How to get Pregnant?

Let me start off with the disclaimer - I am not a medical professional. So then, what are my credentials for giving my insights on a sensitive topic such as this?

1.I am a woman.

2.I am a mother.

Not exactly confidence invoking, I agree. But we have to start somewhere.

The title might seem juvenile, and frankly trigger secret chuckles among the teenage age group and above. Ironic, it might sound, that while teen pregnancy is on the rise, it's the "settled ones", actually looking forward to having a family, that seem to be at a loss. It shouldn't be that difficult, should it? It's simple biology, isn't it? Or is it?

Teenagers are in the prime of their lives, and physically more fit than career women, and less likely to have chronic illnesses. That probably explains the consistent rise in teenage pregnancy, while career women who decide to start a family aren't very successful. 

How well do you know your body?

Ovulation is the best time to get pregnant. Being aware of the signs of ovulation, such as a change in cervical mucus, and sometimes, a one-sided twinge of pain. Ideally, women with a 28-day cycle ovulate on the 14th day. But seeing as different women have different cycles, a wider estimation between the 14th and 17th day may help increase the chances of conception. Modern technology has brought about ovulation prediction kits, which track ovulation and help suggest the ideal time for conception.

And in spite of all this, infertility is a sad reality.

Triggers to infertility

1.Stress - In today's competition-driven world, work seems to drive anything. Women have decided to be superwomen and seem to have forgotten the basics - "Health is Wealth". The stresses they deal with are a significant factor that contributes to their pregnancy, or lack of it. Bottomline, stress less. 

2.Hormonal Imbalance - A very common problem in recent times that affect a woman's reproducing ability is PCOD. Polycystic Ovarian Disease (PCOD), also known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a very common condition affecting 5% to 10% of women in the age group 12–45 years. It is a problem in which a woman's hormones are out of balance. It can cause problems with menstrual periods and make it difficult for her to conceive.[]While this can be hereditary, it's mostly a lifestyle-related disease, because of our increasingly sedentary lifestyle.

3.Thyroid Gland Problems - The thyroid makes hormones that help your body work. Too little or too much of these hormones cause problems during pregnancy like - premature birth, miscarriage, and stillbirth.

4.Excess Weight - Very high or very low body weight is not conducive to pregnancy. It is important to make exercise a part of our routine. So is a healthy and balanced diet. It keeps all our bodily cycles in check, and that in itself solves half the problems faced by women during conception.

5.A tumour or cyst - A cyst is usually harmless but if large in size, it may put pressure on the baby's developing lungs and other organs.

6.Pelvic inflammatory disease - This usually occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria spread from the vagina to the womb(uterus), fallopian tubes, or ovaries.

7.Endometriosis or Fibroids - Fibroids usually don't interfere with getting pregnant, but can cause complications like placental abruption, fetal growth restriction, and preterm delivery.

8.DES Syndrome – Diethylstilbestrol syndrome(DES) refers to developmental or health problems caused by exposure to DES before birth(in utero), like reproductive tract differences, infertility, and an increased risk of certain cancers. The medication DES, an estrogen developed in the lab, used in preventing miscarriage among women, may cause infertility in the children conceived.

These are just a few among a host of possibilities.

Detecting infertility 

A few commonly performed tests to detect infertility are -

1,Urine and Blood tests, to check for infections or a hormonal issue, like Thyroid.

2.Laparoscope inserted into the abdomen to check the condition of organs for blockages, adhesion, or scar tissues.

3.HSG, which is a contrast X-ray that helps technicians look for blockages of any sort.

4.Ultrasound to look at the uterus and ovaries.

Can infertility be treated?

Based on the patient’s conditions and severity, infertility can be treated using one or more of the following methods -

1.Medications to stimulate ovulation.

2.Hormone supplements to counter the hormonal imbalance.

3.Antibiotics in case of an underlying infection.

4.In extreme cases, surgery to remove blockages or scar tissues in fallopian tubes, uterus or pelvic area.

These methods are not exhaustive and modern medicine is improving every day.

How to reduce the chances of infertility?

1.Physical Fitness and Regular Exercise.

2.Healthy Eating habits - avoid junk food or crash diets. 

3.Maintain good personal hygiene to avoid STDs.

4.Avoid frequent alcohol and drug usage.

5.Regularly check-up with your gynecologist to detect and avoid complications in the beginning stages. 

Another mistake, possibly an often ignored one, is having sex on a daily basis, in order to get it done as soon as possible. While the enthusiasm may be well-founded, often your partner's sperm is most effective after a reasonable break. The frequency of sex every 2-3 days might be ideal. After all, men are equally responsible for getting the conception right.

Some women may decide they don't want to go the conventional route. Maybe they are too independent to rely on a partner, maybe they don't feel the need for a partner. Modern medicine has come up with IUF and IVF. The key difference between IUI and IVF is that in IUI, fertilization takes place internally. That is, the sperm is injected directly into the woman's uterus. So, if fertilization is successful, the embryo implants there as well. With IVF, fertilization takes place externally, or outside of the uterus, in a lab. The cost of artificial pregnancy is a factor to be considered as well. Pre-conception tests are a good idea.[]

This is 2021. And we are the modern-day women. And yet, on every women's day, we tend to identify women as not a person, but as her role in society. And especially as a mother, she is placed on a pedestal. In a country like India, in spite of its growing population, a woman who cannot conceive is ostracized. It is somehow a dent in her social standing, doesn't matter how educated or accomplished she is in her individual right. And thus exist the quacks and the religious places that guarantee an heir with a visit or more. Money is often a reality not spoken of in the open.

And what if everything fails to get you pregnant?

An option that most traditional families are unwilling to consider is that of adoption. Just a lot of mothers crave for a child's presence, a lot of children long for a maternal presence in their lives. The decision, however, lies with the individual. Being a mother is not just a biological title, it has a lot to do with how a child is raised. Former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen is a wonderful example of the latter.

 And women relentlessly plow on, in a world built for a man by men, trying to prove a point, and forgetting their own essence. She does not have to be a mother. But it's not like she was ever bestowed that agency on her own body. Besides, no one else is capable of nurturing like her. She doesn't need to give birth to make her feel fulfilled, or like a "true woman". But if anyone can do it with finesse and aplomb, it has to be her. She is a woman. She is capable of creating and nurturing a life. Only she can do that.

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