I am always being asked, “What can I do to improve my chances for pregnancy?” Besides taking prenatal vitamins and leading a healthy lifestyle, these are tips for any woman seeking better communication with her fertility specialist.
Be well informed, but don’t rely solely on the Internet.
- Reading about your medical condition and understanding test results and treatment options can be really empowering, but not everything you read on the Internet is accurate, or applies to your individual situation
- Make sure you ask your doctor what resources they would recommend, as they know your health and can make treatment options tailored just for you.
- The American Society for Reproductive Medicine has a patient educational website, which features patient information fact sheets as well as videos here.
Enlist your partner in the process.
- Patients whose partners come to their initial consultation, as well as follow-up appointments, not only seem to experience less stress, but have better overall outcomes.
- If you have a male partner, your fertility specialist can only understand his role in your mutual inability to conceive if your doctor has reviewed his medical history as well.
- If you have a female partner, she can be an important source of support and help during the treatment.
- Your partner can be your best advocate and advisor when considering treatment options, but this can only happen if they are engaged in the process.
Respect your doctor’s time.
- Make an appointment to meet with your doctor in person or via telemedicine.
- No phone call or email is a substitute for an appointment.
- Appointments are time reserved to focus solely on you and your partner, and without face to face discussion, doctors cannot get to know you as completely and personally as possible.
Take ownership of your health.
- If your doctor mentions personal issues like weight loss, smoking cessation, or other lifestyle changes, take the time to understand that your doctor is not making a judgment on you. It is your doctors job to make sure you are headed to the healthiest you, and the recommendations they make are with you and your health in mind. Your doctors have you and your success in mind.
Be positive, patient, and realistic.
- Negative thinking can impact your pregnancy in the fact that it stresses you out. Higher stress on your body can cause issues physically, which can ultimately affect your pregnancy chances.
- If you are feeling overwhelmed and depressed, please speak with your doctors about counseling. You are not alone in this journey, but it may take a while to find a combination that works best for you.
- Being realistic about your fertility chances may allow you to move through opportunities that may be more successful in the long term, such as IVF, third party reproductive assistance, or even adoption.
Finally, make sure that you communicate with your physician all of your concerns and questions. Communication is the key to a better fertility experience and journey.
If you suspect that your fertility may be compromised and would like to set up a consultation, contact us here.
Updated 8/2021: Original written by Dr. Pei-Li Huang, MD: Partner & Founder, Fertility Solutions