Ask any doctor and they’ll tell you… One of the most important parts of their job is to answer patients’ questions accurately and thoroughly. By providing this education, we can develop a stronger patient-provider relationship and empower women to make the most informed health decisions possible. Answering reproductive questions daily in our Connecticut office, we think it’s helpful to share the most common questions about women’s health, specifically those concerning female reproduction, as well as our answers.
Of course, your reproductive questions and concerns are best addressed with an in-person consultation with Dr. Garofalo. You can set up an appointment by clicking here.
1. How do I know when I am fertile?
A woman can become pregnant when she is ovulating. There are some telltale signs of ovulation that, while not certain, may clue you into when you’re most fertile. One is the nature of your cervical mucus. This mucus will often be transparent and sticky during ovulation.
Increased breast tenderness and sensitivity is another sign that some women experience when ovulating. However, one of the best ways to predict your most fertile days is by charting your monthly cycle. Ovulation peaks around 14 days before the beginning of your next period. If you have irregular periods, speak with your OB-GYN about other possible methods of determining your ovulation days.
2. How long does it typically take to become pregnant?
There is no “typical” timing scenario when it comes to conception. Every situation is unique. But according to the UK’s National Health Service, about 84% of couples successfully conceive within one year of consistent, unprotected sex. If you haven’t conceived after a year of trying, it’s certainly time to visit your OB-GYN. However, you do not have to wait a full year. You should feel free to ask your OB-GYN for guidance as soon as you feel you’re having difficulty conceiving.
3. Should I visit my doctor before I start trying to conceive?
Yes. Good prenatal care begins even before conception. It’s an excellent idea to see your OB-GYN for a physical exam and to begin important prenatal supplements before attempting to conceive.
4. What is the best day of my cycle to have intercourse to become pregnant?
Ovulation typically begins 12 to 14 days before your period starts, so anytime during this interval are the best times to try to conceive. Of course, increasing the frequency of intercourse a few days earlier or later will help the odds of conception.
5. Does progesterone supplementation help to prevent miscarriage?
With the exception of pregnancies conceived with In-Vitro-Fertilization (IVF), no studies have yet to support progesterone supplementation as a means to prevent miscarriage. As summarized in this publication by Harvard Medical School, the unfortunate truth is that doctors do not know the exact cause of every miscarriage. However, you can help reduce your chances of miscarriage with consistent prenatal care, exercise, a healthy diet, and avoiding harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs.
6. Is it safe to have sex during pregnancy?
Yes, it is almost always safe to have sex during pregnancy. As reported by the Mayo Clinic, there are some rare medical conditions where your OB-GYN may advise refraining from intercourse, but these are few and far between. Your partner will not injure the baby during sex, even in the third trimester, as the amniotic sac and amniotic fluid ensure your baby is well-protected.
7. Are vaccines safe in pregnancy?
Yes, vaccines are safe during pregnancy. It is especially important for pregnant women to receive the influenza vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) points out that pregnancy can lower your immune response and that pregnant women are more susceptible to the flu than women who aren’t pregnant. Vaccination is of the utmost importance for both your own health and the health of your unborn child. Vaccines stop the spread of preventable illnesses every day, and side effects are incredibly rare and mild.
8. How does my age affect my fertility?
Women reach peak fertility around their late teens to early twenties. Your chances of conceiving naturally gradually start to decline as you age. Female fertility decreases significantly in the mid-thirties, bottoming out at approximately age 40 to 45.
Pregnancy complications are more frequently seen in older women. For example, mothers over 40 have a greater risk of preeclampsia. Birth defects are also more common in children born to older mothers, particularly chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome. A woman who is 20 years old has a one in 1,480 chance of having a child with Down syndrome. This risk climbs dramatically to 1 in 85 among mothers who are 40 years old.
Have reproductive questions of your own?
Your OB-GYN’s office should be your first stop for fertility issues and reproductive questions. They can often help, and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist in fertility medicine.
About the Connecticut OBGYN Practice
Dr. John Garofalo, M.D., is an OBGYN located in Fairfield County, Connecticut, providing care for Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Rowaytan and the surrounding areas. He has more than 20 years of practice and surgical experience covering many facets of obstetrics and gynecology.
Laury Berkwitt, APRN, is a nurse practitioner specializing in women’s health in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Laury has a passion for providing quality women’s healthcare in a safe and comfortable manner by creating a trusting patient-practitioner relationship. She has been in practice for more than 10 years, caring for women of all ages.
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