Danger of Self Medication when trying to get pregnant

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Danger of Self Medication when trying to get pregnant

Self-medication is a growing problem in many countries, especially in the context of fertility and pregnancy. The temptation to self-medicate when trying to get pregnant can be strong, especially with the widespread availability of over-the-counter (OTC) and online medications, but it is extremely dangerous and can have serious consequences for both the mother and the developing fetus.

Prescription medication when trying to get pregnant
Prescription medication when trying to get pregnant

What is self medication when trying to get pregnant

Self-medication is defined as the use of medications without medical supervision or the use of prescription drugs for reasons other than those for which they were prescribed. This practice is becoming increasingly common among women trying to conceive, particularly those who are experiencing infertility or other reproductive health problems. The internet is full of information and advice on how to use medications to boost fertility or regulate menstrual cycles, and many women turn to OTC or online medications in the hope of increasing their chances of getting pregnant.

However, self-medicating when trying to get pregnant can be extremely dangerous. Most OTC and online fertility medications are not regulated and may contain ingredients that are harmful to both the mother and the developing fetus. For example, some OTC fertility medications contain Clomiphene, a drug that is commonly prescribed by doctors to stimulate ovulation. However, when taken without medical supervision, Clomiphene can cause serious side effects, including multiple pregnancies, ovary enlargement, and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.

Are herbal supplements safe to take when trying to conceive

Similarly, self-medicating with herbal supplements can also be harmful. Many herbal supplements are marketed as natural and safe alternatives to conventional fertility medications, but they can also contain harmful ingredients. For example, some herbs, such as Dong Quai, contain compounds that can cause birth defects or miscarriage. In addition, some herbal supplements can interact with other medications and cause harmful side effects.

Another problem with self-medicating is that it can delay or prevent proper diagnosis and treatment. When women self-medicate, they may be masking the underlying cause of their infertility or reproductive health problems. For example, a woman may self-medicate with OTC fertility drugs in the hope of boosting her chances of getting pregnant, but she may not realize that she has a more serious underlying health issue, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which requires medical attention.

In addition, self-medication can also negatively affect the chances of a successful pregnancy. Infertility and reproductive health problems are complex medical conditions that require the expertise of a medical professional. Without proper medical evaluation and treatment, women may not be able to conceive or may experience complications during pregnancy.

Is fetus safe when self medicating to conceive

Furthermore, self-medication can also have serious consequences for the developing fetus. For example, women who self-medicate with fertility drugs may be at increased risk of ectopic pregnancy, which is a life-threatening condition where the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. Additionally, self-medicating with certain medications or herbal supplements during pregnancy can cause birth defects, premature birth, or other serious health problems for the developing fetus.

In conclusion, self-medicating when trying to get pregnant is extremely dangerous and can have serious consequences for both the mother and the developing fetus. Women who are trying to conceive should always seek medical advice before using any medications or supplements, even if they are marketed as safe or natural. Only a medical professional can properly evaluate the cause of infertility or reproductive health problems and provide safe and effective treatment. By avoiding self-medication, women can increase their chances of a successful pregnancy and ensure the health and wellbeing of both themselves and their developing fetus.

Schedule your 30 minutes consultation with Fertility Cloud medical fertility specialist to avoid putting yourself in danger with self-medication trying to get pregnant

How can I improve my chance to get pregnant naturally

Getting pregnant is a joyous and exciting time for many couples, but for some, it may take longer than expected. While there are many medical options available for couples struggling to conceive, there are also several natural ways to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Getting pregnant naturally
Getting pregnant naturally

Here are some tips for getting pregnant naturally:

Track your ovulation

One of the most important things to know when trying to get pregnant is when you are ovulating. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovary into the fallopian tube, where it may be fertilized by sperm. The best time to conceive is during your fertile window, which is the time when you are most likely to get pregnant. To track your ovulation, you can use an ovulation predictor kit, track your basal body temperature, or monitor your cervical mucus.

Maintain a healthy weight

Being either overweight or underweight can affect your ability to get pregnant. Being overweight can cause hormonal imbalances, while being underweight can disrupt your menstrual cycle and make it more difficult to ovulate. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise can help improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Reduce stress

Stress can have a negative impact on your fertility. Chronic stress can cause hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation and conception. Practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga or meditation, can help reduce stress and improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Quit smoking

Smoking can have a negative impact on both male and female fertility. In women, smoking can cause premature aging of the eggs and reduce their quality. In men, smoking can decrease sperm count and motility. Quitting smoking can improve your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.

