Fertility- Just Starting

So you want to have a baby? Easy right? For some yes, but more and more It is  becoming confusing and scary. Will I need IVF? ‘I heard it’s hard to fall pregnant, but I also heard my sisters, friends cousin got pregnant from a drunken one night stand?’

In short fertility depends on your past and current periods, contraception methods and health (of you and your partner). It’s not a one size fits all, but there are some things you can be doing to get you ready, naturally.

Overview

Alright so this can be a very touchy subject for many woman and couples, and for good reason, it can cause heart break, a lot of $$$ and stress. Just like everything in life, everyones journey to a baby is different. Just like baking a cake, there are some core ingredients that your body needs to get that bun in the oven and keep it cooking in there. Some couples are missing just one ingredient, sperm and bobs your uncle, you’ve got a little Becky Jnr in there. Some couples are missing a few others things, so the trick is to get all the ingredients in the bowl and add the self-raising flour (sperm) just at the right time. Like our baking skills, it is a fine art and takes a bit of magic and timing to get it just right.

Want a baby soon?

Us 21st century gals are not silly. Most of us aren’t as optimistic as women a couple of decades ago who seemingly had minimal issues falling pregnant (hello 9 kids later). We know it often doesn’t happen on the first try. (Side note: that doesn’t mean it can’t). Life for us is different than what it used to be, most of us want to work, and play and have babies. It’s now socially acceptable to be things in ADDITION to being a mum, if we want it. This means we tend to use hormonal contraception more readily than our fore-sisters, however sometimes the use of these contraceptives can have an impact on our immediate fertility, read on here. If you haven’t used contraceptives, of your hormones are all clear and balanced, there are still a few ingredients that could be useful to get checked. 

As a general rule of thumb, if you know you’re ovulating, there is no need to panic for the first 3-6 months. (Remember there is only 1 chance per month for a sperm to meet an egg).

What tests should I Get?

So you might want a baby right now, or you might be a super organiser extraordinaire and want to make sure you have all of your bases covered for 12-18 months time (go you). 

As we always say, at this stage; it’s about knowing whats going on with your body so you can be as healthy as you can. So focus on making yourself healthy and strong and the environment for a baby to be created with flourish. We sometimes lose sight of this, and it can be the start of putting ourselves last. For the record — Always put yourself, when you are the strongest best version of yourself, your soon to be kids, or current kids, family and work life will be better for it… and so will you!

Ok so what tests should you get as a baseline of your own health: 

  • Vitamins:
    • B12- This will help with oxygen in blood supply and to know if this may be affecting your energy and cycles
    • Vitamin D: great to get a baseline to see if you need to up in for anti-inflammatory and immune function
  • Thyroid- (TSH, Free T4, TBG)
  • Iron – (Circulating Iron, Ferratin)
  • Basics:
    • Full Blood Exam (FBE)
    • Liver Function Test (LFT)
  • Hormones
    • Oestrodiol (E2)
    • FSH
    • LH (the ratio between FSH and LH will help you know if PCOS or premature ovarian failure is affecting you)

There is no direct answer to this. It often depends on the length of time you have been suppressing ovulation, how long you have been off your contraception, and what your periods were like before going on 'the pill'. Read on more here.

This is up to personal choice. It can be a good idea to get a baseline of what your health is doing. Remember there is a baseline of health you, the mum has to have in order for your body to perceive it safe for you to hold a pregnancy. 

Some baseline levels to get checked are: Iron, Ferritin, TSH, Zinc, Vitamin D, Prolactin, DHEAS, Testosterone, 17-OH Progesterone, androstenedione

The best way to tell is by measuring your Basal Body Temperature. Check out this great resource to know how and when to take it. 

Another reliable but not as accurate way is to take note of your cervical mucous changes. You should note the change from a thick creamy like substance, or a wet fluid, to a clear sticky egg-white consistency. 

PMS in the middle of your cycle (around when ovulation should happen) and just before your period starts is also a good indicator that your progesterone and oestrogen levels are changing -- although they may be out of balance slightly. 

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PhD Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist

Dr. Stacey Sims 

Hormones tell our body what to do. How to eat, sleep and even when to grow. They give us our appetite and sex drive. They help us have babies, They make us happy, sad and giddy in love.

In men, these hormones are pretty stable day in and day out (though they certainly change over a lifetime). In women, however, it’s another story. And that story centres around the menstrual cycle.

What causes bleeding? 

Bleeding occurs when both of your hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) are at low levels