What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After 40?

Currently Viewing Posts in Uncategorized

What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant After 40?

Interestingly, more women above the age of 40 are having babies. The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the rate of above 40 pregnancies has increased since the 1970s. Between 1990 and 2012, the number of first-time births in women aged above 40 has more than doubled.

The notion that life begins after 40 could be true for some. 

However, for women, turning 40 their chances of getting pregnant reduces with age. The likely reason for this is as you age, your ovary count declines. Women in the 20 to 30 age range have a high likelihood of getting pregnant in every menstrual cycle. Unfortunately, this probability reduces with increased age.

If you’re reading this and you’re in your 40’s, wondering what your odds are at getting pregnant, worry not; there is a silver lining. You can still get pregnant at 40 and have a healthy baby. A few years back, this was different although statistics showed an increase in the birth rate for women aged 40-44. 

Thanks to advances in modern medicine, fertility treatments are significantly improving women’s reproductive health. To understand more about your chance of getting pregnant at 40, we’ve detailed all the fundamentals to guide you through a healthy pregnancy. Let’s dive in.

Getting Pregnant at 40

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 30% of women aged 40-45 are infertile. As alarming as the statistic may be, a woman is most fertile  between her late teens and 20s. Once you hit 30, your fertility starts to decline. The decline becomes more rapid by your mid-30s. By the age of 40, your fertility becomes low and natural conception becomes difficult.

Age plays a significant factor in your TTC journey. As you get older, your chances of conceiving reduce. Every month, women above the age of 40 have a 5% chance of conceiving compared to women aged 30 whose probability lies at 20%.

However, women above the age of 40 are getting pregnant using fertility treatments such as Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). ART is a method for treating infertility where the sperm and eggs are mixed outside the body and later introduced into the woman’s body. An example of such a treatment is In Vitro Fertilization.

While ART may produce significant results that lead to conception, our recommendation is to opt for ART after prescribed fertility medication fails to yield positive results. For starters, the technique is expensive and is barely covered by insurance. You may run up a bill of $10,000 or more for ART treatments. In comparison, fertility drugs are more affordable and can similarly lead to conception. Depending on your doctor, the medical treatments will cost you less than $1,500.

While getting pregnant at 40 is possible, it has its fair share of risks. It is fundamental to understand what these risks are and how to go about them.

Advantages of Getting Pregnant After 40

Getting pregnant at 40 has plenty of benefits to it. Don’t let our biological clock fool you; you can still have a beautiful family at your prime age.  Most women opt to get pregnant at an older age for valid reasons. Here are some of the benefits to it:

Well-Established Life

Raising a child requires financial preparedness. As such, people opt for having kids after achieving a better financial status. This allows them to cater for the child’s needs fully. A child’s medical care can run up your bill, especially if you’re partying out-of-pocket. By the age of 40, most women have worked, saved, and invested enough not to feel the overwhelming financial burden of raising a kid.

More Time for Family

By the age of 40, it is assumed that you’ve checked off items on your bucket list. The road trip with your friends; done and dusted. A reckless expedition in an unknown town; done. You probably feel it’s the right time to settle and have a family. With the other activities out of the way, you can spend more time nurturing your child and growing your family.

It is also the pinnacle of experience, having lived close to half a decade. You’re more experienced and mature to handle the responsibility of bringing up a child.

Longer Lifespan and Better Cognitive Abilities

Studies suggest that children born to older women tend to have a higher IQ demonstrated by high graduation rates and test scores. Besides, children can promote a longer life span in their parents and reduce mental decline as they age.

You Are Certain About Your Path

Statistics suggest that 45% of early marriages often lead to divorce. Although there are other underlying reasons, we often don’t end up spending forever with partners we met in our 20s. At 40, you are certain of your life choices and the path you are on. Evidently, this is the right time to have a child. You are also certain of the partner you met, reducing the chances of divorce or separation that affects the child’s welfare and upbringing.

Healthier Lifestyle

An older mindset comes with better decisions. We can’t deny that our teens and 20s were filled with impulsive decisions with less regard for our health. At age 40, your choices matter, and most people advance towards a healthy lifestyle. This means by 40; your body is in a healthy position to support a pregnancy.

What Are the Chances of Getting Pregnant Per Age Cluster?

Age is a factor that affects fertility. However, it’s not the only factor. Undeniably, advancing in age reduces the number of eggs and their quality as well. A person in their 20s has more viable eggs compared to someone who just turned 25.

To understand infertility, it’s essential to understand all factors around it. For starters, you’re born with close to 7 million eggs, and by the time you hit puberty, you have about 300,000 to 400,000 remaining. To shed more light on fertility, here’s how your chances of conception change with age:

20s Pregnancy

The chances of conceiving in your 20s are predominantly high. At this age, your body is healthy so are your eggs and sperms. Moreover, you have more eggs being released during ovulation. Although, the drawback sits in emotional and financial preparation. Most women or couples are never adequately prepared for the highs and lows of bringing up a child. Regardless, the chances of conception for a 20s pregnancy ranges between 57% to 62% after six cycles and 70% to 78% after 12 cycles.

30s Pregnancy

At age 30, your chance of getting pregnant slightly declines. The decline becomes more rapid at age 35. Compared to your 20s, your chance of getting pregnant ranges between 61% to 46.3%  after six cycles and 77% to 67% after 12 cycles. The decline in the percentage signifies the increase in age. The more you age, the lower your chances of conception.

40s Pregnancy

Despite the highlight that 35 marks the rapid decline of fertility in women, more mothers are getting pregnant at age 40 and above. An underlying reason for this is the introduction of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that improves fertility in aged women. 

What Is the Fastest Way to Get Pregnant at 40?

Due to the declining number and quality of eggs in women above 40, the chances of getting pregnant at age 40 and above become slimmer. Despite most women appearing quite young and youthful in their 40s, their biological clock is ticking away.

Based on statistics, at age 40, you have a 5% chance of conceiving during your menstrual cycle. However, this should not alarm you. There are steps you can take to improve your fertility and likelihood of getting pregnant at 40 and above. Here’s how:

Get Pre-conception Advice

To get the best out of your pregnancy journey, it’s best to walk it with your doctor. Seeking an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN’s)counsel before Pregnancy helps you understand your body and its preparedness for Pregnancy.

Additionally, it’s also essential to outline any underlying conditions that would complicate your Pregnancy. Prevention is often better than cure, and for a woman in your prime age, preconception counseling will aid you in planning your Pregnancy while watching out for risks. The planning journey could constitute fertility treatments or medication to balance your hormones.

