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LUTEAL PHASE, WHAT IT IS? AND HOW IS RELATED TO PREGNANCY

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LUTEAL PHASE,

🌟 What Is the Luteal Phase?
The period between ovulation and the beginning of the next menstrual cycle is called the luteal phase. The follicle gets converted to a corpus luteum during this phase. A corpus
luteum is the cell structure that produces high amounts of progesterone and some estrogen. These luteal phase hormones play an important role in pregnancy. This article is about the luteal phase and its relation to pregnancy.

🌟 Luteal phase versus menstrual cycle
The basics of a woman’s menstrual cycle can be broken down into three sections: the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.
The follicular phase begins on the first day of your period and lasts until the ovaries release an egg. When the egg is released, the body enters ovulation, which typically lasts a couple of days before the luteal phase begins.

Finally, the luteal phase is the second half of your cycle. This is when fertilization and implantation can happen. This part of the menstrual cycle lasts between 10 to 16 days,
depending on the woman. At the end of the luteal phase, one of two things will happen: you will either start your period, or you will discover you are pregnant.

The average menstrual cycle is about 28 days. Many of us think of our cycle is just two parts. The five or six days we bleed, and the rest of the month when we don’t. For those wanting to learn more about their body, knowing when your luteal phase occurs is important.

The menstrual cycle is actually broken down into four distinct phases. Being aware of each phase, as well as what is or isn’t normal in each phase, is a vital part of understanding your reproductive health.

Some people want to understand their cycle better for trying to conceive, trying to avoid pregnancy, or just trying to figure out why they aren’t feeling well.

The more you understand your menstrual cycle, the sooner you might be able to conceive if desired or notice reproductive health concerns. Understanding each phase, including the luteal phase, is a great way to be an active participant in your healthcare.

🌟 The menstrual cycle.
A menstrual cycle consists of 3 phases, namely ovulatory, luteal, and follicular. Each phase of the menstrual cycle has its own importance in fertilizing the ovum and making you pregnant.
If you aren’t pregnant, it also sheds the unused endometrial lining at the termination of the cycle. If you have a normal menstrual cycle of about 25 to 28 days, the luteal phase will last for about 12 to 14 days. If you have a menstrual cycle lesser than 25 days, the luteal phase can be shorter.

🌟 Luteal phase
The luteal phase is the latter phase of the menstrual cycle (in humans and a few other animals) or the earlier phase of the estrous cycle (in other placental mammals). It begins
with the formation of the corpus luteum and ends in either pregnancy or luteolysis. The main hormone associated with this stage is progesterone, which is significantly higher during the luteal phase than other phases of the cycle. Another is the endocannabinoid,
anandamide AEA, where the lowest plasma AEA level is observed in the luteal phase. The opposite of the luteal phase, the rest of the two weeks, is called the follicular phase.

🌟 Menstrual cycle Hormonal events
After ovulation, the pituitary hormones; FSH and LH released from the anterior pituitary cause the remaining parts of the dominant follicle to transform into the corpus luteum. It continues to grow for some time after ovulation and produces significant amounts
of hormones, particularly progesterone and to a lesser extent, estrogen. Progesterone plays a vital role in making the endometrium receptive to implantation of the blastocyst
and supportive of the early pregnancy; it also has the side effect of raising the woman’s basal body temperature. The increased progesterone and BBT will cause at least a modest rise in BMR at the start of the luteal phase and remains in an elevated state until the phase ends. Research has discrepant findings on how much of an increase typically occurs and how much it can vary.

Early, small sample studies have found various figures, such as; a 6% higher postovulatory sleep metabolism, a 7% to 15% higher 24-hour expenditure following ovulation, and an increase and a luteal phase BMR by up to 12%. A study by the American Society of Clinical Nutrition found that an experimental group of female volunteers had an 11.5% average increase in 24-hour energy expenditure in the two weeks following ovulation, with a range of 8% to 16%. This group was measured via simultaneously direct and indirect calorimetry and had standardized daily meal and sedentary schedule in order to prevent the increase from being manipulated by a change in food intake or activity level.

A 2011 study conducted by the Mandya Institute of Medical Sciences found that during a woman’s follicular phase and menstrual cycle is no significant difference in BMR, however, the calories burned per hour is significantly higher, up to 18%, during the luteal phase. Increased state anxiety (stress level) also temporarily increased BMR.

Several days after ovulation, the increasing amount of estrogen produced by the corpus luteum may cause one or two days of fertile cervical mucus, lower basal body temperatures, or both. This is known as a “secondary estrogen surge”.

