Mandan News

Working on conceiving

Concerning Your Health
By Dr. Christie Iverson

What tips do you have for couples who want to conceive?
Basically, relax and let it happen. About 80 percent of couples conceive within one year of having regular unprotected sex. If you haven’t conceived after a year, make an appointment with an OB/GYN. Your doctor can do a semen analysis and other simple exams to see if there are medical reasons preventing pregnancy.

How do I know when I’m ovulating?
Some women know when they ovulate based on body changes they notice, such as slight discomfort or a change in discharge. Your temperature usually rises about half a degree right before ovulation. You can keep a basal body temperature chart to determine ovulation, purchase ovulation predictor kits over the counter or use a Smart Phone app to help you predict ovulation patterns. A normal cycle can be anywhere from 21 to 35 days apart, so ovulation varies from woman to woman and even between cycles for the same woman.

Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting pregnant?
Don’t overdo. Some couples think they have to have intercourse every day when the timing is right. Having intercourse every other day can give the sperm a chance to regenerate and may reap better results.

What decreases our chances of getting pregnant?
Smoking can decrease the sperm count. Repeated heat exposure from hot tubs, saunas or very hot baths that raise body temperatures may also decrease sperm count. Women whose body mass index is too low or too high often have irregular cycles and more trouble conceiving.

Does sexual position influence pregnancy?
That assumption has been around a long time, but there is no scientific data to support it. Sperm reach their target within a matter of minutes no matter what position is used.

Are lubricants helpful?
Lubricants may make sexual intercourse more enjoyable but they do not increase your chance of getting pregnant. In fact, some lubricants contain chemicals that can inhibit sperm from reaching their target.

What steps should we take before pregnancy?
Make a preliminary appointment with the OB/GYN you have selected. Begin taking adequate amounts of folic acid at least three months before you plan to become pregnant. Talk to your parents about any history of family birth defects. If a family history exists, your OB/GYN may recommend genetic tests. If you have a chronic disease and/or are on long-term prescription medications, your OB/GYN may adjust your medication levels prior to and during pregnancy.

Christie Iverson, MD, a board certified specialist in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN), sees patients at Sanford Obstetrics & Gynecology in Bismarck. Dr. Iverson is a fellow in the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has special interests in treating women with infertility and high-risk pregnancies. A graduate of the University of North Dakota School of Medicine in Grand Forks, she completed an OB/GYN residency at the University of Minnesota.