Take up Healthy Habits

At age 40, it’s the right time to double back on unhealthy living and take up dieting and exercise. In your 20s, an unhealthy lifestyle wouldn’t hinder you from getting pregnant. However, at 40 and above, your system is slowing down, and the best way to keep it active is with healthy habits. Eating a nutrient-rich diet and exercising helps keep you in impeccable shape. Not to say that your body’s shape is a prerequisite to getting pregnant; however, having a healthy weight is prudent.

What’s more, it is advisable to steer clear of caffeine and alcohol. Some doctors would prescribe eating a high-fat diet. No, this doesn’t mean consuming loads of junk but fats in ketogenic diets. Fats, such as cholesterol,  play a crucial role in producing reproductive hormones such as Progesterone, Estrogen, and Testosterone. 

Consider Taking Supplements

The CDC advises all women embracing the trying to conceive (TTC) journey to take 400 micrograms (400 mcg) of folic acid daily. Folic acid is vital in preventing the development of congenital disabilities known as Neural Tube Defects (NTDs).

In addition to taking folic acid, adding coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) to your daily supplement is advisable. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that is found in the human body’s cells. The enzyme exists in the form of ubiquinone, an oxidized state, and ubiquinol, an active and reduced state. CoQ10 plays an active role in energy production. The enzyme supports various metabolic functions and protects cells from free radical damage. However, we’ll focus on its role in Pregnancy.

Taking CoQ10 helps improve your egg quality and promotes successful IVF outcomes. As you may know by now, aging causes a natural decline in your fertility and egg quality. With CoQ10, you can counter the effects of ovarian aging by revitalizing the energy and mitochondrial production roles. In turn, this promotes the development of a quality embryo, increasing your chances of a healthy above-40 pregnancy.

In addition to improving embryo quality, CoQ10 also enhances the rate of fertilization and Pregnancy while reducing the cases of stillbirth.

Steer Clear From Stress

Evidently, every human faces a stressful situation. Being pregnant is no different. It comes with an overwhelming sensation of stress and mixed emotions. Some of it stems from the body changes or hormones that induce mood changes. As a woman over 40 looking to get pregnant, you should avoid stress at all costs. Stress causes several health problems, especially during pregnancy. It can cause high blood pressure and heart complications.

Taking up practices such as tai chi or yoga will help balance the stress levels in your body, promoting blood supply in your uterus. The pressure of getting a child may get to you as you hit 40, but be wary. Stressing about it may counter your efforts to get pregnant.

Track Your Menstrual Cycle

Women who hit 40 often ovulate earlier than usual. Women in their 20s to 30s stand a chance of getting pregnant between the 12th to the 14th day if they’re on a 28-day menstrual cycle. Therefore, if you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s best to understand the right time to have sex. In most cases, you may ovulate on day nine or day 10.

The ideal way to know the right time is through tracking your menstrual cycle. Ovulation happens a fortnight before your next scheduled period. With a period tracker app, you can time your next ovulation. You can also use an ovulation kit and check for cervical mucus. Timing your ovulation increases your chances of getting pregnant. It is advisable to have coitus with your partner before, after, and during ovulation. This is because the eggs and sperm stay in the body for a few days before absorption.

Consider an Egg Donor

Sadly, most women above the age of 45 cannot conceive with their eggs because the quality of eggs is quite low to support a healthy pregnancy. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t carry a child.

A suitable alternative for an over-40 pregnancy is donor eggs. With donor eggs, you can still have a biological child. Your partner’s sperm will fertilize the egg while your blood will nourish the fetus. Moreover, it is an affordable option compared to other fertility treatments.

If you’re planning to have a baby later in life, you should consider the following methods and discuss them with your doctor.

Oocyte Preservation

Also known as egg freezing, oocyte preservation is a medical procedure that preserves a woman’s eggs. Women use this technique to postpone their Pregnancy to a later date. The doctor extracts some eggs from your ovaries and freezes them for later use in an IVF procedure.

The procedure is common in women who are yet to start radiotherapy or chemotherapy and those undergoing Assisted Reproductive Technologies who don’t wish to freeze their embryos. Over and above that, if you’re thinking of a later pregnancy and your family has a history of early menopause, it’s advisable to preserve a few viable eggs.

Intro Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is a popular assisted reproductive technology (ART) that involves complex steps and procedures to combat infertility and genetic complications. When planning a pregnancy above 40, IVF is a common procedure that doctors recommend.

It involves collecting eggs from your ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in the lab. As mentioned, IVF also gives you a chance to raise your biological child since you get to use your partner’s sperm and your eggs. After fertilization, the egg(s) are injected into the uterus for implantation. An IVF cycle takes three weeks or longer.

In other cases, you can also have a surrogate carry the baby. This procedure will still involve your eggs and your partner’s sperm. However, the surrogate will take your baby to term. The surrogate option is ideal if you’re experiencing medical problems with your uterus or have a condition that makes Pregnancy a huge risk for you.

Fertility Medications

An inexpensive fertility treatment option is fertility medications. If you have trouble conceiving, your doctor will perform several tests to ascertain the root cause. Some of these tests include ovulation testing, ovarian reserve testing, hysterosalpingography, imaging, and hormone testing.

The treatment you receive depends on the reason for infertility, age, personal preferences, and length of infertility. Fertility drugs invoke ovulation as your body’s hormones would. Sometimes the treatment would trigger ovulation or simulate the ovary to produce a better egg. Notably, since fertility is a complex process, fertility medication requires financial, physical, and psychological commitments.

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

IUI is a form of artificial insemination where concentrated sperm is directly inserted into your uterus. The procedure involves using a small catheter and a speculum to place the sperm in your uterus during ovulation.

It is a common method used by women who wish to become pregnant by donor sperm. It’s also a to-go-to procedure for unexplained infertility as the first treatment option.

Chances of Getting Pregnant at 40 During Ovulation

By the time you hit 40, you have a 5% chance of conceiving during ovulation. Although your fertility declines with age, it is still possible to get pregnant. The only drawback is that it’s harder to conceive naturally in your 40s compared to previous years.  

While there are many underlying reasons for this aspect, a significant factor is the deterioration of your egg’s quality which can lead to the onset of genetic abnormalities in the infant. Furthermore, your ovarian reserve dwindles with age. This means by the time you hit 40; you have fewer eggs in store than you did probably 15 years back.

How Many Eggs Do You Have at 40?

Surprisingly, babies are born with ovaries that hold approximately 1 to 2 million eggs. This means you are born with the egg cells you’ll need your whole life. No other development takes place during your lifetime.  However, before puberty, you’ll lose close to 10,000 eggs each month.

At the onset of puberty, that’s when your menstrual cycle starts. This is after your brain triggers the hypothalamus to produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). At puberty, your ovarian reserve has around 300,000 to 400,000 eggs.