The hormones produced by the corpus luteum also suppress the production of the FSH and LH that the corpus luteum needs to maintain itself. With continued low levels of FSH and LH, the corpus luteum will atrophy.
The death of the corpus luteum results in falling levels of progesterone and estrogen. These falling levels of ovarian hormones cause increased levels of FSH, which begins recruiting follicles for the next cycle. Continued drops in levels of estrogen and progesterone trigger the end of the luteal phase: menstruation and the beginning of the next cycle.

The loss of the corpus luteum can be prevented by implantation of an embryo: after implantation, human embryos produce human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is structurally similar to LH and can preserve the corpus luteum. Because the hormone is unique to the embryo, most pregnancy tests look for the presence of hCG. If implantation occurs, the corpus luteum will continue to produce progesterone (and maintain high basal body temperatures) for eight to twelve weeks, after which the placenta takes over this function.

🌟 HOW LONG DOES LUTEAL PHASE LAST.
The human luteal phase lasts between ten and sixteen days, the average being fourteen days. Luteal phases of less than twelve days may make it more difficult to achieve pregnancy. While luteal phase length varies significantly from woman to woman, for the same woman the length will be fairly consistent from cycle to cycle.

🌟 Menstrual cycle chart and luteal phase.

For those trying to conceive, understanding ovulation and the luteal phase (which make up the second half of your cycle) are usually their focus. This chart provides an easy breakdown for each phase of your menstrual cycle.

changes-woman-cycle

photo: britannica

Menstrual Cycle Chart and luteal phase

Can you get pregnant during the luteal phase? Yes, you can. Since the luteal phase is after ovulation, you have a very real chance of getting pregnant.

🌟 Why Is the Luteal Phase Important for Pregnancy?
The luteal phase is the period between ovulation and menstruation. Therefore, the health and length of the luteal phase will speak to the regard of your fertility.

1. Impact of the Luteal Phase’s Length On Pregnancy

If your period of the luteal phase is less than ten days, then you may find it difficult to become pregnant. The reason behind this is that if your corpus luteum weakens and dies in 9 days, ceasing the luteal phase hormone production, then your uterus starts shredding its lining instantaneously, leaving no time for the fertilized ovum to move from the Fallopian tube to the ovary, and get implanted to the uterus lining.

If your luteal phase is short, you will not get pregnant even if the ovum gets fertilized, because you will get your period before the embryo can stick to the uterus lining.

2. Impact of the Luteal Phase’s Health On Pregnancy

Sometimes, even if the duration of the luteal phase is normal, your body may produce less amount of progesterone during this phase, which can be a problem. A sufficient quantity of
progesterone is needed to ensure the healthy thickness of the uterus lining. Low amount of progesterone results in a lining that is not healthy enough to sustain a pregnancy.

Therefore, it is important to have a luteal phase that is of normal length and is healthy as well.

🌟 How to Calculate Luteal Phase of a Menstrual Cycle
🌟 Here are some ways to calculate the length of your luteal phase:

A hormone-specific blood test can determine the accurate length of your luteal phase. You can track your menstrual cycle for approximately 6 months, and observe the patterns of your phases of the menstrual cycle, to calculate an approximate length of the
luteal phase.

✔️ Basal Body Temperature (BBT) Charting:

The BBT of your body increases during ovulation and stays high until the onset of your
upcoming period. Track the temperature from the starting of the menstrual cycle, and observe the rise in BBT. The rise in body temperature is a solid confirmation that you are ovulating.

🌟 Formula to Calculate Ovulation Time During Luteal Phase

Day of ovulation = length of the menstrual cycle – length of luteal phase
Assume that for a menstruation cycle that lasts for 29 days, the luteal phase lasts up to 15 days. Assigning these values in the formula:
Day of ovulation = 29
29 (length of the menstrual cycle) – 15 (length of luteal phase)
Day of ovulation = 14
It implies that the 14th day of the menstrual cycle is the day your ovulation occurs.

A prediction kit or calculator for ovulation can also be used to know the day of ovulation, and hence the luteal phase.

⭐ Symptoms of Luteal phase.
1.Light cramping.
2.Spotting/implantation bleeding.
3.Changes in vaginal discharge.
4.Nausea and other digestive changes.
5.Increased sense of smell.
6. Sore breasts.
7.Fatigue.
8.Mood swings and changes.
They may also experience a variety of other signs, similar to PMS. Some women wonder about symptoms as early as 3 days post ovulation. Generally, however, you’ll simply have to wait and see whether your luteal phase ends with a positive pregnancy test or a new cycle.

⭐Types of luteal phase.

1.Short luteal phase.

A short luteal phase is one that lasts 8 days or less. The hormone progesterone is essential
for implantation and A successful pregnancy. Because of this, a short luteal phase may contribute to infertility.

