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Questions to ask your doctor about getting pregnant

What to ask your doctor - pregnancy; What to ask your doctor - conception; Questions - infertility

If you are trying to get pregnant, you may want to know what you can do to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. Here are some questions you may want to ask your doctor about getting pregnant.

Questions

At what age is it easiest to get pregnant?

  • When during my menstrual cycle will I be able to get pregnant?
  • If I am on birth control pills, how soon after I stop taking them should I begin trying to get pregnant?
  • How long do I need to be off the pill before I can conceive? What about other forms of birth control?
  • How long does it take to get pregnant naturally?
  • Will I get pregnant on my first attempt?
  • How frequently do we need to have sex to conceive successfully?
  • At what age am I less likely to get pregnant naturally?

Will my health affect my chances of getting pregnant?

  • Will the medicines I am taking affect my chances of getting pregnant?
  • Are there any medicines I should stop taking?
  • Should I wait if I had a surgery or radiation treatment recently?
  • Do STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) interfere with pregnancy?
  • Do I need to get treatment for STDs before pregnancy?
  • Do I need any medical tests or vaccines before trying to conceive?
  • Will mental stressor other mental health conditions affect my chances of pregnancy?

Do we need genetic counseling?

  • What are the chances of our baby inheriting the condition that runs in the family?
  • Do we need to get any tests done?

Are there any lifestyle changes I should make?

  • Can I continue consuming alcohol or smoking while trying to conceive?
  • Do smoking or consuming alcohol affect my chances of getting pregnant or my baby?
  • Do I need to stop exercising?
  • Will making any changes to my diet help me get pregnant?
  • What are prenatal vitamins? Why do I need them?
  • When should I start taking them? How long do I need to take them?

Will my weight affect my chances of getting pregnant? If so, how?

  • If I am overweight, do I need to reduce my weight?
  • If I am underweight, do I need to gain weight before trying to conceive?

Does my partner's health affect my chances of getting pregnant or the health of the baby?

  • Do we need to wait if he had a surgery or a radiation treatment recently?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes he should make to help us become pregnant?
  • I have been trying to get pregnant for some time without success. Should we get examined for infertility?

References

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Before pregnancy. www.cdc.gov/preconception/index.html. Updated October 17, 2019. Accessed October 22, 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Trouble getting pregnant. www.cdc.gov/pregnancy/trouble.html. Updated August 25, 2015. Accessed March 23, 2018.

Stotland NE, Bodnar LM, Abrams B. Maternal Nutrition. In: Creasy RK, Resnik R, Iams JD, Lockwood CJ, Moore TR, Greene MF, eds. Creasy and Resnik's Maternal-Fetal Medicine: Principles and Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 10.

  • Conception - pregnancy

    Animation

  •  

    Conception - pregnancy - Animation

    In this cut -away view you can see both the woman’s and the man’s reproductive organs during intercourse. Here are the penis, vagina, uterus, testicle and prostate gland. During sexual intercourse, the sperm are released into the vagina near the cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus. Here you can see the sperm swimming through the uterus and up the fallopian tubes. From their profiles, you can see the sperm actually have 3 parts: a head, a middle section, and a tail, which propels them through the uterus. If you take a closer look at the sperm's head, you’ll see that its covered with an enzyme cap that will help it break through the outer wall of the egg cell. Also within the head are clumps of chromosomes. Chromosomes contain the genetic material, or genes, that are the hereditary blueprints that get passed on to the baby. If a sperm containing a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a boy. If the lucky sperm contains an X Chromosome, then the baby will be a girl. In addition to a baby’s sex, the genes on the chromosomes determine thousands of other characteristics, including height, body shape, facial features and eye color, and may even influence characteristics like talent and aptitude. Now let's see what's going on with the egg cell. Here's the egg cell, moving through the fallopian tube. It can't swim by itself, so it gets moved along by the beating motion of tiny cilia that line the walls of the tube. Unless it gets fertilized, an egg can only survive for 12-24 hours after ovulation. Here you see the egg being met by the sperm. All of the sperm are trying to penetrate the egg. Actually those sperm are the only remaining survivors of the millions of sperm that were released into the woman’s reproductive tract. The woman’s reproductive tract has an acidic lining and a host of cellular defense mechanisms, making it a hostile environment, and few sperm are strong enough to make it to the egg. If you watch now you can see the process of fertilization beginning. When one of the sperm cells finally succeeds in breaking through the egg cell's outer membrane, you’ll see something remarkable happen: there it is! The egg cell is locking out other sperm cells from entering. This ensures that only one sperm cell fertilizes the egg cell. If more than one sperm cell was involved, the egg cell might not survive because it would have the wrong amount of genetic material. Now, here's the final part of fertilization: the sperm cell releases its nucleus containing the father’s chromosomes and then after several hours it unites with the nucleus of the egg cell, which contains the mother’s chromosomes. And when the two nuclei fuse, their genetic material combines together to create a zygote, which is what a fertilized egg cell is called.

  • Conception - pregnancy

    Animation

  •  

    Conception - pregnancy - Animation

    In this cut -away view you can see both the woman’s and the man’s reproductive organs during intercourse. Here are the penis, vagina, uterus, testicle and prostate gland. During sexual intercourse, the sperm are released into the vagina near the cervix, which is the entrance to the uterus. Here you can see the sperm swimming through the uterus and up the fallopian tubes. From their profiles, you can see the sperm actually have 3 parts: a head, a middle section, and a tail, which propels them through the uterus. If you take a closer look at the sperm's head, you’ll see that its covered with an enzyme cap that will help it break through the outer wall of the egg cell. Also within the head are clumps of chromosomes. Chromosomes contain the genetic material, or genes, that are the hereditary blueprints that get passed on to the baby. If a sperm containing a Y chromosome fertilizes the egg, the baby will be a boy. If the lucky sperm contains an X Chromosome, then the baby will be a girl. In addition to a baby’s sex, the genes on the chromosomes determine thousands of other characteristics, including height, body shape, facial features and eye color, and may even influence characteristics like talent and aptitude. Now let's see what's going on with the egg cell. Here's the egg cell, moving through the fallopian tube. It can't swim by itself, so it gets moved along by the beating motion of tiny cilia that line the walls of the tube. Unless it gets fertilized, an egg can only survive for 12-24 hours after ovulation. Here you see the egg being met by the sperm. All of the sperm are trying to penetrate the egg. Actually those sperm are the only remaining survivors of the millions of sperm that were released into the woman’s reproductive tract. The woman’s reproductive tract has an acidic lining and a host of cellular defense mechanisms, making it a hostile environment, and few sperm are strong enough to make it to the egg. If you watch now you can see the process of fertilization beginning. When one of the sperm cells finally succeeds in breaking through the egg cell's outer membrane, you’ll see something remarkable happen: there it is! The egg cell is locking out other sperm cells from entering. This ensures that only one sperm cell fertilizes the egg cell. If more than one sperm cell was involved, the egg cell might not survive because it would have the wrong amount of genetic material. Now, here's the final part of fertilization: the sperm cell releases its nucleus containing the father’s chromosomes and then after several hours it unites with the nucleus of the egg cell, which contains the mother’s chromosomes. And when the two nuclei fuse, their genetic material combines together to create a zygote, which is what a fertilized egg cell is called.

    A Closer Look

     

    Talking to your MD

     
     

    Review Date: 4/12/2018

    Reviewed By: Peter J. Chen, MD, FACOG, Associate Professor of OBGYN at Cooper Medical School at Rowan University, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 10/22/2019.

    The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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