When you’re trying to start a family, it’s not always easy to know when to ask for medical help. And once you do reach out, you may find that you’re not sure what needs to be discussed to increase your chances of conceiving. But even if you feel unsure about meeting with a doctor, it’s important to check in with your physicians throughout your family planning journey. Most notably, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor if:
- You and your partner are just starting to discuss getting pregnant.
- You are 35 years old or younger, and you have been trying to get pregnant for 1 year.
- You are over 35 years old, and you have been trying for 6 months.
By sitting down with a practitioner, you can put your uneasiness to rest and can address any fertility issues you may be dealing with, possibly before you even know there’s an issue. This post is designed to help you work through this process, and provides helpful questions you can ask during these appointments to maximize your chances of starting a family.
The Preconception Appointment
There are two big reasons to schedule a preconception appointment before you try to conceive:
- You’ll be working to ensure that your pregnancy is as healthy as possible from the moment of conception.
- You’ll be able to address minor fertility issues early on, increasing your chances of conceiving sooner.
To get the most out of a preconception appointment, you and your partner should both undergo basic physicals that look over your general physical and reproductive health. You should also answer your doctor’s questions as thoroughly as possible. By being honest and straightforward, you can help ensure that your doctor has the information they need to assist you.
You should also gather any information about possible negative health or environmental factors you can address during your appointment. In many cases, outside factors can delay your conception efforts by causing subfertility issues. The sooner you address these possible factors, the better your chances of conceiving will be!
Questions you can ask to help in this process include:
- Could any previous health issues (including STDs) or chronic health issues affect our fertility?
- Could any of our lifestyle habits currently impact our fertility?
- Should we look for environmental factors in our home or worksite?
- Could anything in our family histories impact our fertility?
- Could the medications or vitamins we take affect our fertility or a pregnancy?
- Are there any additional supplements you can recommend to help us address any possible health or fertility issues early?
- Do you recommend that we wait to conceive until a certain date in the future? What do you recommend to ensure that we’re as fertile and healthy as possible before then?
The 1 Year/6 Month Appointment
If 1 year (or 6 months, depending on your age) goes by and you are experiencing trouble getting pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor, who may refer you to a fertility specialist.
The direction of this appointment will depend in part on how thorough your preconception appointment was. If, for example, you had no preconception appointment, your doctor will likely review your past medical issues, lifestyle habits and possible environmental factors. If this is the case, the questions recommended above for preconception appointments should be asked during this appointment.
If, however, these sources had been thoroughly examined previously, your doctor may move on to more in-depth testing. Though fertility exams can seem daunting, it’s important to remain engaged and to ask questions during the process. Questions you can ask to help include:
- What are the possible environmental reasons we haven’t yet conceived?
- What are possible serious health issues we may need to deal with?
- What kind of tests will we need to rule out any serious health issues?
If you receive a diagnosis, you should also ask the following questions:
- What are the treatment options and how invasive/expensive are they?
- What sorts of short- or long-term side effects can we expect from these treatments?
- Are there things we can do to naturally address this issue?
Don’t Put Off These Appointments!
If you’re a little hesitant to schedule an appointment to discuss your fertility, we understand completely: speaking with a doctor about your fertility can be an intimidating and frustrating process. At the same time, it can also provide relief and you the answers to questions you want to ask, but are afraid to mention to friends or family.
Most importantly, the help that doctors provide can be extremely effective. As a result of today’s advanced medical testing, 6 out of 7 couples who seek medical help conceiving receive a diagnosis and real tips on how to overcome their fertility issues!
We encourage you to schedule any appointments you may need ASAP, and also encourage you to remain calm, open, and honest while meeting with your doctors. Doing this, while also engaging in your appointments with questions such as the ones we’ve listed here, will help make the entire process of conceiving much easier on you – and may help you achieve your family planning goals that much sooner.