When a short luteal phase occurs, the body doesn’t secrete enough progesterone, so the uterine lining doesn’t properly develop. This makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

If you do become pregnant after ovulation, a short luteal phase may result to an early miscarriage.

To sustain a healthy pregnancy, the uterine lining must be thick enough for an embryo to attach itself and develop into a baby.
A short luteal phase can also be due to the failure of the corpus luteum. If the corpus luteum doesn’t secrete enough progesterone, your uterine lining may shed before a fertilized egg implants. This can cause an earlier menstrual cycle.

⭐What causes a short luteal phase?
A short luteal phase is one that lasts 8 days or less. The hormone progesterone is essential to implantation and a successful pregnancy. Because of this, a short luteal phase may contribute to infertility.

When a short luteal phase occurs, the body doesn’t secrete enough progesterone, so the uterine lining doesn’t properly develop. This makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus.

If you do become pregnant after ovulation, a short luteal phase may result in an
early miscarriage. To sustain a healthy pregnancy, the uterine lining must be thick enough for an embryo to attach itself and develop into a baby.

A short luteal phase can also be due to the failure of the corpus luteum. If the corpus luteum doesn’t secrete enough progesterone, your uterine lining may shed before a fertilized egg implants. This can cause an earlier menstrual cycle.

⭐Symptoms of a short luteal phase. If you have a short luteal phase, you may not
realize there’s a problem. In fact, you might not suspect fertility issues until you’re unable to conceive.

If you’re having difficulty getting pregnant, your doctor can investigate further to see if you have LPD.
Symptoms may include:
1.Earlier than normal menstrual cycles
2.Spotting in between periods
3 Inability to get pregnant
4.Miscarriage

⭐Diagnosing short luteal phase.
If you can’t get pregnant, figuring out the underlying cause is the first step to improving your odds of conception. Talk to your doctor about infertility.

They can conduct a variety of tests to determine whether infertility is caused by a short luteal phase or another condition.

You’ll likely have blood tests to check your levels of the following hormones:

1.Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a hormone released by the pituitary gland that regulates ovary function.
2.Luteinizing hormone:] The hormone that triggers ovulation
3.Progesterone, the hormone that stimulates the growth of the uterine lining.

In addition, your doctor may recommend an endometrial biopsy. During the biopsy,
a small sample of your uterine lining is collected and examined under a microscope.
Your doctor can check the thickness of the lining.

They may also order a pelvic ultrasound, to examine the thickness of your uterine lining.
A pelvic ultrasound is an imaging test that uses sound waves to generate pictures
of organs in your pelvic area, including your:
1.Ovaries
2.Uterus
3.Cervix
4.Fallopian tubes

⭐Treatment for short luteal phase
Once your doctor identifies the underlying cause of your LPD, pregnancy may be possible.
In many cases, treating the cause is key to improving fertility.

For example, if a short luteal phase results from extreme exercise or stress, decreasing your activity level and learning stress management can cause the return of a normal luteal phase.

⭐Techniques to improve stress levels include:
1.Decreasing personal obligations
2.Deep breathing exercises
3.Meditation
4.Moderate exercise

Your doctor may also recommend supplemental human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is a pregnancy hormone. Taking this supplement can help your body secrete a higher level of the hormone progesterone.

Your doctor may also recommend taking additional progesterone supplements after ovulation. This helps your uterine lining grow to a point where it can support the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Other methods to increase your chance of getting pregnant include; medications, such as clomiphene citrate, which stimulates your ovaries to produce more follicles and release more eggs.

Not all treatments work for every woman, so you’ll have to work closely with your doctor,to find the most effective medication or supplement.

⭐Long Luteal Phase or Pregnant?

Long luteal phase?… Am I pregnant?… It’s probably a safe bet that most women who are ready to start a family have a basic knowledge of their menstrual cycle. You might know
that you have a period, for instance, and you probably also know that you ovulate. You might also be aware that the average woman’s cycle is around 28 days long. But what
about the more minute details of a woman’s reproductive cycle? Would you be able to tell if your period was late, or if you were actually pregnant? Identifying one or the other of the options is obviously important to a hopeful couple.

Long menstrual cycles can be a frustrating source of false hope – so knowing how to recognize the signs of a long luteal cycle, versus a pregnancy, can relieve some of the stress a couple may feel as they try to conceive.

⭐ Signs of a long luteal phase or pregnancy.
So how do you know the difference between a successful conception and a long luteal phase? What are the signs? Here are a few indicators that can help you identify which
stage you’re at before taking a test:

1.Know when to look.
Before you even begin to detect a pregnancy naturally, you’ll want to track your full cycle for a couple of months. To do this, you can monitor when your periods start and end, and even incorporate ovulation tracking methods. This way, you’ll be fully aware of when each phase will typically begin – and you’ll know when to look for the subtle signs of early pregnancy.