During your menstrual cycle, a group of eggs is selected as contenders for ovulation. The dominant bearing follicle will proceed with ovulation while the rest of the immature eggs are reabsorbed by the body (atresia). This further translates to a loss of 1,000 eggs each month. Even so, as you age, the number of eggs you lose each month decreases.

By the time you approach 40, you have close to 20,000 eggs in your body.

Good news, thanks to medical advances, women can now find out the number of eggs in their ovarian reserve. Doctors use the  Anti-Mullerian Hormone blood test to assess a woman’s ability to produce eggs; The test shows how many viable eggs you have left. The lower the AMH levels, the fewer eggs you have in your ovarian reserve.

FAQ

What Risks Are Associated With Getting Pregnant After 40?

Generally, women may face pregnancy complications at any age. However, at 40 and above, the likelihood of these complications occurring is more. Besides, getting pregnant may also be an uphill task because of menopause. Menopause is a normal biological process women over 40 go through. An indication of menopause is not having your periods. Some women may think they’re pregnant, but it is a sign their body is no longer ovulating.

Some women experience menopause in their 40s to 50s. Nonetheless, in the United States, the average menopause age is 51. You may beat the odds and get pregnant at this age. However, there are significant risks to it, such as;

Birth Defects

Birth defects in infants can occur with Pregnancy at any age. However, an over 40 pregnancy has a high probability of birth defects for the baby. A liable cause is the genetic abnormalities found in the eggs of mothers above 40. As you age, your eggs become more chromosomally absorbed.

There are many attributions to these abnormalities, such as the stress cumulation in the egg’s DNA strands or reduced levels of normal oocytes. According to the U.S National Birth Defects Prevention Study, women above the age of 40 are highly likely to deliver babies with birth defects that affect the lungs, heart, esophagus, skull, and genitals. The most common birth abnormality in infants is Down Syndrome. The chance of having a baby with down syndrome at age 40 increases to 1/70 compared to age 33, which stands at 1/400.

Preeclampsia

Being pregnant causes various changes in your body. Aside from putting a strain on your heart, it also causes the release of the progesterone hormone that raises your cholesterol and blood levels. This increase potentially leads to the onset of preeclampsia, especially for women with high blood pressure. Moreover, giving birth at age 40 and above raises your risk of preeclampsia by 3.1%.

Preeclampsia, also known as toxemia, manifests symptoms of kidney damage due to high protein levels in urine as well as other signs of organ malfunction. If not treated, preeclampsia can prove to be fatal or lead to severe complications for the baby and mother. Preeclampsia can lead to the development of eclampsia, a condition that causes seizures.

In most cases, as a proactive measure, doctors recommend early delivery of the baby. However, this depends on the condition’s severity and how far along you’re pregnant.

Low Birth Weight

Women above the age of 40 are likely to deliver babies with low birth weights. Infant low birth weight (LBI) refers to a baby born weighing less than 5 pounds, eight ounces. Babies with LBW are smaller with minimal body fat. Also, they have large heads that are disproportionate to their body.

The primary cause of LBW is growth restrictions by the fetus and premature birth (before 37 weeks). Growth restrictions occur if your baby is not getting adequate nutrition to gain weight during Pregnancy. An above-40 -Pregnancy comes with complications that can induce premature delivery of the baby leading to low birth weight. Infants born with low birth weight often spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit before getting discharged from the hospital.

Miscarriages

A woman above the age of 40 runs the risk of miscarriage. This risk increases with age, where 1 in every two pregnancies by women above the age of 45 results in a miscarriage. Fetal abnormalities cause miscarriages during gestation. The abnormalities are mostly genetic, and studies estimate that nearly half of all miscarriages occur due to missing or extra chromosomes.

As a woman ages, her egg quality declines, leading to a high risk of fetal genetic abnormalities. Therefore, the abnormalities are not inherited; rather, they occur during the splitting of cells during Pregnancy.

Still Birth

Going past your due date is risky. Although sometimes it may not be alarming, for women above 40, it could be a sign of stillbirth. After 40 weeks of gestation, the risk of a stillbirth heightens. It is crucial to monitor your baby’s movements and report any incidents to your doctor if you feel your baby moving less.

Large Baby

As an older mom, you pose the risk of having a large baby, a condition known as Macrosomia. This is when you deliver a baby over 4.5 kg or 10lb. Medical practitioners attribute this condition to gestational diabetes, which is prevalent in women above the age of 40.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that develops in pregnant women. The conditions affect how your body absorbs sugar (glucose). It tends to cause high blood sugar, complicating your Pregnancy and affecting your baby’s health. Women above 40 have a higher chance of developing gestational diabetes than women between the ages of 20 to 30.

The good news is you can control it. Eating healthy meals, doing light exercises, and taking medication help to regulate sugar levels. Keeping your blood sugar levels in check is ideal to ensure safe delivery and keep your baby healthy.

Gestational Hypertension

As mentioned earlier, being pregnant puts a strain on your organs, including your heart. Older women have a high risk of gestational hypertension, a condition where you develop high blood pressure during Pregnancy. You may confuse it with preeclampsia. Yet, the two are medically different.

Gestational hypertension often arises after 20 weeks of Pregnancy. In most cases, it goes away after delivery, but some women who get diagnosed have a high likelihood of developing chronic hypertension.

Cesarean Delivery

As you age, your uterine muscles become less effective. As a result, an above-40 pregnancy will likely lead to a cesarean delivery. Moreover, your doctor may advise having a cesarean delivery due to the risk of having a large baby.

Ectopic Pregnancy

The risk of an ectopic pregnancy rises with age; hence women over 40 tend to develop this type of Pregnancy. Ectopic Pregnancy refers to the implantation of the fertilized egg in the fallopian tube. In a normal pregnancy, the egg is fertilized in the fallopian tube and is expected to travel down to the uterus for implantation. If an ectopic pregnancy occurs, the embryo needs to be removed since there is less room for growth. In worst cases, the pregnancy could lead to a rapture of the fallopian tubes, which is fatal for the mother. Other symptoms of ectopic pregnancy include sharp abdominal pains and severe uterine bleeding.

Do Abnormal Eggs Ovulate?

As indicated, the quality of your eggs goes down with age. It is not unusual for a sperm to fertilize an egg that is deemed to be abnormal. However, your body can tell that the egg is abnormal, resulting in the embryo not implanting in the uterus.

In the rare case where implantation takes place, a miscarriage may ensue since the embryo will fail to develop.

Final Thoughts

Despite people’s opinion, getting pregnant at 40 and above is possible. There is never a defined time to start your family, so take your time and don’t succumb to the pressure. When you’re ready to have a child at 40, talk to your doctor about the risks and ways to mitigate them in order to achieve a successful pregnancy. All the best!

Is It Harder To Get Pregnant When Overweight?

