Good morning, Dr. I have been having this problem. We have been trying for a child for so long but nothing has happened. What can I do? Last time, she got pregnant but lost it. Months after, we began to try again. We want to get pregnant by December. Please, help Doc
A: I have received a lot of questions similar to this in recent times and I hope this will answer the others too.
You gave me no idea how long you’ve been trying for a baby.Not being able to have a child at the time that we expect it can be a harrowing experience…especially in Africa where a couple of months into your marriage, family members and even outsiders are beginning to look at you in suggestive ways. Some actually ask outright, ‘when are you guys planning to start having babies?’
However, in the medical world, we can only agree that perhaps there might be an issue after one full year of trying to have babies with no luck. This, however, implies that there is frequent and unprotected sexual intercourse. Frequency in this respect means that sexual intercourse should be at least 3 times in a week. Unprotected means that there should be no barrier protection like a condom. Don’t laugh…this has been known to happen. People use a condom and then expect to get pregnant 😀 The ejaculate (semen) should also be of significant volume.
So, if this has been established to have been happening for one year, the next thing is to run tests. The less ‘invasive’ tests are usually done first. This usually involves the husband who provides his semen for analysis. Other tests will now be run on the wife, which presumably has already happened in the case above.
Some causes of infertility in men include problems with the production of sperm, problems with the delivery of sperm, being exposed to environmental toxins (like sitting in hot tubs) and cancer.
Some causes of infertility in women include problems with ovulation, problems with the uterus and cervix, blockage or damage of the fallopian tube, thyroid problems, cancer etc.
Other risk factors for both sexes include use of alcohol and tobacco, being overweight or even underweight and age (the older people get, the more difficult it is to get pregnant).
Where a problem is identified, this is taken care of through various options like the use of drugs or surgery.
Oftentimes, no reason can be found for the infertility. In these instances, the couple may want to consider assisted reproduction. Your doctor will discuss the different options available in your area and if you can afford it, he will suggest other centers where better facilities exist.
Prevention of infertility is targeted at the risk factors. Quit smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, exercise moderately and keep your weight within normal limits.
Infertility is really nerve wracking, because nobody has an idea how long it’s going to last or what treatments are going to work best. Joining support groups and/or counseling sessions may be helpful during this period of waiting, patiently and prayerfully 🙂
Condolences on the loss of your baby. It is never an easy experience for anyone to go through. I’m really happy that you want to find out what happened and what to do to prevent this in future. I trust that you and your wife have found ways of openly discussing this with each other so that you both can air your hurts and heal together.
Unfortunately, often times, the cause of a miscarriage is not identified. Your wife needs to understand this so that she doesn’t blame herself unduly. Having said that though, first trimester miscarriages are mainly due to problems with the baby/fetus. These problems could be due to problems with the placenta. This is how the baby receives its nutrients in the womb and so, if this organ cannot deliver, a miscarriage might occur. There may also be a problem with the baby’s chromosomes, such that a baby may receive too many or too few genetic materials or there may be a damaged egg/sperm. Other associated risk factors include smoking and drinking alcohol, being overweight, malnutrition, increased maternal age, trauma and drug abuse. By the way, trimester is 3 months of pregnancy. So, first trimester refers to the 1st three months, 2nd trimester, the 2nd three months and 3rd trimester, the last three months
To try for a pregnancy again, remember to ensure there is unprotected sexual intercourse at least three times a week with ejaculation of sufficient amounts of semen. Your wife should start of folate supplements as soon as she can to prepare her and baby for the journey ahead.
To prevent a recurrence, focus on ensuring that your wife stays healthy and does not indulge in harmful habits like smoking and excessive alcohol drinking. Other helpful tips include eating healthy, keeping weight within normal parameters, avoiding trauma and not abusing drugs.
In addition, as soon as she gets pregnant again, she should register or antenatal as soon as possible and keep to her appointments religiously. She should also contact her obstetrician, even if she’s not due for an appointment, something may be wrong with her baby.
For more on this topic, please click on the link below:
Have a great day, people 😀