2.Look for implantation bleeding.
Sure, when you’re waiting for your period to show up and you notice spotting, it’s easy to assume that you’re not pregnant. You could, however, be experiencing implantation bleeding, which is a very early sign of pregnancy. Pay attention to what happens next. If you don’t get your full period, then it could be a sign of conception.

3.Watch out for tender breasts.
Sore breasts are a well-known sign of pregnancy. They occur because hormones flood the body once the egg is fertilized, which increases the volume of blood. This adds to the heaviness of the breasts and can make them feel “overfilled.”
However, tender breasts are also a sign of PMS so pay attention to your usual premenstrual signs before trying to get pregnant so you’ll be able to spot the difference in sensations.

4.Notice loss of energy.
If you’re feeling exhausted and like you just can’t catch up on sleep no matter what you do, it might be a sign of early pregnancy. Women in their first trimesters often experience
a complete lack of energy because of the body’s hormone fluctuations and increased blood production. However, there are many factors that add to feeling tired – including;
anxiety, lack of sleep, and even stress of infertility for those who have been trying to get pregnant for some time. Be sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle while you’re conceiving so you’ll be able to detect these small changes.

Obviously, the easiest way to determine a pregnancy is by taking a simple at-home test. But for women who are trying to get pregnant, knowing and paying attention to your body is one of the best things you can do during this time – that way you won’t be frustrated if you experience an extended luteal phase. You’ll be able to assess your body during the conception process and understand its various changes.

⭐ Body Changes in Luteal Phase
Changes in hormonal levels during the luteal phase.
During the luteal phase, the upsurge in progesterone levels
can result in the following body changes:

1.Mood swings
2.Tiredness
3.Tender nipples and breasts
4.Bloating
5.Anxiety
6.Fluid retention
These changes are bound to happen and do not lower your likelihood of getting pregnant.

⭐How Can You Test Your Progesterone Level?
The luteal phase progesterone levels are generally higher than in other phases of your menstrual cycle. Your progesterone levels should be tested when they are highest, i.e. in the middle of the luteal phase, which is on the 21st day of a normal 28-day menstrual cycle.

Of course, it is not given that all women have a typical 28-day menstrual cycle. If you have a 34-day menstrual cycle, with ovulation occurring around the 22nd day, then you cannot
test your progesterone level on day 21, as the results might show a very low level of the hormone. But, if you test it on the 28th day, your progesterone level may be normal.

Hence, if you want to know when you ovulate and the length of your luteal phase, tell your doctor about the right time to test your progesterone levels.

⭐ How Can You Increase the Luteal Phase?
Taking the following supplements might help to lengthen your luteal phase:

1.Vitamin C – it increases fertility in some cases where women have short luteal phases.
2.Progesterone supplementation or cream – Progesterone can increase your progesterone levels, but please consult your doctor before using this.

⭐ What is a Luteal Phase Defect?
Luteal phase defect or luteal insufficiency is the deficient release of progesterone all through the luteal phase. The insufficiency of progesterone will not thicken the uterus lining, which can result in improper embryo plantation. Hence, it reduces
the chances of a pregnancy continuing. However, it is not yet confirmed if a luteal phase defect is a reason for infertility.

A luteal phase defect can lead to the following problems:
1.Improper working of corpus luteum, which results in lesser production of estradiol and progesterone.
2.Incapability of the uterus lining to react to normal levels of estradiol and progesterone.

⭐ Causes of luteal phase defects.
LPD can be caused by certain conditions, such as:
1.Endometriosis, a condition where tissue normally found, inside the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus.
2.Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with small cysts thyroid disorders, such as an overactive or an underactive thyroid, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and iodine deficiency.
3.Obesity
4.Anorexia
5.Excessive exercise
6.Aging
7.Stress

A luteal phase defect could also happen due to the following reasons:

1.Defect in the egg.
2.Breakdown of corpus luteum.
3 Un-ruptured follicle.
4.Thyroid disorders
5.Over-exercise
6.Anorexia
7.Endometriosis
8.Polycystic ovary syndrome
9.Obesity
10.Hyperprolactinemia

⭐ Symptoms of Luteal Phase Defect
The symptoms of a luteal phase defect are as follows:

1.Miscarriages.
2.Spotting in between periods.
4.Menstrual cycles way earlier than normal.

⭐Diagnosis of a Luteal Phase Defect.
A luteal phase defect can be diagnosed by
getting the following tests done:

1.Blood tests
These tests check the level of:
✔️ Progesterone, which helps in the thickening of the uterus lining.
✔️ Follicle-stimulating hormone, which regulates ovarian functions.
✔️ Luteinizing hormone, which triggers ovulation.
✔️ Ultrasound;It helps to find the thickness of the uterus lining. An ultrasound scan
can help detect the functioning of the reproductive organs, i.e. the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and Fallopian tubes.