Limit alcohol and caffeine consumption

Alcohol and caffeine can have a negative impact on fertility. Drinking too much alcohol can reduce sperm count and motility in men, and increase the risk of miscarriage in women. Consuming large amounts of caffeine can also reduce fertility and increase the risk of miscarriage. Limiting your alcohol and caffeine consumption can improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is important for overall health, including fertility. Lack of sleep can cause hormonal imbalances that affect ovulation and conception. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Get regular exercise

Regular exercise can help improve fertility by reducing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, and regulating hormonal imbalances. Aim to get 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week to improve your chances of getting pregnant.

Eat a balanced diet

Eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats can help improve fertility. Aim to eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods to provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to support conception.

In conclusion – how you can increase chances to get pregnant naturally

In conclusion, getting pregnant naturally can be a challenging process, but by following these tips, you can increase your chances of success. Remember, every couple is different, and it may take time to get pregnant. If you have been trying to conceive for over a year, or if you have any concerns, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider. They can help you understand your options and provide the support and guidance you need to start a healthy family.

Get pregnant naturally

Can I get pregnant with PCOS and no periods?

Is it impossible to conceive with PCOS without having periods? No. As you’ve seen in the testimonial above, Charity didn’t have periods at all and she got pregnant during her first cycle of treatment. Although medical miracles are rare, women with PCOS have one of the best prognosis when undergoing fertility treatment and most of them will eventually become pregnant. Even if they didn’t have periods before the treatment.

How to get pregnant with PCOS?

The good news is that with treatment, most patients would get pregnant. If the initial lifestyle changes like losing weight are not successful in initiating regular menses or you are not able to delay treatment, we recommend you start acting immediately, especially if you are over 35 years old, as the chances of pregnancy begin to decline. Also, there are some medical disorders that can mimic PCOS, so we strongly recommend you visit a Reproductive Endocrinologist with experience in evaluating and managing women with PCOS. Please, do not wait and do not lose your precious time.

There are two types of medicines used in fertility treatments for patients with PCOS:

Clomiphene or Letrozole

are usually the first medication type recommended for women with PCOS who are trying to get pregnant. Both medicines induce ovulation by encouraging recruitment, growth, and the monthly release of an egg from the ovaries (ovulation).

Metformin

Makes the body more sensitive to ovulation inducing medications if Clomiphene or Letrozole are unsuccessful in encouraging ovulation.

We can also recommend as appropriate supplements  from Theralogix™ that have been proven to help with fertility.  They include CoQ10, Inositol, and prenatal vitamins.  There are also supplements available for men to improve sperm quality.

Metformin is often used to treat type 2 diabetes, but it can also lower insulin and blood sugar levels in women with PCOS. As well as stimulating ovulation, encouraging regular monthly periods, and lowering the risk of miscarriage, metformin can also have other long-term health benefits, such as lowering high cholesterol levels.

Are there any real success stories of getting pregnant with PCOS?

There are millions of stories like this, including our own patients. The following one is also real and very complicated at the same time. Keep in mind that you should not take it as treatment advice. Every case can be individualized.

Tiffany came to Fertility Cloud after three cycles of Clomid and two cycles of Letrozole ovulation induction. She was a twenty-eight-year-old woman who had not been pregnant previously, diagnosed with PCOS at age twenty-one and has been on birth control until she started trying to get pregnant.

Testing confirmed the diagnosis of PCOS. Unfortunately, she did not ovulate on clomiphene and her initial trial of letrozole. Our approach was to make her ovaries more sensitive to ovulation induction. We started her on metformin and a small dose of dexamethasone. Then we increased her dose of letrozole. She ovulated in the first month and became pregnant after three cycles. 

So, what does it mean for me?

Although while it is hard to get pregnant with PCOS, the good news is that women with PCOS typically have some of the best prognosis when undergoing fertility treatment. Most of them will eventually become pregnant. Treatment has improved significantly and has become more effective as well. The general rule in fertility treatments is the sooner you begin, the more likely you are to succeed. And it’s smart to choose an experienced doctor with an understanding of PCOS.  Don’t delay!  A consultation with a qualified REI can clear up any confusion or concerns you may have about getting pregnant with PCOS.


 

Getting Pregnant after 30, 35 or even 40, written by a fertility specialist.

Is it possible to get pregnant after 30, 35 or even later?

