you're under 28, your sex life is wonderful, and there is nothing in your medical history that points to a possible reproductive problem, our experts say keep trying for a year. About 60% of the couples conceive within six months and 90% within the year. When you get older, naturally, fertility decreases a bit. Even women in their twenties don't ovulate every month. In thirties, the likelihood of monthly ovulation begins to lessen. That's why the older you are, the sooner you'll want to consult a specialist.
  2. Talk it out:
    Are you both sure you want that baby, or is one of you ambivalent? Our experts have had plenty of stories about couples who try half- heartedly for years but don't conceive until after one partner's uncertainty is resolved.
  3. Let the passion take you:
    Forget about the ovulatory charts, mucus charts, and scheduled sex until you absolutely have to worry about them. If you've got time, let the passion take you. Often that does better.
  4. Ease up on your work schedule:
    Workaholism and constant pressure can put the squeeze on fertility. Your body knows that a period of extreme stress is not an ideal time to get pregnant.
  5. It's all in the positioning:
    Use the standard missionary position on days when you suspect the woman is fertile: the man-on-top style of intercourse is best for conception. The woman should remain lying down for 20 minutes after her partner ejaculates.
  6. Stop smoking:
    Cigarettes can impair fertility in men and women. Studies of men have shown that smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have sperm counts below the normal range, and to have less sperm motility. According to a research, the more the cigarettes a woman smoked per day, the less fertile she was likely to be. The researchers suspect that smoking may alter hormone levels in a woman's body.

    For Women Only

    Here are some helpful measures that women can take to help increase the chances of pregnancy:

  7. Make sure you are ovulating:  Are you having regular periods? If not, you may not ovulate. One key to ovulation is noticeable changes in cervical mucus midway through the cycle. The mucus will be thin, watery and clear. Other signs include premenstrual breast tenderness, cramps, and mittelschmerz-ovulation pain. Another way to test ovulation is with a kit you buy at the drugstore. The kit, which reads levels of ovulation release hormone in your urine, is only about 50% effective when you use it morning and night. Kits available only through your doctor's office tend to be more accurate. The best time to test is between 10:00 A.M and noon.
  8. If you get a positive result the first month you use it, great. If three cycles pass without giving a positive result, it could mean that either the kit isn't sensitive enough for you or you're not ovulating. Either way, consult your doctor.
  9. If you want to be a fertility goddess, try to look like one: Some women can induce ovulation by putting on a few pounds or taking off a few. In general, the closer your actual weight is to the ideal weight, the better. You want to be within 95% of that ideal but below 120%. The researchers have found that body fat can actually produce and store estrogen, a hormone that primes the body for pregnancy. When the total body estrogen is too high or too low, the system can be thrown off balance. The more fat, the more estrogen produced.
  10. Go easy on the exercise There are two main reasons for this. If exercise causes, you to lose too much body fat, you can stop ovulating. But even if you maintain normal body weight, you may still put yourself at risk if you spend more than an hour a day working hard at activities like running, cross country skiing, or swimming. According to a study, women who had never been pregnant and who exercised vigorously for more than an hour a day increased their risk of infertility. The study found that exercise exerted its effect on fertility through a means independent of its ability to promote weight loss. The endorphins, brain chemicals released during vigorous exercise, may, like morphine, affect a woman's prolactin levels. Elevated prolactin levels may interfere with ovulation.
  11. Time it just right: If ovulation is occurring normally, maybe you're just not making love when you are fertile. Sometimes you're having intercourse may be once or twice a week and you're just not hitting it. How do you remedy this? Try to predict ovulation. If you don't want to fuss much, you can predict the date of your next period and count back 14 days. Then make love every night from day 11 through day 16. Or you can buy over the counter ovulation test kit, which will give you about 24 to 36 hours advance warning of ovulation. When the test indicates ovulation, make love that night and night after.
  12. Thou shalt not douche: Another thing that interferes with the pH level of the vagina can make life unfriendly for sperm. That includes douches, lubrication agents, and jellies.
  13. Go easy on caffeine: More than a cup of coffee a day can hurt your chances of becoming pregnant. The same holds true if you ingest the equivalent amount of caffeine from chocolate, soft drinks, or other caffeinated beverages. According to a study, women who drank more than the caffeine equivalent of a cup of coffee a day were half as likely to conceive as those who consumed less.

