all you need to know about fertility
Fertility

All you need to know about fertility

Bringing a baby into the world is challenging, but it is also a very special time in your life. If you’re experiencing issues with getting pregnant, this round up of articles containing top expert advice about fertility might help.

Struggling to conceive

If you are struggling to conceive,this article provides expert advice and some top tips that may help you to get pregnant faster and improve your chances of conceiving a baby by learning more about male and female fertility.

About one in six couples can have some problems conceiving a baby. However, over eight in 10 couples having regular sex (every two to three days) will conceive within one year if the woman is aged under 40 years. In addition, of those couples who do not conceive in the first year, about half will do so in the second year.

Fertility expert Senior Clinical Embryologist Declan Keane answers a few common questions about the issue.

Read more about struggling to conceive

all you need to know about fertility

Stress and fertility

The effects of stress can be beneficial and enable the ‘fight or flight response’ to help us escape from a perceived dangerous, or harmful, situation. However, the effects of stress can also be harmful by mediating a series of physical changes and responses in the body. Negative consequences of these stress responses can impair our thinking, metabolism, immune function and, potentially, even reproduction.

Specific relaxation techniques listed in this article could boost a couple’s chance of conceiving.

Stress and fertility

The fertility diet

It’s a sad joke that so many of us spend half our lives making sure we don’t become pregnant, only to run into problems when we finally decide that we do.

Your daily diet has a big effect on your fertility – consultant dietitian Sarah Keogh gives her advice in this article on what to avoid and what to eat to boost your chances of conceiving.

The fertility diet

all you need to know about fertility

Ovulation Guide

If you’re trying to get pregnant, understanding the timing of your ovulation cycle can be critical. You have to find out how to pinpoint when you are most fertile. To help you, here’s our guide to ovulation.

Ovulation guide

Acupuncture and fertility

Acupuncture, a branch of medicine that originated in China, has been used for centuries to treat fertility issues. The W.H.O. (World Health Organisation) recognises its effectiveness in doing so and there have been several studies showing that it is safe and effective in treating fertility and infertility, as well as menstrual/reproductive issues, for both men and women.

In this article, acupuncturist Maria Maher explains how this ancient Chinese therapy could help to boost fertility.

Acupuncture and fertility

all you need to know about fertility

Can hormones cause infertility

Women tend to be very aware of their hormones. We are used to our monthly cycles and the changes they can bring both physically as well as the effects on mood (not to mention the sugar cravings!).

Hormones have control over fertility and our monthly cycles, but they can have a wider effect on the whole of our health – and pregnancy is one area they can really influence.

In this article, consultant dietitian Sarah Keogh explains why hormones are key to a woman’s reproductive health.

Can hormones cause infertility

..and finally..

Top 5 tips to help you conceive

Sex and relationships expert Trina Read gives her top 5 tips to help you conceive.

Top 5 tips to help you conceive

Ask Allison

Q My sister-in-law and I both work three-day weeks and we help each
other out with child minding on our working days, which up until recently has worked out really well. Between us, our kids are aged between five and nine years – the problem is that it’s now become quite apparent that we have very different parenting styles. I prefer my two daughters (seven and nine) to have a structured day. For example, in my house, we have allocated times for television and iPads, etc. My sister-in-law, however, lets the kids run loose after school – homework is ignored and my kids end up wired after eating sugary treats all afternoon. I am considering looking at after-school childcare for the kids, but I’m worried that this is going to cause a family argument. Is there a diplomatic way that I can ask my sister-in-law to introduce some discipline into her child-minding days? It certainly doesn’t do her two kids any harm when I am minding them in my own house!

A
In a word, no, there is no diplomatic way to do this as it may very likely seem like your saying that your parenting style is better than
hers. As L’Óreal says, ‘now here comes the science bit.’ Dr. Kaylene
Henderson, a child psychiatrist, wrote a very interesting blog about ‘the
science behind the Mummy Wars’. She explains that before she had
children of her own she hadn’t been aware of how parents have a
very specific sense of the right parenting style. She also found that parents could be very definite in defending their chosen parenting style. Dr. Henderson, who describes herself as a curious, scientific, open-minded person, was surprised at how defensive parents could be and, at times, of their judgemental attitude towards each other. She explained the neurology of the Mummy Wars; okay, I’ll need you to bear with me for a second. Warning; I’m about to use some neuro-techie language.

Why do we judge each other?
As we have all had different experiences, this means that we all have very different memories stored in our brains. Most of our memories are ‘explicit’ memories – these are ones that we can recall easily such as important dates that mean something to us; important birthdays, special events or stories of and about our lives.
There is another type of memory called ‘implicit’ memory that plays a
key role in our parenting. This type of memory is the stuff that you do on autopilot. Psychologists call these heuristics or rules of thumb –
such as tying your shoelace, or driving your car (once you have learnt
to do both first!). Otherwise we’d really waste a huge amount of time
pondering over tasks that we have readily available to us. This seems to be where the science bit of our parenting style kicks in. This implicit memory goes all the way back to when you were an infant being parented by your parents. This is when you started the process of storing up how they did it into your memories.
Unless you make a conscious choice and effort to parent differently, what you saw and unconsciously learnt will be your automatic go-to parenting style.

We learn habits
This can really kick into gear when we feel our parenting style is
being mirrored or highlighted by disapproval from another parent. I know the cold sweat you feel when your child decides to make their outstanding bad behaviour performance at, of course, the most public and worst time. The implicit autopilot of how your parents dealt with these outbursts will flow unconsciously from you if you haven’t worked super hard to be aware and consciously change the old habits.
What’s happening for the on-looking parent is that they see you doing something they are used to doing, but you are doing it all wrong. Simply, because that is not how they know how to do it.

Find a way that works
You both have different parenting styles – who is to say which type is correct? You just need to know what works best for your family and that’s the bottom line. The irksome feelings won’t go away. You can talk to your sister-in-law, but I’m adding a caveat that it would be hard not to hurt her feelings. What we’re possibly looking at is that you prefer a more structured form of parenting, whereas your sister-in-law has a more permissive style. I’m not sure the two styles can mix, the mixture is a bit like oil and water.
If a collaborative shared form of parenting style can be agreed upon, then that is great, but our learnt hardwiring may prove difficult to change despite the intent to do so.
Perhaps, your own instinct of changing childcare might work best for you. In terms of making childcare work; the fit is ultimately the most
important aspect as you want a cohesive congruent feeling of the other caregiver to just ‘getting it’, like in any good partnership. Best of luck
with this and I wish you both well.

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ASK JESSICA

Q. I’m would like to start an exercise programme that will benefit my emotional health as much as my physical health, but I don’t know which type of class would be best. Should I consider choosing from yoga, pilates, tai chi, or could you recommend a class, please?

A It’s great that you have decided to get into exercise. The benefits to you are going to be great. You’ll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, reduced stressed, not to mention all the amazing physical benefits of your clothes fitting better, and looking healthy, trim and toned! My advice to you would be to try them all. Even if some don’t offer pay-as-you-go sessions, if you get in touch directly with the instructor, they will almost always let you try it out first to see if it’s for you. All of the above things that you mentioned are great for mental health, so it really will be a personal preference as to which you go for. On top of the classes you mention, all forms of exercise will give you great mental rewards so consider the not so obvious interval training sessions, bootcamp, and circuits too, as you will also feel on top of the world after a class like that.