According to research over the last 40 years, a healthy 30 year old woman has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month. A healthy, ovulatory 40-year-old woman’s chance per month is 5% (1,6). The decline is slow and steady up until the age of about 35. After that the decline becomes steeper. These ranges and time frames have been established through multiple studies and have been consistent for the last 30+ years. The decline in fertility is attributed to depletion of ovarian oocyte (eggs) reserve and is determined by genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.(2).

How hard is to get pregnant after 40
How likely is to get pregnant at certain age

What makes it hard to get pregnant after 35 or 40?

Although your changes of getting pregnant after 35 or 40 are decreasing, there are good news. Age at conception does have bearing on time to pregnancy in a healthy, ovulatory woman. In general, fecundity (a woman’s physiological ability to have a child) is reported as age ranges because it is difficult to correlate a specific age to a specific chance of success. There are also factors that can affect reproductive aging. These include other medical conditions that can have an effect such as endometriosis, fibroids, genetic conditions (errors in number of chromosomes), environmental influences, obesity, smoking, thyroid gland dysfunction, history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and ovulatory dysfunction, to name a few (2,3).

PCOS stands for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, it is the most common form of ovulatory ovarian dysfunction.  The pathology of PCOS makes ovulation irregular and unpredictable, making the timing of intercourse for conception difficult. 

There could also be issues with male fertility such as erectile dysfunction and sperm quality issues. Male evaluation initially consists of a semen analysis and potentially other endocrine blood testing to evaluate any severe sperm abnormality.

How can fertility specialist can help to conceive after 35 or 40?

Most of the factors other than extreme reproductive age are usually treatable. When you get started, the first step is a comprehensive evaluation of both you and your partner (if applicable). We test your ovarian reserve to gauge likelihood of adequate number of eggs produced per cycle, prolactin levels since the elevated levels can affect regularity of ovulation, and PCOS testing. If there are any positive findings, we can offer prescription medications or supplements beneficial for conception (5).

There are supplements that both partners can take that have been shown to be beneficial for conception.  Lifestyle modification and diet changes (such as following the Mediterranean diet) can also positively impact your chances.  Controlling your stress and regular moderate exercise also confer benefits (3,4).

Please click the link below for a consultation with an experienced Reproductive Endocrinologist. You can also follow us on Facebook or return to our website for updated information about your fertility journey.

References

1.   Menken J, Trussell J, Larsen U. Age and infertility.  Science. 1986;233:1389-1394.

2.   Utting, D., & Bewley, S. (2011). Family planning and age-related reproductive risk. The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, 13(1), 35–41. https://doi.org/10.1576/TOAG.13.1.35.27639

3.   Collins GG, Rossi BV. The impact of lifestyle modifications, diet, and vitamin supplementation on natural fertility. Fertil Res Pract. 2015 Jul 25;1:11. doi: 10.1186/s40738-015-0003-4. PMID: 28620516; PMCID: PMC5424364.

4.   Dimitrios Karayiannis, Meropi D Kontogianni, Christina Mendorou, Minas Mastrominas, Nikos Yiannakouris. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet and IVF success rate among non-obese women attempting fertility. Human Reproduction, 2018; DOI: 10.1093/humrep/dey003

5.   Unfer, V., Nestler, J. E., Kamenov, Z. A., Prapas, N., & Facchinetti, F. (2016). Effects of Inositol(s) in Women with PCOS: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. International journal of endocrinology, 2016, 1849162. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/1849162

6. Sozou PD, Hartshorne GM (2012) Time to Pregnancy: A Computational Method for Using the Duration of Non-Conception for Predicting Conception. PLOS ONE 7(10): e46544. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0046544

Mental Health on Your Fertility Journey

Focus on the present. You can’t change the past, so stop reliving the “should have’s” and “could have’s.” You can’t control the future either, so stop pre-living worries and anxieties. Try to stay in the present, because it’s the only place you can really choose to behave in ways that can reduce stress and anxiety.

Practice self-care. That means treating yourself even half as well as you treat your family and friends. Get enough sleep, exercise, time alone, and time with others to make yourself feel cared for. Practice being your own best friend! 

Talk to yourself. Give yourself a pep-talk, because what we say to ourselves is powerful. If others remind you that there’s always a way to build a family, it usually has little or no effect. But if you remind yourself that there’s always a way, your mood will usually lift. Try it!

