Why Are You Not Getting Pregnant?

For a lot of couples, not getting pregnant despite repeated attempts may be frustrating. But before you conclude that either or both of you have a fertility problem, you should know that for a healthy couple with zero fertility complications, there is only a 25 percent chance of getting pregnant each month, which means that it can take 4 months or longer to conceive. Meanwhile, take a look at the 10 possible reasons you aren’t pregnant yet, beginning with the most benign and easily reversible one.

1. Mismatch Between Ovulation And Intercourse

If you have thought about family planning, it’s unlikely that you haven’t considered this aspect. Having sex on the day of ovulation may not be beneficial. The best day to have sex is the day before your ovulation. This gives the sperm to reach the fallopian tube and wait for the egg. While the sperm can live for 5 days inside your body, your egg is viable for 24 hours only. To increase the chances of conception, counting the first day of your last period as day 1, have sex from day 7 to day 20.

2. Smoking And Drinking

That some of your habits or addictions are called vices should give you a heads-up on their potential effect on your body. Many studies have proven repeatedly that smoking and drinking too much coffee or tea and alcohol can delay conception in women.

A study conducted on 4,000 couples aged between 24 and 44 advises women who have difficulty conceiving to reduce if not stop smoking altogether to increase their chances of becoming a mother.3 Women who smoked were found to have about half the fertility of non-smokers, and it delayed their times to conceive by 6 months to a year.

3. Use Of Commercial Lubricants

Once you have decided to have a baby, you may find that personal lubricants become almost a necessity because of the more than frequent lovemaking. But make sure they don’t come in the way of your efforts. According to a study, commercial lubricants were found to inhibit sperms from reaching the uterus and slowing them down by 60 percent.

This was seconded by another study, which added damage to sperm DNA as an effect of commercial vaginal lubricants. Both studies recommend using a natural lubricant like canola oil if you needed to use any.

4. Unhealthy Body Weight

Studies say that being underweight or overweight can reduce your chances of conceiving or delay pregnancy. In underweight women, there’s damage or irregularities in the hypothalamus. This leads to problems in the functioning of organs that are controlled by the pituitary gland – most important here being the ovary – which might manifest as amenorrhoea or lack of menstruation.

In obese women, this delay is often associated with the inability of estradiol, an estrogen, to bind to a protein called sex-hormone binding globulin. Only in this combined form can it be transported to the part of the brain that controls the reproductive organs and to other sex hormone receptor cells throughout the body. It’s been found that weight loss could bring about an 80 percent improvement in the menstrual function in obese women.

5. Lack Of Vitamin D In Winter

Yes, your chances of conception during winter may be going down because you are not getting enough of the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D. Almost 41.6 percent of Americans don’t get enough of this vitamin, which plays a crucial role in stimulating and balancing sex hormones. Your vitamin D deficiency may mean that you take longer to conceive or it could even expose you to a higher risk of miscarriage.

6. Stress

When it comes to fertility issues, stress can be both a cause and/or an effect of infertility. The pressure to have a baby at a certain age and the pressure that accompanies the possibility of infertility come crashing down upon the woman, and this sets off a vicious cycle.

A 2006 study reported finding an excessive amount of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the brain fluids of women who did not ovulate. Of the 16 women who were studied, 8 were given basic cognitive behavioral therapy and the rest no treatment at all. In 20 weeks, 80 percent of those who underwent therapy started ovulating again and 2 months later, 2 of them became pregnant.

7. Thyroid Problems

Women with hypo- or hyperthyroidism can find a disruption in their reproductive hormone balance, say studies. Thyroid disorders can wreak havoc in your menstrual cycle through problems like irregular periods, scanty bleeding, or flooding.

Patients with severe hyperthyroidism showed a higher prevalence of secondary amenorrhea or hypomenorrhea, which is a disruption or a total absence of menstruation for 3 or more months.

Low levels of thyroid function is associated with lower degree of estrogen and progesterone secretion and, hence, delayed or improper egg follicle maturation. It has also been linked with ovarian cysts, which can be another reason you aren’t able to conceive.

Fret not, you aren’t the only one. An estimated 20 million American women suffer from some kind of thyroid disorder, and 1 in 8 women has hypothyroidism. So the only way to go about is the straightforward one of taking routine treatment for hypothyroidism.

8. Toxins Like BPA And PCB

Many things that you use on a daily basis may be exposing youto harmful toxins – think of plastic water bottles, food cans, and even cash receipts. Increased contact with such things leads to the increased absorption of an estrogen-mimicking plastic-softening chemical called bisphenol A or BPA.

In a study at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, it was found that patients with high BPA levels produced 24 percent fewer eggs than average, of which 27 percent fewer could be fertilized.

Another toxin to look out for is PCB or polychlorinated biphenyl which, if present in either of the partners’ blood, decreases the odds of getting pregnant. Traces of PCB are nearly everywhere, but a major source is animal fat, especially meat and fish broth. Increased meat consumption (the study does not include beef, though) has also been linked to decreased semen quality in men.

 9. PCOS

Do you have irregular period cycles, heavy flow, excess body or facial hair but hair loss from the scalp, and excess body weight? These are symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. It can be confirmed by an ultrasound of your ovary. PCOS can be the reason for your failure to conceive despite multiple attempts. In women with PCOS, the higher than normal level of male hormones, specifically testosterone, and low levels of progesterone negatively affect the development of egg follicles and the release of the egg during ovulation. One of its obvious results is infertility.

A study claims that worldwide, about 10 percent of women in the reproductive age group suffer from this disorder, with the percentage rising to 20 to 30 in Caucasian women. Of the 10 percent, approximately two-thirds do not ovulate on a regular basis and require treatment for ovulation induction. There’s no reason to lose all hope, though. PCOS can be managed, and a good OB-GYN can help you plan your pregnancy despite the condition.

10. Radiation From Mobile Devices

This is more of a concern for men as studies have found that electromagnetic radiation from cellphones can cause sperm damage, especially if you are used to carrying the device in your pocket or close to your reproductive organs.

This can be attributed to the heat generated, causing a rise in temperature in the scrotum and the testes, which affects sperm production and development and fertility, even if the rise is by 1–2.9°C. A study found that even 15 minutes of working on a laptop while keeping it on the lap increases the temperature in the scrotum by 1°C. In the study itself, after two separate 60-minute sessions, the left scrotal temperature increased by a median 2.6°C and the right by a median 2.8°C.

Further to this, another study that tried to find the exact magnitude of damage caused found that a laptop connected to Wi-Fi causes further damage. When sperms isolated from test subjects were kept under a laptop connected to Wi-Fi, it turned out that 25 percent of the sperm had become immobile and 9 percent had DNA damage.

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