How to get Your Body Baby-Ready
There are plenty of new A-list babies in T'Town - Jennifer Garner, Hilary Duff and Peaches Geldof are all new mums - but some famous ladies are having a tough time growing bumps! Kate Middleton may be a Royal, but she hasn't followed in Princess Diana or Queen Elizabeth's footsteps with motherhood. As she hits her one year anniversary with Prince William, she still hasn't produced an heir. Could it be because of her very thin frame? In her first year of marriage, we've watched her waistline shrink to a sample size before our very eyes. She even made Nicole Kidman look less than slim when the two met last year. She could need to pack on a few pounds if she wants to conceive soon! As for T'Town starlet Cameron Diaz, she's finally showing interest in having kids, but with no man on the scene, Cameron has
hinted she’s considering adoption. She would be following in the footsteps of Charlize
Theron, who adopted her son Jackson in March, and Angelina Jolie who adopted
three of her six kids with fiancé Brad Pitt. “I could end up adopting
children,” Cam revealed. “I'm not trying to fit into anyone's box about how I
should be. I just fit in my own box.” It might become more of a need rather than a choice as Cameron is turning the big 4-0 in August, making it much harder for her to conceive naturally.
“While everyone is different, 20 per cent of couples don’t get pregnant in the first year, but by the second year 95 per cent have conceived,” explains Marilyn Glenville, author of Getting Pregnant Faster (Dhs50, amazon.co.uk) who says that the general age of first-time mothers is 29. And while we’ve all heard the statistics before, just to clarify: according to the Human Fertility and Embryology Authority, at 35 you’re half as fertile as you were at 25; at 40, you’re half as fertile as you were at 35. Whatever your age, though, there are specific lifestyle tweaks you can make to up your pregnancy potential. So, if you’re going ga-ga over Baby Gap here’s what you can do to max-out your chances of motherhood.
Yes, we know telling you to stop all birth control measures is obvious, but depending on what form of contraception you’ve been taking, it can take time for your body to get back into sync. “After stopping the contraceptive pill, your periods can return immediately if they were regular before you started the pill. If there is a delay, it’s usually of two to three months,” explains Dr Rosalie Sant, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Dubai’s Primavera Medical Centre (primaveraclinic.com). “If your periods were irregular before the pill, than this is likely to recur. You will typically get two to three normal periods before irregular periods reappear. After stopping taking injectables, periods usually take a few months, but can take up to a year to return.”
Timing is Everything
Just in case you weren’t paying attention during all those biology lessons, here’s a quick reminder (and no talking at the back!). “A woman is at her most fertile when she’s ovulating – the average time of ovulation is the 14th day of an average 28-day menstrual cycle,” says Dr Sant. “However, if you don’t have a regular 28-day cycle this calculation will not be effective. The easy way to suss out your ovulation period is to count backwards 14 days from the average length of menstrual cycle. For example, if your average cycle is 35 days then the expected day of ovulation is day 21.” And by the way, certain experts believe that climbing between the sheets three days prior to ovulation increase your chances of having a girl, while having sex closer to ovulation increase your chances of a boy.
● Tricky to calculate your ovulation period? Try an ovulation prediction kit, available from pharmacies.
Set your alarm early
Skip your pre-work boot camp for some bedroom exercise. The highest number of sperm in semen is found in the morning, so having sex then gives a better chance of conception. And experts believe that the missionary position is best. Lying in bed for 20-30 minutes after intercourse can also increase the chances of fertilisation of an egg, so don’t go rushing off straightaway.
Weed it out
OK, we don’t want to be killjoys, but if you really want to get in the ‘family way’ there are certain vices that have to be forfeited. First, says Glenville, “If you smoke, stop. You’re twice as likely to get pregnant if you don’t smoke compared to women who do, plus smoking is linked to 5,000 miscarriages per year (FYI, a woman in her 20s has a 12-15 per cent chance of miscarriage during an unassisted childbirth, while the odds are one in two for a woman over 40). And Glenville is keen to point out that ditching the habit is just as important for your partner, too. “Chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage DNA in sperm, which can make it harder to conceive because fertilisation can’t take place,” she warns. And while we’re on the subject, smoking has also been proven to reduce your chances of successful IUI or IVF. One trial found that the overall success rate of IVF was 44 per cent for non-smokers and 24 per cent for smokers.
● Can’t stop? Read The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr (Dhs25, amazon.co.uk).
Keep it cool
While a romantic bath together might be just what you need to get you in the baby making mood, it’s best if you slip into the tub solo. “Hot baths can hinder sperm production,” says Glenville. “The same goes for if your man favours tight underwear. The testes are on the outside of a man’s body to keep them cooler, but the closer they get to the body, ie by sitting for long periods when driving, can heat up the sperm and reduce the count.” And if your man sits with his laptop on his lap then this may also disrupt your chances of pregnancy. “Men often close their legs to do this which (even without the laptop) raises the temperature of their genitals by up 2.1 degrees Celsius – just a rise of one degree Celsius can decrease fertility by a massive 40 per cent.”
Edit your liquids
It’s time to knock those Ladies’ Nights on the head. Just three alcoholic drinks or more a week can hinder your success rate, and, says Glenville, “It’s even suggested that alcohol intake could be used as a predictor for infertility for woman aged over 30.” And don’t think you can swap your tipple for any old nonalcoholic alternative either. Having four cups of coffee or any caffeinated drink a day makes it 26 per cent less likely that you’ll fall pregnant, so stick to non-caffeinated, water and juices.
Supp it up
Research by the US Harvard School of Public Health has shown that some supplements can play a part. But what to pop?
● FOLIC ACID It’s known that folic acid can prevent spinabifida. Super important, it works to ensure that your baby’s genetic codes are intact.
● ZINC Zinc is needed to make the outer layer and tail of the sperm. When men who were subfertile were given a combination of zinc and folic acid, it showed a 74 per cent increase in total sperm count.
● SELENIUM Selenium is an antioxidant that helps to protect your body from free radicals (nasty chemicals in the environment). It can prevent chromosome breakage, which is known to be a cause of birth defects and miscarriages.
● VITAMIN E A powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to increase fertility. With men it helps to increase fertilisation rates; with women over 35 it has been shown to reduce ovulation decline.
● VITAMIN D Vitamin D helps to balance your immune system, which is hyper important in getting and staying pregnant. Take it in pill form, or try to make the most of the UAE sunshine…
Being desperate for a baby can often become a barrier for it happening. Dr Sant says, “I believe in the strength of the subconscious mind! If you’re trying to conceive stop thinking and worrying about it all the time.” So, stop the pressure and the pitter-patter will happen naturally…