Singapore's declining birth rate is real. Many couples are marrying later due to financial work and commitment. When it comes to natural conception, some couples may need a little more help. If you are one of them, Dr Law Wei Seng, obstetrician and gynaecologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital has a few tips to help you conceive faster, naturally.
Timing is everything
Having regular intercourse, about three times a week, can greatly increase the chance of pregnancy. Couples can use an ovulation kit to predict the timing of ovulation and plan (yes, plan) the coital sessions. Though it may sound strange, the egg actually has only a 24-hour window to get pregnant each month. On the other hand, sperm survives for 3-5 days inside a woman's body.
Having sex two to three days before the ovulation window will maximise the likelihood of pregnancy. The window can be tracked quite easily if you have been charting the menstrual cycle for a few months. This is more effective than the traditional 'day 14' of the cycle, because the window might have closed by then.
Better sex means better chances
In women, the orgasm reached during sex will produce spasmic movements that help draw sperm up the womb through the birth canal. Men's sperm count is also believed to increase with better orgasm. There are many techniques out there which you can learn to increase sexual enjoyment, so find the one that works best for both of you.
Poised for pregnancy
When having sex, avoid positions where the woman is on top as sperm may leak out. The missionary position, with a pillow under the hips, is probably the best way to keep the sperm in longer. Do not get up immediately so as to allow the sperm to stay in the vagina for as long as possible.
Stay off the vices
Alcohol increases the desire but reduces performance. Both smoking and alcohol renders you less fertile. And since pregnancy is the goal, it is best to cut down early as it will be detrimental for the unborn child.
See a specialist
A qualified gynaecologist will be able to help you maximise your chances and detect any underlying health issues, such as infections and endometriosis, which may impair fertility. He or she can also prescribe prenatal vitamins for that added boost prior to conceiving. Those with irregular periods or painful periods may suffer from a variety of conditions that affect fertility. If you or your partner has a history of sexually transmitted disease, treatment should be sought early to prevent complications.
Do seek professional help if you are unable to conceive after one year of unprotected sex. However, women above 35 should not wait too long as risk to the unborn child (e.g. Down's Syndrome) increases with advancing maternal age. For this group, is advisable to seek help after six months of trying.
Take advantage of medical advancements
A simple blood test can help to assess ovarian and ovulation function. Keyhole surgeries are minimally invasive, and are sometimes recommended to check on the fallopian tubes and ensure they are unblocked.
And there is a better way still: Recent advances in fertiloscopy allow specialists to assess the tube and pelvis without scarring, and can be performed under general or local anaesthesia. This procedure is performed through the vaginal canal without need for incision, unlike keyhole surgery. It also allows medical professionals to visualise the inside of the fallopian tube for better assessment.
So there you have it. In summary, it helps to time your sessions, chart the ovulation cycles, stay off the vices and consult a medical professional when needed - because even Mother Nature needs a little help sometimes. Most of all, don't forget to enjoy the act of copulation!
Publication of article by courtesy of Dr Law Wei Seng, an obstetrician and gynaecologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital.