The answer is a resounding YES! An obstetrician is a physician who specializes in caring for women prior to and during pregnancy as well as during and after childbirth. They’re exactly your go-to if you have fertility issues or trying to conceive.
Below, we’ll delve into how an obstetrician can help you plan your pregnancy, boost your odds of getting pregnant quickly, and overcome fertility issues.
HOW YOUR OBSTETRICIAN CAN HELP YOU PLAN FOR PREGNANCY
If you have decided to try for a baby, an obstetrician can help ensure you are physically and emotionally equipped to carry a pregnancy to term. They can also offer guidance and education to help improve your chances of getting pregnant – quickly.
Initially, your obstetrician may carry out a number of screening tests to check you are healthy and to detect any issues that may affect your pregnancy or your chances of conceiving successfully. These tests may include the following:
- Pap smear – This is carried out to detect precancerous or cancerous cervical cells. Early detection of abnormalities can help improve the effectiveness of treatment.
- HPV (human papillomavirus) test – This is typically recommended for women aged over 30 to detect certain strains of HPV, which is the culprit in cervical cancer.
- Blood test – Your obstetrician may recommend that you get blood work to identify certain genetic disorders, such as Tay-Sachs disease, sickle cell disease, and thalassemia, which can cause serious health problems and could be passed on to the baby.
- STD screening – Your obstetrician may want to screen you for (STDs), such as chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea which, if left untreated, can affect your fertility and cause complications during your pregnancy.
Your obstetrician may also recommend lifestyle changes to improve the chances of you getting pregnant and to enhance your overall health. This can include giving up alcohol and caffeine, making healthy food choices, getting regular exercise, reducing stress at work, improving sleep habits, and reaching a healthy weight.
If you are taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications, your obstetrician will go through these medications with you to check if it is safe to take them. You may require adjustments or be told to stop taking them altogether to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Some medications can also cause complications during pregnancy and can have an impact on embryo development.
Your obstetrician will recommend you start taking a folic acid supplement as soon as you decide you want to try to get pregnant. Folic acid reduces the risk of the baby developing a neural tube defect, such as spina bifida. You need to take the supplement every day from before you get pregnant right through 12 weeks of pregnancy.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE ARE FERTILITY ISSUES?
There is no set time as to how long it can take for someone to conceive. Some people get pregnant very quickly, while others take a lot longer. If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than a year (or 6 months if you’re over age 35) but without success, you should visit your obstetrician for advice.
Fertility issues can cause a variety of emotions from frustration – to sadness and despair. Your obstetrician will be with you to provide the compassionate and expert care you need to navigate your fertility issues.
Initially, your obstetrician will want to learn more about you, your menstrual cycle, and other factors to establish whether there are any areas that need to be addressed. Your obstetrician will carry out a physical examination, go through your medical history, and ask you relevant questions.
By learning more about your cycle, your obstetrician can help you better predict your fertile window, which is the best time for you to try to conceive. Your OB/GYN may suggest a range of techniques, such as the following:
- Ovulation test strip kits – These are simple urine tests that are designed to help detect when you are ovulating. The strip detects when there are levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in the urine, which indicates the best time to conceive.
- Checking cervical mucus – The amount and type of cervical mucus produced by a woman varies throughout her menstrual cycle. During ovulation, cervical mucus typically has a slippery and clear consistency (similar to egg whites), which indicates the fertile window
- Body temperature – This is usually slightly elevated during ovulation.
To establish the cause of your fertility problem, your obstetrician may want to perform certain tests, such as:
- Urine tests – to check for signs of ovulation
- Blood tests – to measure hormone levels, thyroid function, and egg supply
- Imaging tests and other procedures – to check the reproductive organs are functioning correctly.
- Semen analysis – to check the number and quality of the sperm.
The cause of infertility is not always clear, but there are a number of treatment options available. If you are considering fertility treatment, your obstetrician can help you decide which option is best for your condition. It could be any of the following:
- Medical treatment (e.g., irregular ovulation)
- Surgical treatment – This may be recommended if there’s a necessity to clear a blockage in the fallopian tubes or to remove scar tissue, particularly if you have endometriosis.
- Assisted conception – (e.g., intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
BOARD-CERTIFIED OBSTETRICIAN IN WOOSTER, OHIO
At the Wooster Community Hospital (WCH) Women’s Pavilion, our team of highly experienced, board-certified OB/GYNs offers fertility evaluations, miscarriage intervention, prenatal care, well-woman exams, and many other services to help empower women to stay on top of their health and fulfill among the most important roles they are privileged to carry – conceiving and becoming a mother.
Arrange a consultation with one of our compassionate, board-certified OB/GYNs today. Call us at (330)202-5662. We look forward to helping you start a family!