Introduction: The Really Good News About Getting Pregnant
When I was in medical school in the 1960s, the birth control pill was the prescription of the decade. Indeed, young men and women were far more concerned with avoiding pregnancy than with getting pregnant. Happily, this is no longer the case. Today, getting pregnant is something more and more couples view as a joyous life-expanding experience to be celebrated and cherished. And, too, we have seen the "birth" of the single mother, with many women choosing to honor the alarm on their biological clock by becoming mothers whether or not they have a suitable mate in mind.
Fortunately, along with these changes in our attitude about pregnancy came some equally important scientific advances that made it faster and easier for all women to get pregnant, and for most couples to achieve their parenting goals.
New information about both male and female biology has given us ways to encourage not only faster but healthier conceptions, with fewer chances for miscarriage and birth defects.
Discoveries concerning the cause of infertility have given us new ways for men and women to protect their childbearing ability as well as their sexual vitality while they safely postpone childbearing.
Outstanding advances in nutritional therapy have given us new ways to harness the power of vitamins and minerals and in the process helped us not only reduce the risk of birth defects but also protect and even increase fertility, in both men and women.
Stellar progress made in the treatment of infertility itself -- including powerful new medications, new forms of microsurgery, and brand-new laboratory-assisted procedures -- has not only allowed more previously infertile couples to get pregnant, but has given us new ways that even parents over age thirty-five can have a safer, healthier pregnancy.
In fact, thanks to what we have learned in the past several years alone, almost every woman who wants to have a baby can have one!
Why I Wrote This Book
Although the field of reproductive medicine continues to explode with new advances, my deep commitment to fertility research goes back several decades. As a member of several key scientific teams I have devoted thousands of hours to reproductive research, and my work has taken me around the world more than three times, to the capitals of Europe where the first "test tube" baby was conceived, to Russia, South America, and the Far East -- anywhere I could learn the latest information on the reproductive system. Beginning in 1990, I joined forces with a team of dedicated physicians and researchers to create a medical center specifically to deal with infertility problems. As a result I have been able to see, firsthand, the exciting, almost miraculous ways in which the field of reproductive medicine has continued to grow, and how it can and does change peoples lives.
Couples who were thought to be hopelessly infertile are now able to conceive and deliver not just one, but two and three perfect children.
Those who previously miscarried up to fifteen times are now giving birth to healthy, full-term babies.
Women who thought they were "too old" to have a baby are now giving birth to wonderful, beautiful children. Even those women who reach menopause prematurely -- in their mid-forties, for example -- have brand-new options for having a baby of their own.
Time and again my colleagues and I have witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of our fertility patients who are able to have all-natural conceptions and healthy pregnancies just by making a few simple dietary and lifestyle changes.
As astounding and important as these advances were, as I traveled the country giving lectures and making television appearances, I began to see that too many couples were still not taking advantage of all the possibilities. My colleague and coauthor Colette Bouchez, an award-winning and respected medical journalist and researcher, began to see the same thing, even among her sophisticated urban readers. While we both did our best to bring much of the good news about reproductive medicine to the public, we could see that too often, too many couples were still "in the dark" about all of their options. While some, certainly, had the basic information about such procedures as in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination, both Colette and I were continually amazed at how few people were informed about the really dramatic advances. Indeed, even many physicians were not aware of some of the great and relatively easy new fertility procedures that we knew could change people's lives.
Thus, we conceived the idea for this book -- a resource and a guide to the newest, most important fertility information available today, data that has made and will continue to make a significant difference in people's lives. It is our hope that this book will make a difference in your life as well.
Part One: How the New Discoveries Can Help You
If you are planning to have a baby in the very near future or even if you haven't yet decided when motherhood will be right for you, knowing the factors that could affect your childbearing potential will enable you to take the necessary steps to protect your reproductive options and ensure that your body remains ready for pregnancy throughout your childbearing years. Part One of this book was developed to help you do just that.
It begins by exploring the very latest information on how your reproductive system functions and what biological factors can cause it to malfunction. It also explains how you can use your family history to help predict fertility problems and discusses the preventative treatments you can begin right now. It also shows how the ways in which you and your partner live, work, and play may be affecting your reproductive health, and suggests things you both can do, starting today, to make the most of your most fertile years. In Part One you will also discover:
New information on how your immune system affects your fertility, and on the power boosters that can save your reproductive health
How to tell if your job is harming your fertility
The influence that alcohol, caffeine, and medication, as well as cell phones, computers, and other new technologies may be having on your reproductive health, and the steps you can immediately take to protect your childbearing options
The kind of birth control to use to safely postpone a pregnancy without harming your fertility
Here, you'll also find a primer on the most common sexually transmitted diseases, with new information on how to keep even the most devastating infections from harming your reproductive health. You'll learn to recognize the early signs and symptoms -- in both yourself and your partner -- and find out the latest treatment options.
And, finally, you 'll learn important new truths about male fertility, along with vital new ways your partner can protect his virility and his potency, while decreasing your risk of miscarriage and protecting your baby from birth defects.
Part Two: Getting Pregnant Right Now -- More Good News
If you are thinking about getting pregnant in the near future, and especially if you are actively trying to conceive right now, Part Two was written for you. It provides the very latest information on the factors that may influence your immediate ability to conceive, and to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
In this section you'll find:
Breakthrough treatments for preventing miscarriage -- and what you can do before you conceive to reduce your risks
The links between dieting and conception -- and how to find your ideal fertility weight
How your fitness workouts may be blocking your ability to get pregnant -- plus the exercises that can help you get pregnant faster
How stress affects conception
How to avoid major pregnancy complications
How to get pregnant fast -- including how sex affects conception
What you can do to influence the sex of the child you conceive