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Women's Health

Mercy Women's Care at St. Anne
3404 W. Sylvania Avenue
Toledo, OH 43623
419-407-1616

Mercy Women's Care at St. Charles
Navarre Medical Plaza
2702 Navarre Avenue
Suite 101
Oregon, OH 43616
696-7900

Mercy Women's Care at St. V's
2213 Cherry Street
Toledo, OH 43608
419-251-4340

Getting through Pregnancy when you’re the Dad:

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If you’re hoping to be a parent soon but worried because pregnancy hasn’t happened yet, we have a section about male infertility too.

Infertility: Not just about Women

Infertility can affect women and men. Forty percent of infertility cases are the result of the woman's infertility, 40 percent the man's and in 20% of cases, both partners contribute to the problem. But remember, infertility is not the same as sterility, which means that pregnancy is not possible.

Characteristics of Healthy Sperm

To be successful in fertilizing an egg, sperm must:

  • Be present in sufficient volume (this is what’s meant by “sperm count)
  • Be active (this is sperm motility)
  • Be normal in shape and size

When you're trying to conceive a child, both you and your partner should

  • Eat a balanced diet. Not getting enough vitamins and minerals can affect the quality of your sperm.
  • Control the stress in your life by getting plenty of moderate exercise and by getting out and enjoying life. Exercising too intensely can build up heat in the testicles and reduce sperm count. (In general, you want to keep the scrotum from overheating. That’s why you may have heard it’s best not to wear tight fitting underwear or pants, and to avoid hot tubs, saunas, etc.)
  • Use alcohol in moderation. Going overboard with alcohol can reduce your ability to produce normally formed sperm cells.
  • Avoid smoking and illegal drugs. Cigarette smoking has been linked to lower sperm count and motility. Marijuana can lower sperm count too, and it can also cause abnormalities in sperm development.

If your partner is under age 35 and hasn’t become pregnant after a year of unprotected intercourse, it's a good idea for both of you to see a doctor to find out what is preventing conception. If your partner is 35 or older, it's best not to wait longer than six months.

Having trouble conceiving can be a stressful time for you and your partner. Make sure to communicate openly with each other during this time. Tell her how you’re feeling about things, and ask her to do the same.

***Reminder While you’re trying to conceive, help your partner remember to take 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. Folic acid is a B vitamin that helps to prevent certain birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

 

First Trimester (Months 1-3):

She’s Looks the Same, but Seems Different

Even though she looks the same, during the first three months of pregnancy a woman’s body is going through a lot of hormonal changes:

  • There’s a good chance that she’ll be more tired than you’ve ever seen her.
  • A lot of women feel queasy during the first trimester.
  • Breasts and nipples are likely to be tender.
  • Mood swings are common too, so she may be snappish or weepy at times.

In the first trimester, women can be acting so tired and strange that their partners might feel like a stranger has replaced their best friend. Don’t worry, she’ll be back. She just needs some time.

And what about you? How are you feeling about this big change in your life? If you’re having mixed emotions, that’s normal. Tell your partner how you’re feeling now. Talking honestly about how you both feel is one of the best ways to keep yourselves feeling connected as you go through this major life event.

How you can be supportive now:

  • If she’s feeling queasy, try bringing her some dry toast or crackers before she gets out of bed in the morning. Even if it doesn’t help much, she’ll appreciate the effort.
  • If you have the time to do some of the chores that she normally does, go for it. Giving her a chance to rest more is helpful right now.
  • Talk together about healthy diet and exercise. You can help her by eating the same kinds of healthy foods she needs to eat throughout the pregnancy. And you can exercise together too.
  • Be helpful in general. Ask her often what she’d like to eat, what you can do for her, etc.

Sex and the First Trimester

Don’t take it personally if she’s not as interested in sex as usual. This is really normal during the first trimester if she’s feeling tired and queasy. On the other hand, she may be quite interested. Ask her how she feels, tell her how you feel, and go from there. And don’t worry—it’s safe for the baby, unless your partner’s doctor has recommended otherwise.

How big is your baby now? By the end of the first trimester, the baby is about four inches long and weighs a little more than one ounce.

 

Second Trimester (Months 4-6)

Enjoy Life as a Couple

During this trimester, you’ll probably feel like you have your buddy back. She’s less tired now, and in most cases, the nausea and vomiting have stopped. She’s probably feeling pretty good, and her belly is starting to show.

Take advantage of this time to do things you enjoy together, because by the next trimester, she’s going to need to take it easy again.

Take Advantage of your Time Together

These are some things you’ll probably want to do before the third trimester:

  • Make any adjustments in your house or apartment. In some cultures, nothing is bought for the baby until the baby’s actually born, but there’s still plenty you can do in terms of rearranging rooms, etc.
  • Get together with friends. If you’re into getting together with other guy friends, plan one last get-together for a while.
  • If you can plan a trip, now’s the time. This is the last time just the two of you will be able to take off together

What about Paternal Leave?

Have you thought about taking time from work after the baby’s born? You and your partner should talk about this now. Does your company have a policy? What is your wife thinking about this issue? Are there other friends or family available to help out when she and the baby come home from the hospital?

Make sure you and your partner agree now on what’s best after the baby’s born. She may be hoping that you’ll want to take a bit of time off to be with her and the baby.

Sex and the Second Trimester

In general, women are more interested in sex again during this trimester. Enough said.

How big is your baby now? By the sixth month, the fetus has wrinkled skin and a covering of fine, soft hair. The eyes open this month too. At the end of the second trimester, the fetus is 11 to 14 inches long and weighs 1½ pounds.

 

Third Trimester (Months 7-9)

Big-Time Support is Needed Now

Most women agree that the last trimester is the hardest. They’re uncomfortable and they have trouble sleeping. They might have heartburn. Sometimes their skin even feels uncomfortable. They may not enjoy exercise as much as they did before.

How you can be supportive now:

  • Tell her she looks great. You’d be surprised what a boost this can be for your wife.
  • Be enthusiastic about birthing classes. Preparing for your role as birthing coach is important for you and your partner. She’ll appreciate it if you take it seriously.
  • If she has to go on bedrest, you’ll need to be on high alert. Make a plan together to figure out exactly what needs to be done— buying groceries, preparing meals, cleaning the house, etc.—and who will do it.
  • Even if she’s not on bedrest, she’s tired. Do little things for her every day—cook her favorite foods, rub her back, take over her chores.

Sex in the Third Trimester

One woman in her third trimester said recently, “I’m so glad my husband doesn’t get upset that I’m not interested in sex right now. We haven’t had sex for about three weeks, I guess. I mean, it just isn’t the same!

Your partner is tired, she’s uncomfortable and she probably feels unattractive. If she’s not interested in sex, it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the fact that she feels like she has a watermelon in her stomach.

What’s the baby up to now? By the end of this trimester, babies can cry, open and close their eyes and suck their thumbs.

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