Starting your fertility journey is a very exciting time. But before you get carried away thinking of your future baby’s name, the look of the nursery or your way of parenting, there’s a vital step that can’t be overlooked: actually falling pregnant.
Falling pregnant isn’t always easy. But how long should you wait before seeking help? Let us help you find the balance between timely support and simply being too impatient.
Patience is a virtue
You might be surprised to hear that young, healthy couples under age 35 who have no fertility problems, only have a 20% chance of falling pregnant every month. So it’s not worth panicking and asking yourself “Do I need Fertility Treatment?” each cycle.
80% of the couples in the general population will fall pregnant within 12 months of trying to conceive, so keep this in mind when you’re getting impatient. A lot can happen in a year, so when you’re excited to start your journey, it can feel like it’s taking forever.
It may be easier said than done, but try to stay calm and keep trying. Make sure to eat well, exercise and make sure you are generally ‘fertility fit’. There are things to keep in mind that affect how patient you should really be.
The general numbers
If you are under 35 and have been trying to fall pregnant for a year but haven’t been lucky so far, it might be time to seek professional help getting pregnant.
Unfortunately, when it comes to fertility, age is a little bit more than just a number. A woman’s age can massively impact your chances of conceiving. If you are over the age of 35, you shouldn’t wait too long to seek help: if you haven’t fallen pregnant after 6 months of trying, we recommend taking the first steps in seeking fertility treatment.
For women over the age of 40, further investigations should be put in action even sooner: after 3 months of trying to fall pregnant.
Symptoms of infertility
If you experience symptoms of infertility, you should seek professional help as soon as you start your fertility journey.
That’s why it’s important what to look out for:
Irregular menstrual cycles.
If your cycles are less than 24 days or more than 35 days, come unpredictably or you don’t menstruate at all it’s time to talk to your doctor.
Light or heavy bleeding and cramps.
Bleeding for anything between 3 to 7 days is considered normal. However, if you notice significant changes in the length of your menstruation or bleeding heaviness it may be worth talking to your doctor. This is also the case if you experience severe menstrual cramps or unusual spotting between cycles.
Miscarriage is not that uncommon; unfortunately it occurs in nearly 20% of the pregnancies. However, repeated miscarriages are not common. If you’ve had two miscarriages in a row, you should seek professional support.
Chronic diseases and their treatments can lead to fertility problems. Diabetes, untreated celiac disease and hypothyroidism for example, can increase your risk for infertility. Unfortunately, this also applies to treatments such as insulin, antidepressants and thyroid hormones.
It’s commonly known some cancer treatments can lead to fertility problems too. If you or your partner has gone through cancer treatments -especially radiation therapy near the reproductive organs- it’s recommended talking to a doctor when you start your fertility journey.
It’s also recommended to seek professional advice if you or your partner have a history of STDs.
Take a breather
Don’t worry too much if you have found yourself or your partner in any of the above situations. Seeking professional help doesn’t mean you’re fast tracked to IVF. A fertility specialist is likely to conduct simple fertility tests to find out what’s happening, explore your options and help you fall pregnant sooner.