Getting pregnant when overweight

Good news! You can get pregnant when overweight or obese. Pregnancy is a joyful time. It is also a period that harbors conflicting emotions. Some women experience joy, shock, scary or overwhelming episodes.

For many, it is a period of overwhelming joy and exhilaration. However, for some women, this may not be the case. More often than not, doctors advise overweight and obese women against pregnancy. 

Most doctors would advise you to shed weight before a pregnancy. This is because a woman’s weight bears significant implications that complicate the joyous process of pregnancy.

In the United States, more than half of pregnant women are obese. 8% of this statistic is considered to be extremely obese. Although medical practitioners advise against getting pregnant if you’re overweight, there are ways to circumvent it to ensure you have a safe and risk-free delivery. In this article, we’ll cover all the nitty gritty that relates to obese pregnancy.

Can Obese Women Get Pregnant?

Yes, obese women can get pregnant; however, the chances are slim. Obesity makes it harder for women to conceive since it hinders ovulation. If you’re considering getting pregnant, a doctor may advise you to adhere to a healthy diet, exercise and take prenatal vitamins. 

Some women may opt for weight loss surgery. However, it’s imperative to consult your doctor on the healing period before you can start your pregnancy journey. Obese women tend to have a longer time getting pregnant, even if their ovulation is regular. 

Lifestyle changes increase your chances

How Does Obesity Affect Pregnancy?

Obesity is linked to various fertility issues. The primary concerns are infertility, frequent miscarriages and ovulatory dysfunction. Research suggests that Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of infertility. 

Nonetheless, recent discoveries link obesity to PCOS. Statistics indicate that 80% of women diagnosed with PCOS are obese

Obesity means that your body has a higher concentration of fat cells. These fat cells tend to produce high estrogen levels that inhibit ovulation, affecting fertility. In a nutshell, obesity impacts your reproductive health, making it difficult to get pregnant. Notwithstanding, it’s not always the case. While you may not have trouble getting pregnant while obese, it may disrupt your menstrual and ovulation cycles. 

Furthermore, obesity may also hinder fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF refers to combining a sperm and an egg in the lab, which is later planted in your uterus. Obese women are less likely to get pregnant with IVF. Furthermore, obese women respond poorly to ovarian stimulation and require higher gonadotropin doses. Also, the rate of miscarriages tends to be high.

Additionally, being obese makes it challenging to have an ultrasound. Since the process uses sound waves to check your baby’s status when pregnant, having excessive fat around your abdomen may impair this process. 

However, there is a silver lining. Proportionally obese women have less risk during conception. If your body fat is equally distributed or you carry more fat in your butt, you may quickly get pregnant. On the other hand, the risk tends to be significantly higher for women with a predominantly apple-shaped body, where the weight is concentrated around the abdomen.

How Does Obesity Cause Infertility in Females?

Excessive weight gain affects female fertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), six per cent of women struggle with fertility issues due to obesity. Moreover, the amount and distribution of fat in your body can affect hormone production, which regulates the menstrual cycle. Obese women have a high concentration of leptin hormone. A high concentration of this hormone in the body reduces fertility. 

Obesity impairs fertility in a three-step process. First, the high concentration of fat cells in your body converts androstenedione, the male hormone, to estrone, the female hormone. High levels of estrone then affect the body’s regulation of ovarian and testicular function. This eventually affects your reproductive cycle, making it difficult to conceive.

How Can You Tell If You’re Obese When Trying To Get Pregnant?

According to CDC, an individual is obese if their weight is higher than the health threshold for a given height. The BMI screening tool is popularly used to determine an individual’s weight status. 

The tool measures your height and weight and gives you a threshold where your weight should lie. Women with a BMI of 30 or higher have excess body fat and are considered obese. Moreover, they may face higher levels of PCOS, complicating their TTC journey. Similarly, PCOS can also contribute to weight gain, making it challenging for a woman to lose weight. 

Women with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight. This means a high concentration of body weight around your bones, muscles, water and fat.

You can calculate your BMI here. Also, you can use the below guide to determine if you’re obese.

  • BMI below 18.5 – Underweight
  • BMI 18.5-25.9 – Standard Range
  • BMI 25.0 to 29.9 – Overweight
  • BMI 30.0 and higher – Obesity

What is the Maximum Weight to Get Pregnant?

A good indication of your weight range when trying to conceive is your BMI. As previously discussed, your BMI is a play of your height and weight. Doctors advise that the best BMI to have when getting pregnant is below 25. Howbeit, this varies with individuals.

Moreover, your BMI alone is not enough to determine your fertility status. You may have a BMI that falls within range but experience irregular ovulation from hormonal imbalance. Another individual may be obese but experience regular ovulation hence having a higher chance of conceiving. 

Overweight and No Period: Can I get Pregnant?

Having irregular periods doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t get pregnant. There is still a chance of getting pregnant; however, you may need some help. 

Women with periods that vary by a day or two have a higher probability of getting pregnant than those whose periods vary by six days. The important thing is to find out why you’re experiencing irregular periods. 

If you have irregular periods, your doctor may advise on fertility treatments. Additionally, lifestyle adjustments may trigger the onset of regular periods.

Conversely, obesity can result in irregular periods. Research shows that obese women may experience irregular periods with episodes of amenorrhea and oligomenorrhea With irregular periods, your ability to conceive will depend on the following:

  • Frequency of your irregular periods
  • The reason behind your irregular periods
  • The possibility of having timed sex

How Do I Know if My Period is Irregular?

If your menstrual cycle is shorter than 21 days or longer than 36 days, you are likely experiencing irregular periods. Also, if the period between your cycle varies significantly, that is, from 24 days to 34 days between months, your periods are irregular.

Typically, your menstrual cycle may vary by a day or two. If your cycle consistently becomes longer or shorter than what you’re used to, you don’t need to worry. 

Being stressed or sick can trigger irregular ovulation leading to a variation in your cycle. Anyway, be that as it may, it’s essential to consult your doctor on irregular periods before pregnancy. 

Getting Pregnant When Overweight or Obese: What Are the Risks?

Getting pregnant when overweight is possible. Notwithstanding, it is much more difficult, takes longer and has significant risks. As mentioned, a woman’s reproductive function is regulated through hormonal balance. Excessive fat cells in the body can inhibit the process resulting in infertility. Aside from this, obese or overweight pregnancy can lead to health complications such as:

High Blood Pressure or Preeclampsia

High blood pressure can result in preeclampsia. This is a condition that ensues during your second trimester. If your blood pressure is high, it may cause some of your vital organs, kidney and liver to stop working correctly.

Additionally, it can contribute to blood clots in your body’s vessels, hindering blood flow. Consequently, poor blood flow affects the delivery of nutrients, oxygen and blood to your baby. Furthermore, it can retard your baby’s growth resulting in a condition known as foetal growth restriction. 

