“Doctor, we’ve been married for a few years and trying to have a baby but nothing’s happening,” is a line gynaecologists often hear. For couples trying to conceive, there are a few basic rules they should follow.
Know your fertile phase
For a woman who has regular 28-30 day menstrual cycle, the fertile phase would be from day 11 to day 18 (day 11 being the first day of the period). It is important that the couple be together during this period and have intercourse at least on alternate days at this time.
If a woman has irregular periods, she could be having the Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In this condition she would not be ovulating regularly. A visit to the gynaecologist will confirm the ovulation status and some ovulation inducing medications will be prescribed by the doctor. Women with PCOS often tend to be overweight, and it would help if she loses weight and tries to achieve an average weight for her height (as per standard charts). This would help regularize the periods and spontaneous ovulation may then happen. Many of these women successfully conceive and go on to have a normal pregnancy.
Folic acid tablets
Folic acid tablets (1 tablet per day) is a must for women planning a pregnancy as it has been established that high levels of Folic acid in the maternal blood at the time of conception reduces certain defects in the fetus.
Live a healthy life
Maintaining a healthy body weight for both men and women is important. In overweight women especially, the extra fat cells cause hormone imbalances and affect the menstrual cycles and fertility. A healthy diet, with plenty of natural foods will help. Fruits and vegetables, those rich in antioxidants are helpful as are dry fruits and nuts which contain high levels of Vitamin E which improve fertility. About three helpings per week of nuts (almonds, walnuts and pistachios) should be consumed.
How long to try before seeking help
It is advised for a couple to try for at least one year (one year of unprotected intercourse) before seeking a doctor’s advice. This much time should be allowed as many couples conceive on their own within this period.