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What Every Woman Should Know About Pregnancy: Your Questions, Answered!

calendarJuly 25, 2016
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What every woman should know about pregnancy: your questions, answered!What Every Woman Should Know About Pregnancy: Your Questions, Answered!

No matter how much information on this topic is out there, many women still have questions about different aspects of conception, from reasons why a woman can’t get pregnant to what makes a woman fertile. If you’ve been trying to conceive or avoid getting pregnant, then you’ve certainly had some questions yourself.

We’ve got good news for you: our expert is here to answer them. See what our readers have asked, and what our expert has answered below.

1. When Is a Woman Most Fertile to Get Pregnant?

I’ve been married for a few months already, and so far I’ve never tried to get pregnant. Recently I’ve got the "parenting" talk with my husband, and we decided that we want a baby, and are completely ready for the responsibilities this implies. The thing is, I’m really unknowledgeable about pregnancy, and I don’t know what to do to make conceiving easier. When is a woman the most fertile? For how long should I try getting pregnant before seeking medical help?

Expert Answers:

It’s really good to know that you and your husband have already had the parenting talk. This is excellent for establishing common goals, and working together to accomplish them. Not many couples do have this talk, and most face difficulties later.

To answer your question about fertility — you have the highest odds of conceiving when you ovulate. Ovulation is the third phase of your menstrual cycle, and involves the release of the egg from one of your ovaries. Every month, about 15 to 20 eggs mature in fluid-filled sacs that develop on your ovaries (called follicles), but only one becomes entirely mature. This one egg will be released about 12 to 14 days before your next scheduled period. If you have sex 3—4 days before ovulation, and within 24 hours after ovulation, you can easily get pregnant. This is called your fertile window.

Most women under 30 years of age get pregnant within just four months, so if you’ve been trying to conceive for longer than 6—9 months without success, I suggest that you see your doctor, as something might be wrong down there. If you’re older than 35, then you can expect to conceive after about 6 months. If you’re in your 40s, then I’d say you should wait at least one year before seeking the assistance of a specialist. That’s because you lose eggs as you age, both in quantity and quality, so you’ll have to wait some time before you actually conceive.

It’s best to ask your doctor about the things you should know before you even hop into bed. Ask her about prenatal vitamins, birth control, diet and other such practices that will boost your odds of getting pregnant, and giving birth to a healthy baby.

Read also: I Want to Get Pregnant: Every Woman Should Know

2. How Does a Woman Get Pregnant with Twins?

I’ve already talked to my husband about it, but I’m not really sure who to ask this: how does a woman get pregnant with twins? I would really love to have a pair of identical daughters, but I know this doesn’t happen too often, right? What are my chances of conceiving twins? Is there a way I can boost the odds? I’ve read somewhere on the Internet about some kind of lunar phases, but this sounds way too… wacky. I’ll really appreciate your guidance on this!

Expert Answers:

Your question is not unusual. Many patients have asked me the same question out of curiosity. The chances to get pregnant with twins are very slim. Natural twins happen in only 1 in 89 pregnancies. This has to do with genetics since women who are twins themselves, or come from a family with twins, have a much higher chance of conceiving twins.

There are two types of twins: identical and non-identical. Identical twins result from a fertilized egg dividing into two separate embryos that share the same genetic components and structure. They also share the same placenta. Non-identical twins result from the fertilization of two different eggs that are implanted around the same time. Unlike identical twins, they have unique genetic components and structure, and their own placenta.

Older women have higher chances of conceiving non-identical twins because their ovaries release more than one egg every month during peri-menopause. In vitro fertilization also makes it possible to conceive non-identical twins. As a matter of fact, non-identical twins are fairly common, and happen more often than you think. Unfortunately, only one embryo is viable and survives; the other one dies.

In vitro fertilization and fertility drugs are good ways of getting pregnant with non-identical twins, so I suggest that you talk to your doctor about this and see what options you have.

Find out more about this topic here: Getting Pregnant with Twins: What Should You Know?

3. Can Women with PCOS Get Pregnant?

I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS three years ago, before I got married. My periods had always been irregular, so I wasn’t worried about missing them every now and then. But when I talked to my doctor about this issue, she insisted that I take a blood test to measure AMH in my body, and then an ultrasound scan. It turned out that there were plenty of cysts on my both ovaries. Fast forward today, I’ve been trying to get pregnant, and have been unsuccessful.

Can women with PCOS get pregnant? Is there any kind of treatment for this condition, or isn’t there any hope?

Expert Answers:

I’m really sorry to hear that you’re also confronting with this condition. Just under one-third of women do. While polycystic ovary syndrome can’t be treated, there are ways to deal with the symptoms and get pregnant. The reason why PCOS hinders your conceiving efforts is the irregularity or absence of ovulation. If you don’t ovulate and no egg is released, your partner’s sperm cells don’t have anything to fertilize, and thus conception can’t occur. But many women with PCOS get pregnant, although not without efforts.

There are a few treatment options you can try to make your ovulation happen more regularly, and boost your chances of conceiving:

  • Fertility drugs — Clomifene is your first choice when it comes to PCOS. It stimulates ovulation, and causes the ovary to release the egg. If it’s not working, your next option should be gonadotrophins, which is stronger. However, gonadotrophins can overstimulate your ovaries, causing twin pregnancy, and they’re not the safest drugs out there. Metformin is a diabetes drug that increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin. This results in the decrease of insulin and testosterone levels so you can ovulate normally. But as with gonadotrophins, metformin causes side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
  • Laparoscopic ovarian drilling — Also known as LOD, laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a surgery on your ovaries that removes the tissue that’s producing testosterone. This improves hormone balance temporarily, stimulating ovulation to occur and increasing your odds of conceiving. The only drawback of LOD is that results aren’t permanent, and if you haven’t conceived after the surgery, you’ll, unfortunately, need to repeat it. But it’s much safer than gonadotrophins.Also, reaching and maintaining a healthy body weight might help control the symptoms of PCOS. Schedule an appointment with your ob-gyn to learn more about treatment options.

4. When Does a Pregnant Woman Start Getting Morning Sickness?

When does a pregnant woman start getting morning sickness?When Does a Pregnant Woman Start Getting Morning Sickness?

I’ve had sex with my boyfriend about three weeks ago, and I’ve been experiencing some nausea and vomiting every morning for the past one week or so. I’ve initially thought it was an infection, but I took tests for gonorrhea, Chlamydia and trichomoniasis, and they turned out negative. I’ve also tested for HPV, HIV and syphilis, but they were also negative. My period is already two days late, and except for some stomach cramps and low back pain, it doesn’t show any signs of arriving.

When do pregnant women start getting morning sickness?

Expert Answers:

Morning sickness doesn’t occur earlier than week 5 of pregnancy, so it’s unlikely that nausea and vomiting are caused by a possible pregnancy. Have you had sex longer than seven weeks ago? Also, have your last period arrived? If yes, for how long did it last? It’s possible that you conceived earlier than you initially thought you had — it happens very often! If you experienced bleeding, make sure it was your period. If it lasted for longer than 2-3 days and was as heavy as your normal period, then it likely was your AF. If not, then there’s a chance that you experienced implantation bleeding instead.

Wait another 8 days or so before you take a pregnancy test. Although home pregnancy tests have an error margin of just 1%, you may get a false negative result if you take it too early. Take a second test, followed by a blood test, no matter the result — positive or negative.

If it’s not pregnant, you may want to retake all tests for STDs, and explore additional possibilities that you haven’t thought of. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to get the underlying issue diagnosed as soon as possible.

Read also: How Soon After Sex Can You Get Pregnant?

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