Preeclampsia can also cause preterm birth. This is where you deliver your baby before 37 weeks, also known as premature birth. A premature baby has a high risk of developing breathing and hearing complications.

Also, women with preeclampsia can suffer from placental abruption. This is a condition where the placenta moves from the uterus’s inner wall before delivery. This separation can result in heavy bleeding that may be fatal for the baby and mother. 

Gestational Diabetes

Obesity increases the chances of diabetes. Excessive weight can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. The same can occur in pregnant women who end up developing gestational diabetes. Having too much sugar in your body heightens the risk of diabetes for you and your baby. Additionally, it raises the risk of delivering a large baby, which may prompt doctors to carry out a caesarean birth. 

Gestational Hypertension

Gestational hypertension is a condition caused by high blood pressure during pregnancy. It is also caused by insufficient protein in your urine, kidney, or heart complications.

Women experience this condition in their second trimester (20 weeks after pregnancy). Usually, gestational hypertension goes away after delivery. However, for some women, it may lead to chronic hypertension. 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obesity can affect your breathing and result in sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is when you stop breathing for intermittent periods while asleep. This can lead to fatigue, preeclampsia, high blood pressure or lung and heart problems. 

Miscarriage or Stillbirth

Obesity increases your risk of facing a stillbirth or miscarriage. Stillbirth refers to a baby dying in the womb before birth, after 20 weeks of pregnancy. On the other hand, miscarriage refers to a baby not making it to 20 weeks of pregnancy. 

Prolonged Labour

Studies show that overweight women experience more extended hours of active labor. Women with normal BMIs have an average of 6.2 hours of labor—however, women with BMIs above 40 experience close to two hours longer than usual. Eventually, women with more prolonged active labor undergo c-section delivery. 

It is essential to discuss with your doctor the complications of labor when obese and pregnant. The discussion should also consider labor progressions corresponding to your weight and any health issues a c-section delivery may have for you or your baby. 

Does Being Overweight or Obese During Pregnancy Affect the Baby’s Health?

Yes, being overweight or obese can cause complications for your baby, such as:

Congenital Disabilities: Also known as birth defects, they alter the function and shape of the baby at birth. Such defects include Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) or heart defects. NTDs affect the baby’s spine and breath, leading to neurodegenerative conditions. The most common NTDs are spina bifida and anencephaly.

Macrosomia: This is where a baby is born with a weight exceeding 13 ounces or 8 pounds at birth. It’s also known as Large for Gestational Age (LGA). Much more common, women who have large babies when pregnant have to undergo c-sections. The baby may also be at risk of developing heart disease, asthma, and diabetes in future. 

Can I Have a Successful Obese Pregnancy?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking of the risks that obesity has with pregnancy. While it may complicate your TTC journey, the good news is that most obese women have successful pregnancies. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about your health and your baby. It is vital to have a preconception check-up before getting pregnant. 

What is a Preconception Check-up?

This check-up assesses your body’s preparedness and health state for pregnancy. During the check-up, your doctor will ask several questions which you must gather before your appointment. This includes;

Birth Control Type: If you’re on birth control, your doctor will advise when to stop and how long you should wait before trying to get pregnant. 

Lifestyle Habits: Being honest with your doctor about your diet and lifestyle is vital. This includes diet, exercise routines, and whether you smoke or drink.

Menstrual Cycles: Your menstrual cycle is a definitive indication of your reproductive health. Your doctor will ask about your cycle length and your last period date.

Medications: Your doctor will need to know if you’re on any medications, whether prescription or over-the-counter. They may advise you to discontinue the medication or swap them with pregnancy-safe ones. 

Medical Conditions: If you have any medical or chronic conditions, it’s prudent to alert your doctor during the preconception check-up. Such conditions need to be monitored during pregnancy. The good news is some conditions may not affect your pregnancy; however, it’s critical to let your doctor know about them. This also includes your mental health.

Family History: You may need to dig deep for this. You’ll need to provide details of any family-related diagnosis, including cancer or diabetes. You will also need to provide your partner’s family history. 

How to Have A Successful Obese Pregnancy?

Your best chance at having a successful pregnancy while obese is losing weight. Losing 10 to 20 pounds can improve your chances of getting pregnant while obese. Studies suggest that a 5 to 7 percent body weight loss by obese women enhances fertility. 

Some of the ways you can achieve this include:

Set Healthy Goals

If you’re on a fitness journey, the first step is to set the goals you want to achieve. For instance, you can have a goal of eating vegetables twice a day. Besides, it helps when you get support from family and friends by having frequent healthy meals together. 

Some hospitals provide extra support in goal setting, such as a diet plan or nutritional recommendations. You can consult your doctor on what you need to do and set it as your weight loss journey. 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Let’s face it dieting isn’t easy. The minute you set your mind on not eating junk, your body develops an insane craving for it. Most people quit their dieting journey as soon as it starts. 

A healthy diet can help you shed enough pounds to get pregnant. Consistently feeding on a low-fat diet significantly contributes to weight loss. If you’re having trouble switching, it’s best to focus on what you need to eat rather than what you need to avoid. Once you set your mind to healthy foods, choosing a nutritious diet over unhealthy meals becomes easier. 

Examples of healthy foods include; low-fat dairy (alternatively, you can switch to rice, soya or oatmeal), plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, cereals and lean red meat.

Furthermore, the recommended calorie intake for a healthy pregnancy is as follows:

  • 1st trimester – 1, 800 calories per day
  • 2nd trimester – 2,200 calories daily
  • 3rd trimester – 2,400 calories daily.

Frequent Hydration

Drinking plenty of water throughout the day holds a plethora of benefits. For starters, water is calories-free. Also, consuming it before meals can suppress your appetite, leading to less food consumption. 

Additionally, water helps you cut down on sugary beverages that impede your weight loss journey. Most health practitioners advise drinking eight glasses of water a day. This equates to 2 litres a day. However, this amount varies with individuals. For example, you may need more water if you engage in strenuous activities that results into sweating. 

Eat Small Meals Frequently

Instead of having three large meals daily, why not swap them for small regular meals? The typical meal times for any individual are breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead, it would be best to have five to six small meals.

Further, eating small calorie-free meals boost your metabolism and regulate your blood sugar levels. It also reduces your craving, often leading to overeating sugary and fatty foods. 

Take note. Skipping meals won’t help you reduce weight. It’ll only prolong the craving, which often results in overindulging that causes more harm than good. 

Stay Active

Staying active doesn’t mean hitting the gym all week. Although this can significantly help, there are other ways to help you lose weight during pregnancy. For starters, light exercises such as walking are ideal if you’re not an active person. 