    For Men Only

    On the male side of the equation there is more advice:

  14. Give your sperm to bounce back: Any viral illness associated with fever can depress the sperm count for up to three months. Bad colds can have the same effect. Why is the effect so long-lasting? The normal cycle to produce a sperm is 78 days. It takes another 12 days for the sperm to mature. Healthy semen, by the way, contains in excess of 20 million sperms per teaspoon. If you looked at the sample under a microscope, more than 60% would appear to be swimming forward. If your sperm count is healthy, a cold or flu probably won't knock it out of the fertility range. But if it is borderline, an illness may.
  15. Say no to steroids: Anabolic steroids can shut off the pituitary gland and alter the body's natural hormone balance. It is not uncommon for athletes to have infertility problems. Long time use of steroids can permanently damage the testicles.
  16. Be wary of drugs and alcohol: Various over-the-counter and prescription drugs can depress sperm count. If you're not sure about the medications you use, consult your doctor. Tagamet, an ulcer medication is one to watch out for. Others include chemotherapeutic agents and certain antibiotics. Chronic drinking and habitual marijuana can be at fault too.
  17. Keep 'em cool: Nature's way of keeping your testicles a half-degree cooler tan your core body temperature is to house them outside the body. But if you heat the core temperature too much, or heat the testes themselves, you can affect the sperm production. Be careful about excessive physical activity, temperature extremes, hot tubs and close fitting underwear if you want to father a child.
  18. Remember that abstinence makes the sperm grow stronger: If a baby is what you're after, daily intercourse can be too much of a good thing because it can decrease your sperm count. For the average couple this doesn't matter, but for a borderline case, this may do it. It is recommended to abstain for two days prior to the woman's fertile period to let the sperm build up, then make love every other day.


       Medical alert

          According to experts seek medical counsel if:

    • Your menstrual periods are scant or irregular, and your cervical mucus doesn't change. You may not be ovulating.
    • You've used an over-the-counter ovulation kit for three cycles now, but it's never given you any indication you're ovulating.
    • You are under 35 and have been unable to conceive despite a year of unprotected intercourse, or over 35 and have been unable to conceive after six months.
    • You're producing milk, or you have male pattern hair growth on your breasts, upper lip, or chin. You may have a hormonal imbalance.
    • You or your partner have suffered from Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease that can destroy the fallopian tubes in women and inflame and scar the ductal system in men.
    • Your medical history includes pelvic infections, endometriosis, polycystic ovary disease, abdominal or urinary tract surgery, injuries to the perineum, excessively high fevers, or the mumps or measles.
    • You have used an intrauterine device (IUD).
    • You or your mate suspect exposure to some substance like lead that is known to impair fertility.

    The Alternate Route

    Goodbye K-Y jelly, Hello egg white

  19. Egg white is useful as a lubricant for those couples who find dryness a problem. The couples are usually advised to use egg white only during the few days each month when a woman is fertile. The rest of the month they should use whatever lubricant they prefer. Why egg white? Egg white has the least effect on the sperm motility and survival. Egg white is a pure protein. And the vast amount of sperm is pure protein in nature. According to a study several couple who tried this did conceive. But don't use egg white if you're allergic to it. Take the egg out of the refrigerator ahead of time, so that it is not cold, and separate the white from the yolk. It makes no difference whether you apply the substance to the glans of the penis or the vagina.
Diet and Nutrition Tips. Free consultation by Ms Shubi Husain
Health Sanctuary
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