When is the right time to seek “help” when you’re trying to conceive?Jun 20, 2023
I guess the question is - at what point should you worry that you’re still not pregnant?
When you’re trying to conceive, time can feel like it’s standing still. The timed sex, the two-week wait, and the final let down. Just one month seems like an eternity. And if you’re impatient like me, you expect it to happen straight away.
Our first month of trying to conceive was exciting. I had been on contraception consistently for 15 years before we started trying to get pregnant, so this felt freeing and reckless. When it didn’t happen, I was disappointed. The second month was met with trepidation and a little more “trying”. The third month was when I started to become consumed with googling and tracking. And by the fourth and fifth month, my husband and I were struggling with the timed sex, and the pressure that was being put on us to have sex at the "right time".
By the 6th month, we figured it was time for help. So, we went and saw a doctor with our sex life in tatters, and feeling completely disheartened.
It’s a big decision to go and get professional help, and we face a lot of internal struggles about “when is the right time” to call in the big guns.
On one hand, we come across resistance because it’s not how we pictured it. We’ve been taught for so long that it’s really easy to get pregnant. According to my sex education classes, all you had to do was have unprotected sex, and BAM! you’re pregnant (which is definitely not true). So, when it’s not happening for you, it comes as a surprise, and the thought of getting help doesn’t align with our expectation.
We also find it hard to ask for help. Putting my hand up and saying that I actually don’t have this covered – something that seems to come quite easily to others, was hard. Heck – I find it hard to ask my partner to hang up the washing for me, let alone asking a complete stranger for help to have a baby.
Fear also stops us. We want to know, but we don’t want to know. It’s scary to admit that there could potentially be a problem, so we keep trying blindly month after month. Trying to ignore it.
The thought of getting turned away by our doctor and being made to feel like we’re overreacting also plays a role in whether we seek help. We don’t want to feel silly, nor do we want to worry unnecessarily.
There are so many reasons why we resist it.
So, what are the guidelines here? At what point should you seek help when trying to conceive (TTC)?
According to the professionals, you should consult a doctor after a year of trying. But if you are 35 or older, you should get tested after trying for 6 months.
Of course, there are other reasons for seeking help sooner, such as –
- a family history of early menopause
- symptoms of PCOS, endometriosis, or irregular periods
- previous pregnancy losses
- history of cancer or chemotherapy
- you or your partner have been heavy smokers or drinkers
- your partner has a history of scrotal trauma or is experiencing erectile disfunction
- you’ve been told in the past that you may have trouble conceiving.
Please note, if any of these other factors relate to you, I don’t mean to worry you – these don’t exclude you from getting pregnant. But they may be contributing to why you’re not pregnant just yet.
If you’re still not sure whether to ask for help, here are some advantages and disadvantages of talking to your doctor and potentially getting checked –
It gives you clarity and direction. If you’ve been doing circles in your mind, you’ve tried a number of things, and you still aren’t pregnant, this could give you an answer or a course of action.
It allows you to feel like you’re actually doing something. So often we feel helpless and need to be taking action. Your doctor can provide you with a number of steps you can take moving forward.
It is empowering. Knowledge can be such a powerful tool. There are so many things I wish I had known when I first started trying to conceive. Arm yourself with the questions, and pick your doctor’s brain.
If there is an issue, this will save you time and heartache upfront. There is nothing worse than finding out 5 years down the track that your partner has a low sperm count, or your fallopian tubes are blocked. And you spent all that time blaming yourself, when you could have been taking action.
It can cause additional stress if you don’t find the right doctor (see below).
If you don’t get answers, it can be disheartening. Unexplained infertility really does suck.
Ok, I’m going to be honest – I’m really struggling and stretching to find disadvantages of not seeking help. At the end of the day, it’s better to ask for directions, than drive around in the dark for hours (if you get my drift).
Most importantly however, make sure you find a doctor who will hear you, answer your questions, who will take the time to explain how everything works, and what your next steps are. If you feel dismissed, confused, or like they aren’t interested, find another doctor immediately. I cannot tell you how many people I speak to who were dismissed by their doctor when they truly felt that something was wrong, only to find out down the track that there was in fact something wrong, and they wasted time before getting the right help.
Going to a doctor doesn’t mean you’ll automatically be referred to an IVF clinic. But if you have to go to a fertility specialist, you can find some tips for selecting the right fertility clinic for you, HERE.
At the end of the day however, there is no right or wrong time to seek help when you’re struggling to get pregnant. It’s whenever you feel like it’s time.
The only thing that makes the timing right or wrong is hindsight. I see it all the time with my clients. They beat themselves up for not trying sooner, or for not seeking help sooner. It’s so easy to look backward and see what we should or shouldn’t have done. But we don’t know if things would have turned out differently regardless of whether we’d received help sooner. We can only assume it would have been better.
We need to stop punishing ourselves for waiting too long, or for not waiting long enough. Because in reality, none of us has a crystal ball. We are merely making the best decisions based on the information we have at the time. So give yourself a little grace.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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