Doctors recommend at least two and a half hours of walking for pregnant women. You can start with short but frequent exercises if this is a hard-to-hit target. For instance, you can have a 15 to 30-minute session of yoga or aerobics every day of the week. 

The safest exercise to do is walking. Not only is it less tiring, but also can be easily integrated into your daily routine. You can simply set a step-count target using your phone or watch. You can also try out pilates or yoga. However, it’s advisable to do so with a qualified instructor. Overall, depending on your weight and stage of pregnancy, your doctor can recommend the ideal physical activities.

It is advisable to avoid exercises that strain your joints, such as sudden direction changes or high jumping. Additionally, activities that put your stomach at risk of getting hit, such as football, basketball or boxing should be avoided. Heavy weight lifting is an excellent way to shed weight, but it’s not ideal for pregnant women. 

Suppose you notice signs of vaginal bleeding, painful and regular contractions, balance loss, blurred vision, vomiting, headache, dizziness, pain or swelling in your calf. In that case, it’s important to stop exercising and consult your doctor. 

Control Your Cravings

Pregnancy comes with a lot of cravings. It’s no surprise that you’ll want to eat again right after finishing a meal. In such cases, it helps to stock up your house and fridge with healthy snacks. Fruits, grainy crackers and salads are a great way of beating the craving. 

Gain Weight the Right Way

As you work towards losing weight, keep in mind you’ll still gain weight during pregnancy. The proper weight gain for overweight women is 15 to 25 pounds. For obese women, the gain is 11 to 20 pounds. 

If you’re having a single pregnancy with a BMI of 30 or higher, you need to gain 11 to 20 pounds. On the other hand, a multiple pregnancy calls for a weight gain of 25 to 42 pounds. Nonetheless, your doctor is more likely to advise you to avoid excessive weight gain during pregnancy. 

Understand Conditions That May Affect Your Pregnancy

Gestations hypertension and diabetes are common conditions to experience during pregnancy. By understanding these conditions, you’re jumping at the forefront of managing them. It is essential to consult a doctor once you start experiencing vision changes, face swelling, severe and persistent headaches and intense pain in your upper abdomen. 

Schedule a Preconception Assessment

As mentioned, a preconception assessment helps your doctor understand any existing conditions that may complicate your TTC journey. By having the assessment done beforehand, your doctor can advise or direct you to a diet specialist to help you reduce your weight. What’s more, the doctor may also prescribe nutritional supplements such as folic acid or vitamins. 

Managing Your Weight After Delivery

Congratulations, you’ve just had a successful delivery and are home with your bundle of joy. Sticking to your diet and exercise routine is key to reaching a suitable weight. One way to achieve this is regular breastfeeding of your baby. Breastfeeding helps you shed some of the postpartum weight. 

It may be challenging to lose the weight you gain during pregnancy. It is, therefore, advisable to delay another pregnancy until your body fully recovers after losing the excess weight. 

FAQs

Can High Doses of Folic Acid Help With My Obese Pregnancy?

Yes, if you have a BMI above 30, taking a 5mg dosage of folic acid is advisable. The usual folic acid dosage is 400mcg. Therefore, you will need a prescription for the high dosage. 

Folic acid is instrumental in preventing the baby’s NTD development (Neural Tube Defects). The high dosage increases the level of folic acid in your body, which prevents your baby from developing conditions such as spina bifida. 

Is Specialized Care Necessary for Obese Pregnancy?

Having a BMI of 30 or higher calls for close monitoring of your pregnancy. A doctor will recommend the necessary steps and tests to take while pregnant. Some of the tests include:

Sleep Apnea Tests

Sleep apnea is a common condition that arises with obesity during pregnancy. It is a severe condition that increases your risk of preeclampsia—as such, getting an evaluation and treatment from a specialist is vital once you display the signs. It would be best to watch out for signs of loud snoring, gasping for air while asleep, hypersomnia, insomnia or frequent morning headaches. 

Gestational Diabetes

Blood sugar monitoring is crucial for obese pregnancies. Your doctor will check your glucose levels between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. If your BMI is 30 or higher, you are likely to have the first test during your prenatal visit. Another test will be conducted during your second trimester to ensure your glucose levels are still within range. If you have high glucose levels, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist can advise on the best precautions to take. 

Special Fetal Ultrasound

Usually, a pregnant woman gets a fetal ultrasound at 18 to 20 weeks. However, with a high BMI, it becomes challenging to have an ultrasound. This is because the fat concentration around your abdomen prevents sound waves from penetrating the fat tissue. As such, you may need a different type of ultrasound that correctly monitors your baby’s health. 

Does PCOS Cause Weight Gain?

Yes, PCOS can contribute to substantial weight gain. Out of ten women, one suffers from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). PCOS causes hormonal imbalances in the body, which can lead to weight gain. 

Furthermore, women with PCOS are at a high risk of developing hypertension, high cholesterol, fatty liver, and high insulin levels.

The good news is that a healthy diet can help you control weight gain due to PCOS. 

Is Weight Loss Surgery Suitable for When Preparing for Pregnancy?

A majority of obese women are turning to weight loss surgery to prepare for pregnancy. Examples of these procedures include gastric banding, gastric bypass and sleeve gastrectomy. Bariatric surgery is advisable for women with a BMI of 40 or higher. It is also suitable for people with heart complications to having a BMI of 35 and 39.

While weight loss surgery can help you lose the weight you need, it creates a higher risk for complications when pregnant. 

However, worry not; you can still have a successful pregnancy. Doctors advise women who undergo weight loss surgery to delay pregnancy by12 to 24 months. Moreover, some surgeries may affect your food intake, affecting your baby’s nutrition during pregnancy. 

Women who undergo such surgeries end up having underweight or small babies. Therefore, it is essential to understand the type of surgery you’ll be undergoing. You can consult your doctor about whether weight loss surgery suits you and which type you should have. 

Can I take Nutritional Supplements If I Want to Get Pregnant?

Folic acid is an excellent nutritional supplement during the first three months of pregnancy. Doctors can also advise on taking it a month prior to conception. Additionally, Vitamin D supplements are also advisable. Obese women tend to have a deficiency of this vitamin. Taking vitamin D nutritional supplements helps regulate your body’s phosphate and calcium amounts. 

Are there Medications that Can Increase Fertility?

Obese women with diabetes are advised to take metformin. This medication regulates blood sugar and insulin utilization by your body. However, taking it alone is not effective in achieving a successful pregnancy. It is best to combine it with a healthy diet and frequent exercise. 

What is the Difference Between Obesity and being Overweight?

An obese individual has a BMI of 30 or higher, whereas an overweight person has a BMI of 25 to 29. Obese women have an increased risk of complications during pregnancy compared to overweight women. However, both weight states require proper nutrition and exercise to curtail possible health defects. The proposed methods can help obese and overweight women prepare for pregnancy. 

