Before Baby - Week 1
By signing up to the “Before Baby” pre-pregnancy guide, you have made the first step in getting yourself into the best space mentally and physically, empowering you to conquer your fertility!
Fertility 101 – what you need to know
It’s the most ‘natural thing in the world’, but that doesn’t mean getting pregnant is always easy. Here, we bust some of the biggest myths and misconceptions about fertility.
- A woman’s age doesn’t impact fertility
No matter what you might have seen in gossip magazines, age absolutely does have an impact on a woman’s fertility – in fact, it’s the single most important factor. Egg count and quality both decline as women get older, particularly after the age of 36. There’s also an increased risk of miscarriage and chromosomal variations through ageing – so that’s worth knowing.
- You should ‘save up’ sperm so it becomes more potent
Ever heard someone say that a man should store up his sperm by limiting ejaculation? This is totally untrue. You actually need frequent ejaculation so that the best swimmers are continually ready to fertilise the egg, so it’s a good idea to ejaculate every two to three days to improve sperm health and increase motility (ability to move).
- You can get pregnant at any point in your cycle
Here’s a fact that might blow your mind: women only have a 20 per cent chance of conceiving each month. The only time you can get pregnant are in the days leading up to ovulation – that’s before the egg is released from the ovary, not necessarily during ovulation itself. This means the sperm, which are able to fertilise for two to three days, are already waiting in the fallopian tubes when you ovulate. So to get pregnant, the best time to have sex is at least every two or three days during your pre-ovulation ‘fertile window’.
It’s not always easy to figure out when you’re ovulating. At-home ovulation tests (available from pharmacies) or apps can be useful, but if you need a bit more help we offer ovulation cycle tracking, blood tests to monitor your cycle, as well as ovulation induction – a pill to bring on ovulation.
- Fertility issues are usually due to a problem on the woman’s side
In 35 per cent of cases, infertility is caused by female factors, but in an equal 35 per cent the issue is on the man’s side. In another 20 per cent of cases it’s due to a combination of factors on both sides, and the remaining 10 per cent is unexplained.
For men concerned about their fertility levels, it’s a good idea to get a semen analysis test to measure the number of sperm, their motility (ability to move), size and shape, volume and consistency.
- Men remain fertile into old age
There’s a common misconception that men can continue fathering children well into their 60s, 70s and even 80s, but the reality is that a man’s age does contribute to infertility. Sperm quality declines with age, and the chance of ‘sperm DNA damage’ increases – which can cause complications in both pregnancy and after birth. That means it’s important to start thinking about fertility early, rather than assuming age won’t be a factor in your family plans.
How can I boost my fertility?
Regardless of what stage of the pre-pregnancy journey you’re at, it makes sense that you’d want to give your body the best chance of conception. There are some simple lifestyle changes that can make a big difference. We recommend you adopt simple lifestyle strategies such as:
- Avoiding smoking
- Avoiding body-building steroids and recreational drugs
- Maintaining a healthy weight with a balanced diet and exercise
- Start taking folic acid tablets one month prior to conception and continuing throughout your pregnancy