One life-changing statement—"Let's have a baby."
You and your partner have just decided to bring a bundle of joy into the world. It's one of the most exciting, beautiful, and rewarding experiences. But what many people don't talk about is the difficulty, struggles, and frustration a couple may face during their journey of conceiving.
Perhaps you've seen your partner pour her heart and soul into the process—from tracking her cycle and keeping an eye out for symptoms of ovulation to changing her diet and living a healthier lifestyle. And as of yet, there hasn't been any glimpse of success.
With each negative pregnancy test, the process becomes more and more emotionally overwhelming. Sex feels as stale as a business transaction, arguments erupt more frequently, and the tension and frustration of both parties is thick in the air. That ticking biological clock doesn't help, either.
Understandably, this can cause a lot of frustration and disappointment. You may not know what you can do to help. And as much as you want to support your partner, you may feel helpless each time she receives undesirable news.
We understand that navigating this journey can be extremely confusing and exhausting. So we're here to help. In this guide, we'll explore the practical ways you can support your partner while trying to get pregnant.
How Long Does It Take To Get Pregnant?
It's always best to start by setting realistic expectations. While you've probably heard countless stories of couples getting pregnant right off the bat, the fact of the matter is that conceiving can take time.
Based on research findings, only 30% of couples are able to get pregnant after one month of trying. Around 75% of couples get pregnant after 6 months, while 95% of couples are able to conceive after a year of trying. This means that most couples will only get pregnant after 6-12 months of unprotected sexual intercourse .
Hence, it's completely normal for the journey of conceiving to span across months. The wait can be frustrating. But understanding that the process will take time helps lighten the pressure and tension on your shoulders.
How To Support Your Partner When Trying To Conceive
Support can come in various forms, all of which play a crucial role. Something as simple as being engaged throughout the entire journey can go a long way. But on top of that, you can also carry out some practical steps to enhance your fertility and boost the odds of a successful pregnancy.
During this time, it's essential to be your partner's biggest supporter! Here are some ways you can shift from the backseat and proactively ensure she doesn't end up walking the journey alone.
Stay engaged throughout the process
Being present throughout the entire ride is one of the best ways to support your partner. And there are various ways you can do this.
First off, you can accompany her to doctor visits or checkups, especially if they involve her receiving infertility treatment. Doctor visits are nerve-racking, so having someone she trusts with her may help dampen the anxiety and uneasiness she experiences. During the visit, be proactive and ask questions that help clarify any doubts you may face as a couple.
When the switch flips and both of you decide to have a baby, you may also notice your partner making certain changes. She may be learning how to track her cycle, attempting to lose weight, or getting into the groove of eating healthy.
Whatever it is, you can encourage her and show appreciation for the efforts she makes. For instance, if she's decided to start eating healthier, you can help with meal prepping. Or better still, you can hop onto the bandwagon and join her!
Additionally, you can try to learn more about your partner's cycle. After all, having more hands on deck may make the cycle-tracking process less stressful for her. Of course, there are devices and apps out there that make it a breeze, such as the inne minilab.
This device detects hormone levels through simple and painless saliva tests and performs all the heavy-lifting to paint out the user's unique cycle.
Ultimately, the inne minilab helps women pinpoint their fertile period accurately and learn more about their own cycle.
Seek a healthcare professional's advice
If you and your partner have not conceived after trying for a long time, seeking a healthcare professional's advice is the best route to take. It should never, in any way, become a blame game, where one partner heaves the responsibility completely onto the other. It's understandable to feel anxious or fearful, but mutual support between you and your partner will empower both parties to seek a doctor's advice when necessary.
Around 40-50% of infertility cases are due to male infertility, which may result from factors such as low sperm motility or low sperm concentration . Hence, it may be worthwhile getting an examination and semen analysis done by a healthcare professional. This can bring to light any issues affecting your fertility and allow you to get any necessary treatment.
Male infertility treatment may include male fertility medications, hormone treatments, or corrective surgical procedures. Sometimes, assistive reproductive therapy (ART) is recommended to overcome issues with sperm quality, which your partner will undergo .
In any case, it's always best to have a proper discussion with your partner. Both parties should be well-informed of the risks and benefits of the recommended therapy before a decision is made.
Finally, you may also wish to seek the advice of your healthcare provider to discuss the use of male fertility supplements.
Keep yourself healthy
Research has proven repeatedly that certain lifestyle factors can affect the quality of a man's sperm and hence, their fertility . These factors include cigarette smoking, psychological stress, obesity, caffeine intake, and dietary habits .