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, your ultimate guide to getting pregnant while obese. Contrary to popular opinion, an obese pregnancy is possible. However, you will require close monitoring, weight and diet changes, as well as specialized care and tests.

It is prudent to consult your doctor before or after getting pregnant on the proper steps to take to achieve a successful obese pregnancy.

Fertility Hormones and How to Test Them

testing fertility hormones

Hi there. Are you and your partner actively trying to get pregnant? Has this been going on for more than a year? If so, don’t be alarmed by the situation. Studies suggest that 12% to 15% of couples are unable to conceive after a year of unprotected sex. 

Luckily, this situation is not permanent. Thanks to fertility testing, couples can ascertain the problem impacting their fertility. The assessment details the underlying course, and doctors can advise on the best treatment. With this in hand, you or your partner can be pregnant in a few months.

As you may know, hormones play a crucial role in the female and male body. One such role is in the reproductive system, which consequently impacts women’s fertility. For instance, a lady’s hormone levels fluctuate monthly during her menstrual cycle. The fall and rise of the hormones directly impact egg growth in the ovary, implantation, and conception. Moreover, it can also affect milk production after conception and pregnancy survival.

A doctor assesses the patient for hormonal imbalances in infertility cases to determine the primary cause. Despite being a lengthy activity, the assessment then advises on treatment for infertility in females and males by achieving the right balance of hormones.

For females, four crucial hormones impact fertility. For males, it’s the semen that counts (literally and figuratively). 

Read more to learn about the essential role these hormones play in fertility and the tests you can get done to treat it. 

Let’s dive in!

What are the Key Female Fertility Hormones?

There are four essential fertility hormones in a female’s body:

  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH).
  • Oestrogen (Oestradiol)
  • Luteinising Hormone (LH)
  • Progesterone

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

The Follicle Stimulating Hormone is among the first hormones the female body releases. This hormone is critical in stimulating female egg development and sperm production in males.

The pituitary gland produces the FSH, which then stimulates the growth of the follicles during the follicular phase (first half of the menstrual cycle). Besides, it also stimulates oestradiol (estrogen) production, which further promotes the growth of the egg follicles. This stage lasts for approximately sixteen days. 

The FSH levels in a female’s body tend to be highest a few days before ovulation. If your body fails to produce enough FSH hormones, you will likely face irregular ovulation or none at all. On the other hand, excessive hormone production signals that the ovaries’ quality is low. 

Oestradiol

Oestradiol is a form of estrogen the ovaries produce. As follicles continue to develop in the ovaries, they release estrogen. Estrogen then causes the womb lining (endometrium) to thicken. This is a critical step in preparing the womb for a pregnant state. 

Before the release of the dominant follicles in the ovary, the estrogen level rise, causing Luteinizing Hormone (LH) production. The LH hormone’s gush further stimulates the dominant follicle’s growth, resulting in its release. 

Additionally, estrogen production is vital in promoting sperm survival. Oestrogen stimulates mucus secretion inside the uterus, which is essential in providing an ideal environment for the sperm.

Luteinizing Hormone (LH)

LH is another equally essential hormone that impacts fertility. In males, it promotes testosterone production, affecting sperm count and libido. In females, it plays a pivotal role in regulating ovary functions. Also, it fosters egg release from the ovary during the luteal phase.

Like the FSH hormone, the pituitary gland produces and releases the LH hormone. As a gonadotropin LH production is a factor of the hypothalamus releasing the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Once the GnRH is released, the hormones bind to the pituitary gland receptors stimulating LH production and release. 

The LH also promotes the production of the corpus luteum after the fertilization of the egg. In turn,the corpus luteum stimulates progesterone production, which is critical in supporting pregnancy. 

Similarly, excessive production of this hormone in females promotes their susceptibility to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). On the other hand, low production could result in a failed ovulation. 

Progesterone

As mentioned earlier, progesterone is produced by the corpus luteum after egg fertilization. The hormone production signals the ovary to begin progesterone production to promote pregnancy survival. Also, progesterone is vital in preparing the uterus for egg implantation by stopping the thickening of the endometrium. If fertilization occurs, progesterone levels will increase, which will be undertaken by the placenta. 

If fertilization doesn’t occur, the progesterone level will drop, and menstruation will ensue. 

Semen

Sperm, also known as ejaculate, is the fluid that enables the sperm’s motion to meet the ovum. Semen quality is essential in dictating the conditions for fertility. In a single ejaculate, the semen should contain at least 15 million sperm per milliliter. This high number increases the likelihood of fertilization. Also, little sperm presence in an ejaculate lowers the possibility of fertilization.

What Role Do Hormones Play in Fertility?

Cases of infertility are often downplayed as a woman’s issue—quite the contrary. Fertility and egg fertilization is a play of both the male and female hormones. Excessive or little production of these hormones affects the various stages of conception. 

As we’ve discussed the essential hormones that impact fertility, here is a keen insight into their role in promoting fertility. 

Egg and Sperm Production

The follicle-stimulating hormone is pivotal in female ovum production and sperm in males. This occurs through stimulating follicle growth. If a woman fails to produce adequate FSH before ovulation, it can cause an irregular or failed ovulation. In men, it can result in a low sex drive.  

Levels of FSH in the body tend to fluctuate in the menstrual cycle. High levels of the hormone are often present before ovulation. On the other hand, the level of FSH in men does not fluctuate. 

What’s more, the LSH works closely with the luteinizing hormone to regulate sexual functions.

Egg Release and Implantation

The release of progesterone in a woman’s body promotes egg implantation. It also stimulates the production of the hormone by the ovary, which is critical in supporting pregnancy. As the FSH stimulates follicles’ growth, the LH promotes its release from the ovary. 

Other hormones such as androgens, thyroid, and prolactin can also affect ovulation. Androgens typically exist in small amounts in the body. However, a surplus production can impair follicle development, cervical mucus production, and ovulation. Prolactin hormones stimulate the production of milk. Some medications may affect the production of prolactin which consequently affects milk production. Finally, thyroid hormones present as an aftermath of high prolactin levels. This surge can lead to hypothyroidism. 

So What is Fertility Hormone Testing?

Fertility hormone testing is an assessment that checks for infertility in males and females by identifying hormonal imbalances. If you’re here, chances are you’ve come across other names, such as “ovulation test” or fertility test.” These names bear the same meaning, and you can use them interchangeably.

As you know by now, hormones control varying stages of your pregnancy. If one hormone is not produced at a specific amount and time, ovulation may fail, and chances are you won’t get pregnant. A fertility hormone test will help a doctor identify your diagnosis and prescribe the proper treatment. 