⭐Treatment Options for Luteal Phase Defect. The treatment of a luteal phase defect depends on the main underlying causes.

1.Human Chorionic Gonadotropin: It releases progesterone and triggers ovulation. During this process, the hCG level is given in a single dosage of 10,000 IU or two dosages of 5,000 IU, given once in 2 weeks to extend the luteal phase.

2.Clomiphene Citrate: These are also called human menopausal gonadotropins. These help in stimulating the ovaries to produce more follicles, which release more eggs.

3.Suppositories: Crinone, a vaginal gel, is used vaginally three times a day. The gel holds a progesterone dosage of 90 mg.

4.Pill Treatment: Prometrium oral progesterone medicines are administered at a 200 mg dosage per day.

5.Injections: Intramuscular progesterone is administered with a dose of 25 to 50 mg per day. The injection uses crystalline and odorless progesterone powder dissolved in sesame oil.
The luteal phase that lasts around 14 days is the time when the female body, prepares the womb for the fertilized ovum. You should have a luteal phase of both sufficient length and health to sustain a pregnancy. You can consult a doctor for mid-luteal phase progesterone
test to check if everything is normal.

ALSO, READ Is pregnancy possible after vasectomy?

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Pregnancy

3 Professional Tips For Successful Pregnancy After Two Miscarriages

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a woman stained with blood after a miscarriage

 


Have you had several miscarriages, or you have lost hope of conceiving again, then this article will lighten you up, and help you get pregnant conveniently, and avoid frequent miscarriages.

Recurrent miscarriage can be your worst nightmare and experience, it invites fear, anxiety, and pains, but don’t give up on your motherhood dreams, the excitement that comes from being a mother has always been blissful. So cheer up because in this article you will find useful tips on how to plan a healthy pregnancy and stay safe without the fear of losing your baby.

ALSO, READ 18 REASONS YOU ARE NOT GETTING PREGNANT

COMMON CAUSES OF MISCARRIAGE


Miscarriage is the death of an embryo that occurs spontaneously before the 20th week of pregnancy. According to research, close to 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. Chromosomal abnormality in the developing embryo is the commonest cause of miscarriage. Health conditions like uncontrolled diabetes or problems with the cervix or uterus can also cause miscarriage.
Miscarriage normally takes place once, and the majority easily conceive after it. A study shows that below 5% of women have two consecutive miscarriages, and only 1% of women have three or more consecutive miscarriages. It simply means that there is a high 75% chance to conceive again. After three miscarriages, there are still 65% chances of getting pregnant again without the fear of miscarriage.
Some major causes include:
⭐ Hormonal imbalance
⭐Chromosomal abnormalities
⭐ Thyroid disorder
⭐ Physical complication
⭐ Immunological disorder & chronic illness
⭐Use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco during pregnancy. etc.
These are some of the major causes of miscarriages in women, some are caused by the activities you engage in or things you consume that could cause alterations, while others are as a result of the reactions or disorders in the body.

USEFUL TIPS TO PLAN A SUCCESSFUL PREGNANCY AFTER TWO MISCARRIAGES


1.Take a break

Miscarriage can cause a very deep feeling of loss, and internal pains both emotionally and physically. It’s painful to think that the baby you have been preparing for is no more, taking a break will help you recover from the shock emotionally and physically.

For conception to take place your entire body system must function properly so that you have a healthy and safe pregnancy. It is advisable you wait for two months or more before trying to get pregnant again. If you had a late miscarriage then you should wait for 6months or more before conceiving again, if you are 35 years or above, then you need to try soon because time is no longer on your side, waiting will not do you any good.

2.Recovering physically

After the miscarriage, the body is still weak and unstable, the uterus needs some time to be strong again and ready to nurture the embryo. It takes time for the lining of the endometrium to become healthy and strong again after a miscarriage.

If the body is not yet fit for conception then another miscarriage might spring up. Doctors usually advise that women should wait for some months before planning another pregnancy in order to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Taking a good decision and having a health plan to ensure your next pregnancy is safe aids your baby’s development and growth. You can take some folic acid supplements and prenatal vitamins some months before conception. Your weight should also be in check, excess weight affects conception and pregnancy, ensure to include physical activities in your day-to-day routine. Consume a healthy diet and reduce the quantity of caffeine intake, avoid drugs, smoking, drinking, and do not be exposed to radiations and stress.

3.Consult a medical Gynecologist
After a miscarriage or series of miscarriages consult a gynecologist, to give you medical guidelines on how to plan for a safe pregnancy and also recommend some tests to identify any health challenge that may cause further complications in the future. You may be placed under medication to prepare the body for conception and avoid further miscarriages.