One question you may have is whether or not alcohol would affect the quality of your sperm and your chances of getting pregnant. Well, studies have also found some association between habitual heavy drinking and dampened sperm quality .
Drawing from all these, you may now realise that getting pregnant isn't only your partner's responsibility, but yours as well. Simple lifestyle modifications and the adoption of healthier habits may help boost your odds of conceiving. These changes may include quitting smoking, practising a healthy diet, or hitting the gym to lose excess weight.
Don't ignore or neglect your emotions
The journey of conceiving can be challenging to walk out, even more so if infertility is part of it. Hence, it's perfectly understandable for you to crave support and comfort as well.
Research has shown that men are less likely to seek help for issues related to mental health . But the fact of the matter is that emotional support can make all the difference. In such circumstances, you may wish to seek professional help from a therapist or health professional to keep your mental well-being in check.
Other than that, you may also wish to have an honest discussion with your partner about this. And while men are less likely than women to open up about the grief they feel, this can sometimes lead to negative outcomes. Though you're trying to protect your partner, suppressing or concealing your grief may leave her feeling even more alone and isolated.
Don't let babymaking overshadow everything else
Baby or not, your relationship should always take precedence. The journey of getting pregnant can put a strain on your relationship, especially if you are navigating infertility as a couple.
It is perfectly okay to have lengthy discussions about getting pregnant and preparing for the baby. However, making a baby shouldn't be the only thing that sparks conversations in your relationship. Some couples may get too caught up with the results, and sex eventually feels like a chore. Though striking a balance may take time and practise, it is also essential to make room for other matters—and for each other, too.
You could go on dates, have spontaneous trips, or exchange romantic gestures. Doing so helps keep the excitement alive and fosters more love, trust, and appreciation between both parties. These gestures and acts also remind her that she is well-loved and appreciated, whether or not infertility is part of her journey.
When Should I Seek Help?
It is always best to seek the advice of a pregnancy specialist or fertility expert if you and your partner are unable to conceive after a year or more of unprotected and regular sex.
Doing so allows your healthcare professional to perform examinations, detect the possible cause, and make treatment recommendations.
Final Takeaway: Your Support Matters
Getting pregnant can take time, and hence, the process may become emotionally draining. Throughout the entire journey, try to foster healthy discussions with your partner, respect her feelings and decisions, and open up a safe space for her to talk about her feelings. Your words of encouragement and practical acts of support can make a significant difference in helping your partner cope during difficult times.
The experience can be frustrating and exhausting for both parties, so keeping a close eye on your mental, emotional, and physical well-being is also crucial. If things seem to be taking a downfall, it's perfectly okay to reach out for professional help and advice.
One solution to make cycle tracking easier and less stressful for your partner is the inne minilab. This science-backed tool helps women pinpoint their ovulation date and fertile period. Your partner will love the gift, and she can try it risk-free. We'd be honoured to support you throughout your journey.
1. Taylor A. ABC of subfertility: extent of the problem. BMJ. 2003;327(7412):434-436. doi:10.1136/bmj.327.7412.434
2. Kumar N, Singh AK. Trends of male factor infertility, an important cause of infertility: A review of literature. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2015;8(4):191-196. doi:10.4103/0974-1208.170370
3. Leslie SW, Siref LE, Soon-Sutton TL, Khan MAB. Male Infertility. In: StatPearls. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; February 14, 2022.
4. Balawender K, Orkisz S. The impact of selected modifiable lifestyle factors on male fertility in the modern world. Cent European J Urol. 2020;73(4):563-568. doi:10.5173/ceju.2020.1975
5. Durairajanayagam D. Lifestyle causes of male infertility. Arab J Urol. 2018;16(1):10-20. Published 2018 Feb 13. doi:10.1016/j.aju.2017.12.004
6. Jensen TK, Gottschau M, Madsen JO, et al. Habitual alcohol consumption associated with reduced semen quality and changes in reproductive hormones; a cross-sectional study among 1221 young Danish men. BMJ Open. 2014;4(9):e005462. Published 2014 Oct 2. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005462
7. Sagar-Ouriaghli I, Godfrey E, Bridge L, Meade L, Brown JSL. Improving Mental Health Service Utilization Among Men: A Systematic Review and Synthesis of Behavior Change Techniques Within Interventions Targeting Help-Seeking. Am J Mens Health. 2019;13(3):1557988319857009. doi:10.1177/1557988319857009