Now that’s a question. And not one, perhaps, that a stranger should be asking (it’s ok, you don’t have to tell me). If it is something you’re thinking of, either now or way off in the future, then you might be interested in Emma Cannon‘s hot-of-the-press new book, Total Fertility. A fertility, pregnancy and integrated women’s health expert, Emma is also an acupuncturist and has completed postgraduate training with the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology in the treatment of infertility. A big believer in how the mind can effect the body, Emma is something of a guru in the world of pregnancy, post-birth health and the menopause. If you’re really interested in Emma’s work, you can even book an appointment to see her at her clinic in London, which offers an integrated approach to fertility and women’s health.
With babies on our brain (if you haven’t read Natasha’s brilliant feature One Bump or Two, do so now), we asked Emma to explain a little more about fertility, babies and women’s health.
Is there any way of knowing how ‘fertile’ you are before you start trying for a baby? There are various tests available – FSH, AMH and a scan to measure Antral Follicle Count – these tests give an indication of your egg reserve and how hard your ovaries are likely to have to work to produce an egg. There is also a day 21 blood test to test for ovulation and various minor surgical investigations to check tubal patency, check the uterus for fibroids, adhesions, polyps and the ovaries for cysts (this can be done by trans vaginal scan).
Your book Total Fertility isn’t just aimed at women looking to conceive, it’s also good for women looking to manage gynaecological and menstrual issues as well. Is that correct? Yes that’s right and it’s also for women who may not want a baby now but may wish to have a baby in the future. Managing and engaging in your gynaecology earlier in life is the first step to preserving fertility for the future.
For women who aren’t looking to get pregnant immediately, what’s the best way to look after fertility for the future? Firstly, you need to take care and engage in your gynaecology, and understand your menstrual cycle. Secondly, you must protect yourself from STDs and get regular checks to make sure you’re healthy. Don’t binge drink and definitely don’t smoke. On average, women who smoke go into menopause four years earlier than non-smokers. Eat well, avoid excess sugar and find natural approaches to dealing with minor ailments, rather than always medicating mild health issues with strong medicine.
What is the most important factor when it comes to conception? Age is important and we all know that fertility does take a dip, but it isn’t the only issue and many young women suffer problems also. I do believe smoking is pretty high up there when causing issues, but lack of sex is also a common reason why couples aren’t conceiving as is stress and the issues which come with that.