Fertility and ovulation Q&A

Clearblue Expert GP Dr Alex Vass answers your fertility and ovulation questions

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Doctor Alex Vass and Clearblue joined us for a live webchat on Monday 13th May to answer you fertility and ovulation questions. Here are the questions you wanted answered and what guidance Clearblue Expert, GP, Dr Alex Vass gave…

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Q: I started TTC about two months ago and can’t wait to finally get pregnant. Would you recommend that I try and cut out any specific food groups?

A: When trying to get pregnant, eating a well balanced healthy diet is important. Once you do get pregnant you should avoid raw meats/fish and mould-ripened soft cheese, such as brie and camembert, whether it’s made with cows’ or goats’ milk. You should also avoid blue-veined cheeses, such as Danish blue, gorgonzola and roquefort. Don’t eat liver or liver products such as liver pate or liver sausage, as they may contain a lot of vitamin A. Too much vitamin A can harm your baby.

Q: I fell pregnant with my first two children really quickly, however now we are trying for number three it has been 6 months and still no positive result. I am 40 next year and worry that I have left it too late. Is there any way that my GP can check my fertility level, or is there a private test available?

A: Once you are over 35 your fertility levels do decrease, but you have only been trying for six months and it is quite normal to take up to a year to get pregnant, so keep trying and don’t lose hope! Make sure you are making love during your fertile time – an ovulation test kit is the best way to do this. Your GP can do a blood test to check for ovulation so pop in to have a chat.

Q: I work in a really pressured job and I am worried that my stress levels are not really helping. Could you recommend any tips to help me relax a bit more?

A: Yes, being stressed is not helpful in getting pregnant! Simple things like exercise are excellent ways to deal with stress. I also suggest you speak to your GP about your stress levels as counselling can also help.

Q: I have heard that some natural herbs and supplements can really help increase my chances of getting pregnant. Is this true and can you recommend any?

A: Oh, I’m not sure about that – I’d stick to a healthy diet packed full of fruit and veg. Making sure you make love during the fertile time is my tip for getting pregnant as soon as possible – many couples don’t!

Q: I’m 36 and I’ve been on the pill since I was 16 – I’m worried that it might take me longer to conceive because of this – is this true, and does my body need a chance to recover?

A: Despite your worries, the good news is that the view from experts is that there’s no evidence to suggest the pill causes infertility. This is because the effects of the pill are completely reversible, so fertility isn’t affected at all.

Q: I’ve read that it is best to have sex a few days before you ovulate and have also read it’s best to have sex a few days after ovulation. Please can you advise the best times as my periods are irregular – anywhere from 20 to 26 days.

A: Having sex every couple of days is fine right through your fertile time. As your cycle is irregular you would benefit from an ovulation test kit so you can take the guesswork out of timing when you have sex.

Q: I have been trying to conceive for over six months now. I am starting to think it will never happen. Should I see my GP?

A: It is quite natural to take up to a year to get pregnant so don’t worry! If it comes to a year then yes see your GP, but I am sure you will be pregnant soon!

Q: How do you know when you are ovulating? Is this the only time you can fall pregnant?

A: Yes, you can only get pregnant when you are ovulating. Ovulation is usually 12 to 16 days before your period, but it’s hard to be more exact about the timing. An ovulation test kit is an easy way to find when you are most fertile.

Q: I have been on the pill since 2008 after I had my little girl. I started off on Microgynon and was then changed to Cerazette about 2/3 years ago. I stopped taking this 4 weeks ago and still have had no signs of any period, but have been feeling sick, especially in the mornings and really bloated. How long does it take for everything to become normal again and could I fall pregnant without first having a period?

A: After Cerazette or indeed other pills, many women don’t have periods for a while, but they usually start up by three months or so. But you could ovulate at any time and so can still get pregnant. If your period has not come by three months then have a chat with your GP – and of course check now and then for pregnancy, especially if you feel pregnant!

Q: I had a miscarriage in October and have been trying to conceive since December. Tomorrow is my due date and I am not coping well at all with not being pregnant. With my two sons and the baby I lost I fell pregnant very quickly. I am 38 and I am getting worried but my GP is not taking my concerns very seriously. Do you have any advice?

A: Oh I am sorry to hear about your miscarriage and how it is affecting you. You know you can get pregnant, so keep that in your mind and stay positive. I can understand that you want to get pregnant as quickly as possible, so I wonder if you have tried an ovulation test kit? The kit by Clearblue identified two high fertility and two peak fertility days, and so by using the kit you can maximise your chances of getting pregnant again. I am sure it will happen soon.

Q: How do you keep the magic alive when having sex to a schedule?

A: Keeping the magic alive is tricky and it is a common problem when trying for a baby. Ovulation is just once a month, so try and make it a special occasion and do something, say a date night, to make the evening special and less focused just on love making.

Q: I know roughly when I got pregnant the first time around, should I aim for a similar time (eg. the same month?)

A: No, I don’t think there is any evidence to show that works! Your fertility is not affected by the month – or the moon or the tides for that matter!

Q: What can my husband do to boost his sperm and libido when he’s on morphine? We have been trying for four years for our second child and he is refusing to see a doctor about it. With our first he was on Tramadol and she took three years with a miscarriage. I also have an under-active thyroid, which I’m on medication for since my miscarriage.

A: This is a tricky situation – you have clearly been trying for long time and so need, somehow, to persuade him to see his GP to get some help. Perhaps you could go together? Also, as you have been trying for a while now you may be referred to a fertility expert and there is a lot that can be done to help you both.

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If you have any further questions remember you can find Clearblue Expert, GP, Dr Alex Vass on the Clearblue Advice Centre. Click on the community forum called ‘Ask the Doctor’ and submit your questions.

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