CRITICAL DIAGNOSTIC TESTS
Here are some tests a doctor will recommend to detect any disorder or imbalance before trying to conceive again.

1.Blood Test
A blood test will indicate if there is an underlying problem with the immune system or the hormonal balance in your body.

2.Chromosomal Tests
Couples should undergo this test. It helps to detect any chromosomal abnormalities, that may cause a miscarriage.

3.Ultrasound
An ultrasound test makes use of sound waves to produce images of the internal organs. The doctor may recommend an abdominal scan to get the images of the uterus.

4.Hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopy is a test whereby the doctor inserts a small telescope, through the cervix into the uterus. He examines the openings of the Fallopian tubes and the wall of the uterus to check for any underlying effects or alterations.

5.Sonohysterogram:
During this test, a doctor injects fluid into the uterus through the cervix. It’ll enable him to identify any issue in the lining of the uterus.
The outcome of your test results determines the medical advice and treatment that will be given by your doctor to ensure that your next pregnancy is safe and healthy. You can always have a safe and healthy pregnancy if you are in a state of peak health and a sound mind.

ALSO, READ PREGNANCY AT AGE 50; IS IT ADVICEABLE?

REFERENCE:

1. 3 Expert Tips For Successful Pregnancy After Two Miscarriages

2. All About Pregnancy After Miscarriage | Parents

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Pregnancy

18 REASONS YOU ARE NOT GETTING PREGNANT

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Why you're not getting pregnsnt




To an extent, the sight of pregnant women and babies on screen and in your neighborhood could even Intensify your cravings to become pregnant (usually as a married person). You are ready to conceive or give birth and pregnancy is not forthcoming, it becomes something to worry about, and finding the cause and possible solution is paramount. The joy of motherhood, conceiving and carrying your own baby, is what almost every woman craves.

There are many reasons why a woman of reproductive age would find it difficult to get pregnant. These reasons differ among individuals, depending on your body mechanism. Apparently, most people don’t get pregnant at their first attempt. Whether this is your first attempt at conceiving or you’re beginning to count months of futile efforts, be aware that there are some infertility mysteries that could cause havoc to pregnancy. Below are some that may be stopping you from getting pregnant.

1. Stress

stress
This can be as a result of undue pressure on the body which then causes internal tension. Stress causes the body to wear out. You burn out a lot of energy that could mediate the hormones in the body to be very active and perform their various functions in the body, both sexually and metabolically. It affects you emotionally, mentally, and physically, you can’t function under stress, your body too. Conception requires stability, for proper hormonal activities to take place.

“When you’re stressed, your adrenal system takes a hit. Your body isn’t going to say, ‘Okay, let’s get pregnant.’ Learning to say no and to take time for yourself is important for improving your chances of having a baby.” Says Via Bitidis, co-director of the North Toronto Naturopathic Clinic. The naturopathic doctor opines that balance and calm are a crucial part of trying to conceive.

Megan Karnis, medical director of The ONE Fertility Clinic in Burlington, Ont., agrees with a word of caution: “A lot of women think the best thing to do when you’re stressed is to take time off work. In my experience, that doesn’t help, because it makes a woman feel she has to get pregnant in that time, and then the stress to get pregnant is so much higher,” she says. Instead of altering your day-to-day routine entirely, Karnis recommends counseling, art therapy, meditation, and exercise to reduce stress levels.

2. Lack of Sleep
Sleep is the state of reduced consciousness during which a human or animal rests in a daily rhythm. It’s also an act of total body shut down for adequate rest. Inadequate sleep delays menstruation as a result of induced stress and will also alter your ovulation.
Some chemical substances stimulate sleep. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that stimulates sleep response, and if this is missing one could find it difficult to sleep well. Lack of sleep (or its inadequacy) induces stress which affects and weakens the immune system. This reduces the strength of the immune system to release antigens and antibodies that fight against infection or other foreign bodies that invade the body. It also limits the chances of getting pregnant.

Karnis adds that “This applies to men as well. Infections can cause fever and that excess heat can damage the sperm temporarily.” Furthermore, she said, “Women who don’t get enough sleep can also start to feel anxious, which may cause missed periods.”
Keeping yourself healthy is the baby bottom line, so set the PVR to record Mad Men and enforce a new bedtime.

3. Unstable Cycle
“A lot of women don’t understand their own cycles,” says Bitidis. Most people were taught the normal 28-day cycle in high school, but women are different and cycles differ in duration. You will find it easier to conceive if you observe your ovulation and have sex at the right time.
“We teach women that ovulation is two weeks before your period. Most people think that it’s two weeks after, but that’s only if you have a four-week cycle. The biggest thing is timing.
“We also teach people about sperm life—they can live for three days in the cervix, so you don’t have to have sex on the day of ovulation, it could be the day before. We also find that a lot of people don’t know that lubricant decreases sperm motility and transfer, so you shouldn’t use lubricant when you’re trying to get pregnant,” says Karnis.

