When you’re trying to build your family, it can be difficult to know exactly when you should seek medical assistance. Even though you may feel uncertain about the need to schedule an appointment, it is important to make sure everything goes smoothly as you try to conceive, especially if any of the following circumstances apply:
- Serious discussions between you and your partner have just begun about plans to have a baby.
- You have been trying to conceive (unprotected sexual intercourse) for 1 year and are under the age of 35.
- You are over the age of 35, and have been trying to conceive for 6 months.
Getting in touch with your doctor can help settle any uncertainty you may be feeling, and allows the doctor to take care of any fertility complications that might hinder your journey. This post provides useful inquiries you should ask to help you stay informed as you go through these appointments.
Appointments Prior to Trying
There are two main reasons for setting an appointment before you begin trying to conceive:
- To ensure that the health of both partners and your future baby is optimized as much as possible from the moment of conception throughout the pregnancy.
- To ensure that you can address any fertility complications as early as possible, which increases the likelihood of conceiving in less time.
At a preconception appointment, both partners will go through the standard physical screenings that will tell you about your reproductive and overall health. When your doctor asks questions, be sure to answer them as thoroughly as you can. Honest communication with your doctor is important and helps ensure that your doctor has all the necessary information needed to assist you in reaching your family planning goals.
If you have any information about health complications or environmental factors that could possibly harm your chances of conceiving or the development of a baby, you should be prepared to discuss these with your doctor as well. It is not uncommon for outlying factors to temporarily effect one’s reproductive health causing subfertility. Here a few questions to ask your doctor at this first appointment:
- Is it possible that any prior health complications (including STDs) or chronic health conditions influence our fertility? (Be sure to bring up anything specific that you have in mind.)
- Do you recommend that we alter any parts of our lifestyle to optimize our fertility?
- Should we be looking into any environmental factors around our home or in our workplaces that could be hurting our fertility?
- Should we look into our family history to find any possible complications we may experience when trying to conceive?
- Do any of our current medications or vitamins affect our ability to conceive or carry a healthy baby to term?
- Do you recommend any additional supplements to aid our chances of conceiving?
- Should we wait to have a baby until a specific time in the future? What is recommended to make sure that our fertility is optimized before that point?
Appointments While Trying
If you have been trying to conceive for 1 year (or 6 months if you are over 35), you should be looking to your doctor for professional advice and possibly a referral to see a fertility specialist.
If your preconception appointment covered the questions above, you and your doctor will be able to move forward into more advanced testing. If you and your doctor have not discussed these questions, now is the perfect time to go over them. Although fertility exams may seem intimidating, it is important that you continue to be involved and ask questions so that you clearly understand the process. Here are a few questions to ask the doctor as you continue through additional appointments:
- What are the possible environmental causes that could prevent conception?
- Which serious health conditions and complications do we need to look for that might be preventing conception?
- In order to rule out any of those health conditions and complications, what tests will my partner or I need to undergo?
If you have received a diagnosis, you should also ask:
- What are the treatments for my diagnosis? Level of invasiveness and expense?
- What kind of side effects are correlated to these treatments?
- Are there any natural treatments to deal with my diagnosis?
Don’t Procrastinate and Make these Appointments
You might feel reluctant to schedule these appointments; we completely understand. Consulting with a specialist about your fertility can be an uncomfortable process, but it can also alleviate your worries by providing answers.
Most of all, the assistance your doctor gives can be immensely helpful. Thanks to today’s advanced medical testing, 6 out of 7 couples who look for medical assistance in conceiving are provided with a diagnosis and useful tips to overcome their fertility complications.
We urge you to schedule an appointment with your doctor, and try to stay relaxed and informed. Doing this, while also asking the necessary questions, will help make the whole process of conceiving much less demanding on you – and may help you accomplish your family building goals much sooner