Talk to others. There are many reasons to be reluctant about discussing infertility with family, friends, or in the workplace. You may want to keep medical issues private because you don’t want unsolicited advice, you don’t want to hear everyone else’s fertility stories, or because you feel there is a stigma attached to infertility. You may worry about keeping your job or even keeping your dating options open.

The result is that you may feel isolated just when you need understanding and support. Emotions are far more manageable when they are said aloud than when they’re buzzing in your head.

Focus on your work. As stressful and preoccupying as fertility treatments can be, work can provide an effective distraction from the persistent anxiety you may be feeling from infertility. Staying busy and active with projects can distract you, give you a sense of accomplishment, and help boost your self-esteem and confidence.

Try cognitive restructuring. Cognition refers to thinking; restructuring refers to creating new views. Together these terms tell us that we can choose to think in a new way, and the result can be new behaviors and feelings.

For example, when we focus on hopeless thoughts, we convince not only ourselves but also everyone around us that hope is not worth wasting energy on, and our inertia can make it true. This thought process is one of the major reasons patients drop out of fertility treatment. On the other hand, if we choose to be hopeful, we are more likely to approach problems with strategic behavior that leads to results that justify our hope—positive self-fulfilling prophecies. 

Check for depression. Mild depression may make you feel tired and sad. More severe depression may mean frequent crying, loss of appetite, and despair.

All signs of depression should be taken seriously and addressed to make sure that the suffering is alleviated as soon as possible. Whether it is triggered by hormonal therapy, recurrent pregnancy loss, treatment failure, financial or relationship stress, there is help available. Speak to your physician about a referral for therapy, support, and/or medication. A change or break in fertility treatment may help, too.

Work and play will help you cope with this journey, so don’t wait until you are overwhelmed. Make your mental health a priority now

Partner support through miscarriage

Miscarriage is something that impacts both partners, with each individual trying to process their recent loss. Even though as the partner you might not have felt the physical changes of pregnancy or miscarriage, the emotional loss and self-blame is still just as significant. As partners, you can experience things very differently, but the important part is being there for one another. Find out some of the strategies our fertility experts and counsellors recommend for staying connected and getting through it, together.

✅ Connect with your caregivers and be kind to each other.

Communicating is the first step, but sometimes you may need an external ear and this is where counselling can come in as an important element to help couples process their loss together. For the partner who did not physically carry the baby, they can place a lot of pressure on themselves to provide support for the person who did, and push their own grief aside. When you speak to someone such as a fertility counsellor, it can help both individuals by voicing their feelings out loud to someone outside of their relationship.

✅ Recognise that people experience things very differently.

As difficult as it is, try to remember that individuals experience things very differently, and try not to have expectations that your partner will feel or act in a certain way. Oftentimes, the grief is the same, but the expression of that grief can be different. Even if you’ve known your partner for years, they may not act in a way that you expect. And you don’t need to have the answer. The most important thing is to listen to each other, and let each other grieve in their own way.

✅ It’s ok to let the grief fill the room.

This can be uncomfortable, and that’s ok. Pregnancy loss is a very difficult thing to go through. Let yourselves acknowledge the hurt and the pain, together, and don’t be afraid for the grief to fill the room when you’re in a safe space.

✅ Keep connected and ask each other what’s helpful.

Because miscarriage and pregnancy loss is something outside of anyone’s control, it can take a few extra strategies to learn how to cope, and how to support each other through it. If you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it can be easy to assume how your partner is feeling. This is why it’s so important to ask each other what you can do to provide support. You can each think about what is helpful for you and share these ideas. Sometimes, the partner who didn’t physically go through the pregnancy loss can feel that they are on the sideline. Each person in the relationship can become focused on processing things on their own – staying connected is important to prioritise. So take some time to do things you would normally enjoy doing together.

✅ Find a way to acknowledge the pregnancy.

When it comes to pregnancy loss, whether it’s week 7 or week 20, there is so much more than the biology of that loss that needs to be grieved. The dreams of the future with the baby, the initial excitement of the pregnancy, the milestones that go with expecting. These are all suddenly taken away when miscarriage occurs. When a family member or loved one passes away, we have ceremonies and traditions to allow our grief to surface. Finding a way to acknowledge the pregnancy in a physical representation can be helpful. Couples may choose to do this by planting a tree in their garden, or having a memento that can be seen and taken out when they feel the need to honour their loss. Having a physical representation can also be used as a way to connect the loss of the baby to the parents’ children who are already a part of the family.