4. Weight Problem
Weight can actually affect conception. Underweight or overweight individuals find it pretty difficult to get pregnant. “An undernourished body can cause a change in ovulation and alter ovulation.” Says Bitidis. “In the same vein, too much weight can have a great effect on fertility.”
“Just being over your ideal weight decreases your chance of getting pregnant even if you are ovulating regularly.” Says Karnis. “The further you stay above 25 on the Body Mass Index, the worse it gets,” Bitidis adds that maintaining a healthy diet and developing a reasonable exercise routine will do wonders for both your mind and body.

5. Bio-Feedback
Planning for pregnancy in a year’s time might be a good decision if you’re preparing to raise a family soon. It could help you adjust your lifestyle. If you want to try it out now, note that it can take time. Experts say it takes up to a year to get pregnant, but If you are worried that it’s been long enough, speak to your healthcare personnel about your alternatives, for fertility counseling and treatment.
There are people who struggled and battled with pregnancy, but they eventually conceived when they calmed down and allowed it to come on its thought. Just have a positive thought, relax, and conception will take place. Most times pregnancy occurs when you least expect it, be sure to worry less.
If you want to have sex, do it right and the right number of times. Dr. Curtis recommends having intercourse every day or every other day during your most fertile period. Try to know your most fertile period and stick to it, more than that could exhaust your spouse’s sperm count. Less than that and you may miss that crucial fertility timing.

6. You Are Too Preoccupied
No matter what you do, pregnancy cannot be planned. Lots of women take about six months or more to have a regular cycle after they quit contraceptives. Ovulation would likely not take place until the cycle is normal or regular.
Pro Tip: Take some months to study and monitor your cycle, and note your ovulation. If there’s no ovulation, then seek medical attention. Conception becomes easier when you know your cycle.

ALSO, READ Ovulation Symptoms: 7 Signs of Ovulation

7. You Depend On the “Good Enough” Idea.
Thinking you are “good enough” will not help you get pregnant.
Can you monitor and understand your ovulation? It will be difficult to conceive if you can’t because some women have their ovulation in their mid-cycle. Cycles are peculiar to every woman. Some have 21 days, 28 days, and others as far as 31.

A lot of women ovulate 14 days before their periods, for instance, if you have a 24-day cycle, ovulation would be within day 10. If you have irregular periods or you can’t remember the last time you menstruated, this info can be quite confusing for you.
Another regular mistake is not counting from the first day of your cycle. The first day of menstruation is the day you start bleeding –not the second or previous day. Fertility can come down to hours, you should know the accurate timing of your cycle.
Dr. Curtis suggests using ovulation predictor kits, available over the counter. Keeping a calendar to track your cycle can be helpful. Using an online ovulation predictor or a mobile phone app works too.

8. Turning Blind Eyes to Your Worries
Settle down and resolve any health challenge before you try to conceive. You might be concerned about your constant irregular cycle or ovulation issues. You may have diabetes or other health challenges. It’s ok to be worried, more importantly, don’t try to ignore those worries. You should put everything in check before trying to get pregnant. Seek medical attention from your doctor.

9. Keeping an Unhealthy Lifestyle
A lot of women expose themselves to risk factors, especially ones that promote infertility; alcohol, smoke, drugs. The early stage of pregnancy is a very sensitive period of foetus development and you have to be mindful of what you consume. When it comes to alcohol, smoking and drugs behave as if you are already pregnant, because they are dangerous for you and impede conception.

10. Anovulation
Conception needs a sperm and an egg; If you don’t ovulate you can’t conceive. Anovulation is always an issue for conception, it can be stimulated by changes, conditions, and hormones.
Posterior Capsular Opacifations (PCOs) is one cause of anovulation. Others could be underweight or overweight, thyroid dysfunction, primary ovarian insufficiency, excessive exercise, and hyperprolactinemia.
Many women suffering from ovulation problems always have an irregular cycle. Nevertheless, a regular period does not guarantee ovulation. If you are having irregular cycles, see a doctor immediately for medical advice.

11. Too Quick to Move Out
There is a scientific and anecdotal backing here. You do not need to rush to the bathroom to wash off or douche; it’s better to lie flat on the bed, hips elevated, within 20 to 30 minutes after sexual intercourse to allow the sperm to go in well. This can be a remedy to about 80% of infertility issues.
Although douching might seem like a natural next level in your pregnancy making procedure, it’s obviously not nice. Douches can act as a spermicide, changing the PH of your vagina. “This has been shown to impair fertility,” Dr. Curtis says.