When going in for a hormone fertility test, you will likely get some bloodwork done at different times in your cycle. We’ve made it simple to understand what tests you need to complete and when.

Types of Fertility Hormone Tests

A Luteinizing Hormone test is conducted at the beginning of your cycle (mostly day 3). The test is imperative in ascertaining when you’re ovulating. LH has now been quite common, and it’s easy to find the tests going by other names such as “Fertility Tests,” “Ovulation Tests,” or “Ovulation Predictor Kits.”

The test is poignant for couples who are trying to become pregnant. It reveals when you or your partner is likely to commence ovulation. 

Therefore it becomes crucial to understand when to have intercourse for better chances of fertilizing the egg. However, you should know this is only one test in a pool of about four in your conceiving journey.

How is an LH Test Done?

An LH test is a short procedure where a doctor draws out a blood sample from your arm. This sample is then assessed in the lab for LH levels. If you’re not ovulating, your LH levels help determine why. 

Your doctor may request blood drawn samples over a certain period since LH levels tend to fluctuate with your menstrual cycle. This frequent sampling and analysis help ascertain an accurate LH level measurement. 

When preparing for the test, your doctor may advise against some medication impairing your results. This could include hormone bills or birth control pills. If you’re taking the test from home, it is of importance to have it in the morning and avoid drinking water four hours beforehand. This ensures your LH levels and urine are concentrated.

FSH Tests

FSH tests measure the level of follicle-stimulating hormones in your blood. The FSH hormone stimulates and prepares the eggs for ovulation. During the first days of your menstrual cycle, the level of FSH increases to commence the process. 

Each female is born with a handful of eggs that will support their menstrual cycle for a given period. This is known as the ovarian reserve. As the woman ages, the eggs in the ovarian reserve reduce. In such scenarios, it is challenging to stimulate the ovary to produce an egg. Your body will then respond by producing high FSH levels since your ovaries work twice as hard to stimulate ovulation. 

An FSH test will help a doctor determine your ovarian reserve by assessing your FSH levels. For women, it can help determine menopause, infertility problems, abnormal menstrual bleeding, and diagnose polycystic ovary syndrome. In men, an FSH test can help identify the reason behind infertility. It can also reveal the reasons for low sperm count and any problems with the testicles. 

How is an FSH Test Done?

Like the LH test, an FSH test requires a blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm. The test may have moderate pain during the needle insertion. Others may experience a prick or sting. Also, the process takes less than five minutes. 

The drawn sample is then collected in a vial and analyzed.

Your doctor may ask you to have the test done at a specific time during your menstrual cycle. This is primarily the case if you’ve not reached menopause.

Estradiol Tests 

Checking your blood level to ascertain the estradiol levels is a standard fertility test. Understanding your estrogen levels when attempting to conceive can help provide relief during your TTC journey. 

Early in your cycle, the estrogen levels rise to thicken the uterine lining. This is typically an indicator that ovulation is about to start. Aside from that, the estradiol tests also check whether your ovary can produce eggs. 

An imbalance of estrogen levels can lead to a condition known as estrogen dominance. This condition gravely impacts conception since estrogen levels are higher than progesterone. 

How is an Estradiol Test Done?

Like other fertility tests, an estradiol test is administered on your arm. A doctor draws a blood sample from your vein and places it in a tube for analysis. 

An estradiol test can sometimes be done at home using a urine sample. However, the pee tests can only accurately measure one marker of estrogen. 

Progesterone Tests

A progesterone test helps confirm whether ovulation has occurred. The ovaries produce the hormone after an egg’s release, leading to a rise in hormone levels. This prepares your uterus for pregnancy by allowing the lining to grow thicker. Moreover, the hormone also triggers your breasts to produce milk. 

Typically, this process occurs during the second half of your menstrual cycle. A doctor may use this test to determine if and when you’ll ovulate and why you’re not conceiving and monitoring a high-risk pregnancy. 

How is a Progesterone Test Done?

This test can be administered at home and in a doctor’s office. You can use one of the FDA-approved PdG tests, such as Proov, that uses a urine sample at home. In contrast, at the doctor’s office, a blood sample will be drawn from a vein in one of your arms. 

Anti-Müllerian Hormone Test (AMH)

AMH test is an equally vital assessment that hints at fertility during your TTC journey. The hormone is produced in the male and female reproductive tissues. However, healthcare providers primarily administer this test to women.

For women, the levels of AMH depict the chances of getting pregnant and provide more information on fertility. It is also helpful in checking for menstrual disorders. The test can also predict the onset of menopause and determine the cause of early menopause.

Furthermore, while your AMH levels may also correspond to your egg count, more than the test alone may be needed to predict fertility accurately. It is advisable to have this test done alongside other fertility tests. 

How is an Anti-Müllerian Hormone Test Done?

The test is administered by a healthcare professional who draws a blood sample from your arm’s vein. The test is then analyzed. It is common to feel a slight prick or sting during the process.

Thyroid-stimulating hormone (THS) Test

Abnormal thyroid levels can impact ovulation. According to statistics, up to 5% of women with abnormal thyroid levels struggle with infertility. Moreover, thyroid hormone levels play a crucial role in fetal development. 

A thyroid-stimulating test helps assess the hormone level in the bloodstream. Like the FSH hormone, the pituitary gland produces the TSH, which then stimulates the thyroid gland to release thyroid hormones into the bloodstream. 

A THS test can help ascertain cases of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. In instances of hyperthyroidism, women may experience irregular periods, while men will likely have a low sperm count.

On the contrary, hypothyroidism reduces fertility chances and increases the possibility of a miscarriage. 

How is a Thyroid-stimulating hormone (THS) Test Done?

A blood sample will be required. A doctor will draw the sample from your arm for analysis. The procedure is relatively short, taking five minutes or less. Moreover, you won’t need to make preparations for these tests. 

Your healthcare provider may advise doing the test with a T3 test, T4 test, or an Anti-TPO.

Sperm Analysis

By now, I’m sure you understand that fertility is a play of the woman and man’s fertility index. Gone are the days when women would be solely blamed for not conceiving. The man may have a problem with his sperm count, which is a nod of infertility.

To ascertain this, a semen analysis gives a clear picture of how many sperm are released per ejaculation, their shape, and their motion. 

How is This Analysis Undertaken?

Usually, to obtain a clean sample, a man would masturbate into a clean container. The sample is then analyzed for the factors mentioned above. Since sperm count can vary, a doctor may advise providing more than one sample at specific intervals. 

FAQs

Which are the essential hormones in fertility testing?

The vital hormones recommended for testing when checking for fertility are: progesterone, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and estrogen (estradiol).

Where Can I Find A Reliable Test Provider?

With extensive research being poured into fertility hormone testing, plenty of companies are now emerging with a wide range of tests. Some companies you should consider include: