Pregnancy: Preparing for Pregnancy (cont.)

MEMBER QUESTION:
Have you ever heard of douching with boric acid to change the Ph balance to help conceive?

CURTIS:
I don't think it is a good idea to douche at all, or with anything, while you are trying to get pregnant. Claims have been made over the years about different things to use to make it so that you conceive a boy or a girl or even multiple pregnancies. My feeling, very strongly, is that douching will make it so that you don't get pregnant, and I would advise strongly against it while you are trying to conceive. It doesn't usually work, and I think in most cases it will make it harder for you to conceive.

"If you really want to do what is the lowest risk for your baby, it would be best to keep the amount of alcohol exposure as low as possible."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I exercise regularly and want to know if it is OK to exercise when you are ovulating? Will it affect ovulation or my chances of conceiving?

CURTIS:
I think exercise is great when you are trying to conceive, during early pregnancy, and during regular pregnancy. My caution would be that if you have had complications in the past, such as recurrent miscarriage or bleeding during pregnancy or premature labor or delivery, it would be best to talk with your provider about your exercise plan before you become pregnant.

I would put this in the category of preparing for pregnancy, and when you are trying to get pregnant you exercise, you eat, and you take care of yourself as though you were already pregnant. By that I mean you maintain the level of exercise you are already doing and don't increase it, such as by training for a race or a marathon.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I am going for my annual next week. Any specific tests or questions I should ask my ob-gyn about since we will be trying within the next year to get pregnant?

CURTIS:
I wish everyone planned ahead like this. By going for your annual exam you can make sure that your PAP smear is normal, and you can also make sure that you don't have other medical problems. Included in this would also be reviewing medications that you take, such as thyroid medication, and also planning, as far as medical tests. If you have never been pregnant before, then it would be OK to ask about checking for rubella antibodies.

During that visit a good question to ask would be, "I am planning to get pregnant in the next year, is there anything about my health that I need to take care of?" The answers to that question will be specific for you with regards to your health, your weight, and even your nutrition. The questions would need to be specific for your health, but could save you a lot of trouble and concern by taking care of things before pregnancy.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Is one intercourse position better if TTC?

CURTIS:
Most infertility specialists will recommend that you take gravity to its fullest advantage, and that means for a woman to be lying on her back. Anatomically, the vagina is tilted from the outside to the top of the vagina, or where the cervix is, when a woman is lying on her back. By using that position it allows the sperm that are deposited in the back of the vagina to stay there and have a chance to go into the cervix and through the uterus. That would be my recommendation.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Hello, I am currently overweight for my height (I have lost 15 pounds over the past two months). My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant now for nine months without any success. I'm 32 years old. Should I begin to panic?

CURTIS:
If you are a little bit overweight, it shouldn't make a difference in getting pregnant. Being overweight when trying to get pregnant, or during pregnancy, is pretty common. It would be ideal to lose the weight before you become pregnant, because once pregnancy happens, you will be advised not to diet. However, what is ideal in this world doesn't usually happen.

One of the problems with being overweight is that it can change your periods. This, then, creates a problem as far as knowing when or if you are ovulating. Another concern would be trying to lose weight and taking diet medications when you are trying to conceive. Most of these medications are not considered safe during pregnancy and should be avoided.

"One of the problems with being overweight is that it can change your periods. This, then, creates a problem as far as knowing when or if you are ovulating."

MEMBER QUESTION:
Is it OK to use saliva as lubrication if you're dry during intercourse? And is oral sex ok when TTC?

MEMBER QUESTION:
Does using lubrication for dryness decrease your chance of conception?

CURTIS:
Lubrication can be an important issue when you are trying to conceive. One thing that happens to most women around the time of ovulation is an increase in vaginal discharge. Some women are able to tell that they are ovulating or when it is happening just by the change in discharge. If you are very dry when you think you are ovulating, that would be something to tell your doctor, because it could be a clue about your ovulation.

As far as substances for lubrication, I would advise not using them because of the possible effects they could have in making it so that you can't conceive. In your specific case, that would be a good question for your provider.

MEMBER QUESTION:
Why does it take so long for the average couple to get pregnant? Is the timing so hard to get right?

CURTIS:
With everything that we have discussed today I think it's important to recognize the miracle that happens during pregnancy. As I say that, I'm looking at a picture of two of my grandkids. Somehow, a sperm and an egg get together, fertilization occurs, and from that about nine months later, a baby is born. I think it is a miracle that it even happens at all, and sometimes the best things that we can do in trying to get pregnant is to not do too many things to get in the way so that it can happen. I think it's important to be aware of the miracle of pregnancy and attempt to get pregnant with confidence, and when it doesn't happen to get help from someone who knows what they're doing.

MODERATOR:
We are out of time. Thanks to Glade Curtis, MD, for joining us. For more information from Dr. Curtis, pick up a copy of his book, Your Pregnancy Week by Week . And be sure to explore all the TTC info here at WebMD, including our message boards, where you can post comments and questions for fellow WebMD members and our in-house health professionals. You can also explore the web site of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, at www.resolve.org.



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