12. You Are Not Trying Long Enough
The question of how long have you tried, maybe a factor. For some, conception comes easy, but most women don’t conceive as easy as it is pronounced — it may take a longer process before conception can occur. You might want to check how long and consistent you have been. It could be that you really have not done much.
Close to 80% of women conceive after 6 months of trying, about 90% get pregnant in 12 months of trying to conceive. This can occur if you have a well-timed and planned intercourse monthly.

13. Your Man Is the Problem
Women are to conceive but it takes two to make it work, yeah? 20 or 30% of couples having fertility problems, notice fertility issues in the man, while 40% discover infertility in both couples.
One Important thing to note is that male infertility is usually asymptomatic; they rarely show symptoms of any underlying conditions. Without analyzing the semen, a test that checks or measures the quality and quantity of semen and sperm, one would not know there’s a problem. If you are seeing a doctor, make sure the both of you are properly tested.

14. Age-Related Infertility
Age affects fertility too. For women above 35 and men above 40, it could take a longer time to conceive. Some think having regular and normal cycles means they are safe, but it’s far from the truth. Your age affects egg quality and quantity.

15. Underlying Medical Problems
Some underlying medical conditions. For instance, undiagnosed diabetes, hormonal changes or imbalance, or a thyroid imbalance could cause infertility. When it’s not properly comprehended, depression is likely to occur in infertility. Autoimmune diseases, like undiagnosed sexually-transmitted infections and lupus, can lead to infertility.

Prolonged Untreated Infection
Infection is also one of the major causes of infertility. A prolonged infection destroys the endometrium and fallopian tubes, reducing your chances of conceiving. It affects both the man and the woman. In cases like this, early diagnosis and treatment help to prevent further damage and infertility.

• Blocked Fallopian Tubes
Ovulatory issues account for almost 25% of infertility in women. Others can be issues with uterine structural problems or endometriosis and blocked fallopian tubes.

The fallopian tubes happen to be the footpath between the uterus and ovaries. The fallopian tubes do not connect to the ovaries directly. The Sperm must swim up from the cervix, through the uterus, and then into the fallopian tubes.

When an egg is released from the ovaries, hair-like projections from the fallopian tube go close to the egg internally. Conception occurs in the fallopian tube, where the egg and sperm finally meet. If something stops the fallopian tubes from functioning very well, hindering the sperm and egg from meeting, you can’t conceive.

There are so many causes of blocked fallopian tubes. Most women with blocked fallopian tubes have pains in the pelvic region, others do not have or rarely have symptoms. Only fertility tests can ascertain for blocked fallopian tubes. An HSG is a special type of X-ray used to check if the fallopian tubes are opened. It can be requested by your Obstetrician or Gynecologist (OB/GYN).

• You Have Endometriosis
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium-like tissue (a mucus membrane that lines the uterus) is found in other places outside the uterus. It has been evaluated that 59% of women with this medical condition will find it difficult to conceive.
The commonest symptoms of endometriosis are pelvic pains (besides menstruation), and painful period. Nevertheless, not all women that experience this majority discover it during their infertility checkup.

16. No Testing or Treatment
Most couples with infertility issues, delay testing and treatment. The majority sit back and wait for miracles to occur. This is a mistake because most causes of infertility worsen as the undiagnosed disease progresses. The earlier you discover the cause, the easier for fertility treatment to work for you and for you to conceive. If you have been trying to get pregnant for a year, please seek medical attention.

17. Unexplained Infertility
About 10 to 20% of couples find no cause for their infertility. Some doctors would attribute this to a lack of proper diagnosis. To them, there is no such thing as “unexplained” infertility.
The truth is, even if there is no explanation for your infertility, you should still take medication to boost your fertility rate and avoid things that could expose you to infertility.

18. You’re Blaming Yourself
When infertility issues surface, we normally ask if the woman is the cause. According to Dr. Curtis, “cases of infertility are about 40 percent male, 40 percent female, and 20 percent a combination of both partners.”
Often the expectant woman runs to see her doctor for medical diagnosis, which is the wrong ¬– diagnosis should be done on both couples. The truth is it takes a healthy couple an average of 6 months to one year before conception can take place.

MEDICAL REFERENCE

  1. https://www.todaysparent.com/getting-pregnant/5-reasons-youre-not-getting-pregnant/
  2. https://www.parents.com/getting-pregnant/trying-to-conceive/get-pregnant-fertility-help/

ALSO, READ 21 Useful Tips To Improve Your Chances Of Pregnancy






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ALSO, READ Ovulation Symptoms: 7 Signs of Ovulation






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