Have you been trying for another child for more than a year and have yet to see that magic line on a pregnancy test? Here’s what a local infertility expert recommends.
“Anyone who has faced secondary infertility knows that it can be an incredibly painful experience,” says Amanda Hurliman, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist at ORM Fertility in Portland. (Secondary fertility is defined as being unable to conceive after previously giving birth.) “If you are experiencing secondary infertility, there are some simple, proactive steps that you can take to help guide you through this.”
First, says Dr. Hurliman, is to seek professional help. “Engaging early in the process with a physician who specializes in fertility care will align you with someone who can learn your story, outline for you what is important and what may need to be evaluated, and can help you understand treatment options are available. I always tell my patients that it is my job to provide them with the information they need to make the informed decisions that are best for them.”
Second, this is not a time to beat yourself up or retreat into a pit of despair — be kind to yourself. “Sadly, guilt and self-blame go hand-in-hand with infertility,” says Dr. Hurliman. “I see it every day. The truth is, a vast majority of the time, the factors affecting your fertility are beyond your control. Try to give yourself the same compassion that you would to anyone else facing the challenges that you are. Allow yourself the chance to acknowledge and appreciate all that you are doing right.”
Last, evaluate your lifestyle to see if an upgrade might help. “This is one of the first steps that I take with the patients that I work with,” says Dr. Hurliman. “There may be simple adjustments that will positively influence your ability to conceive. While there is not a miracle fertility diet, I generally recommend the Mediterranean diet, which is based on whole grains, fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. Maintaining a healthy weight is important … and try to get regular, moderate exercise. And know that it is OK to enjoy yourself. It is OK to have a cup of coffee. It is OK to have a glass of wine. The important thing is to practice moderation, not deprivation. Individuals planning to carry a pregnancy should be taking a prenatal vitamin with folic acid. There may be additional supplements to support fertility in both female and male partners, however, these should be tailored to your individual needs and discussed further with your fertility specialist.”
For more information, contact ORM Fertility.
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