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.
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.
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
- Be normal in shape
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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
- 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,
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.
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
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
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
Trimester (Months 7-9)
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
- 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
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.