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RT @everdundas: “I’ve dealt with people with M.E. and fibromyalgia before & they haven’t had to lie down. They’ve been fine sitting with a…

The Fibromyalgic Pregnancy and Beyond - Conception and moving forward into the next stage of your new life

Conception and moving forward into the next stage of your new life

Conception

 This is by far one of the most intricate and complex functions your body will ever perform and you are likely to be blissfully unaware that it has done so flawlessly. The very first step in this amazing process is when an egg cell from the woman is fertilized by a sperm cell from a man. Sounds simple, but it is far from it. In order for conception to occur, the egg and sperm cells must first be in the same place at the same time.

 There are several ways this can happen: in a heterosexual relationship make love a few times a week, but don't make it a mechanical procedure you repeat with military precision! (Sperm will usually live for 3-5 days inside a woman’s body so don't worry if you wish to make love less often.)

 Make Lovemaking Enjoyable

Many people with fibromyalgia (FM) find certain aspects of making love uncomfortable so it is important that you both work on finding out what is most comfortable and enjoyable for you. It is advisable to overheat the room you plan to use for lovemaking so that you can enjoy yourself without the discomfort experienced when exposed to a cooler environment. You may find that having a warm bath will relax you enough to want to spend some time enjoying your partner sexually although you may feel drowsy to start with. Take as much time as you want to pamper and prepare yourself.

Some medications for FM can decrease your libido, as do constant pain and years of non-restorative sleep! Therefore you may find that one of the many lubricants on the market designed to enhance female enjoyment will be of benefit to you. These lubricants warm whichever part of the body you choose to put them on, so try other areas such as your nipples as well as the more obvious one. You can buy them from most pharmacies and some supermarkets, on the shelf in the female products section.

 Choose a position that is the most comfortable for you. By being comfortable, you are more likely to find lovemaking an enjoyable (if somewhat strenuous) experience. If you find penetration especially uncomfortable there are a few positions which reduce the depth of penetration, for example: if the woman lies on her back or side, with the neck supported comfortably and the man slowly enters her with the woman closing her legs once she beings to feel uncomfortable. Some lubricant on your legs and his penis will help make this position very comfortable.

If you are feeling energetic or experimental then standing is another position that reduces the depth of penetration. If you can, try to orgasm as this makes your cervix dip into the pool of sperm and there is some thought that this creates a bit of a vacuum to help move the sperm in the right direction. You may find orgasm will cause some discomfort afterward, how little or much depends on your body. There are no hard and fast rules except this one: ‘if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it!’ You may also find that you benefit from the endorphin release after orgasm.

 Make sure you have enough time after lovemaking to recuperate and that you take some painkillers beforehand if you know that you are usually uncomfortable during or afterwards (as long as you do not go over the maximum recommended daily dose). Ask your partner to gently stroke or smooth you (instead of trying to massage you which may be too uncomfortable) with warmed massage or baby oil as this may help to prevent any cramping in your limbs. A hot water bottle, lavender bag or warm bath or shower may help ease any discomfort. Contrary to popular belief a bath or shower will not wash the sperm away, enough will stay inside to give conception a good chance, it only takes one to get to the egg to do the job, all the rest of the sperm are superfluous (and responsible for non-identical twins).

  Can FM Cause Fertility Problems?

It is perfectly normal to take up to a year to get pregnant so just try to relax and enjoy this time stage of your lives. One useful tip is for men to avoid tight underwear during this time to allow the testicles to stay away from the body providing a beneficial cooler environment for the sperm; some women find men in boxers extremely sexy! FM is not known to cause infertility problems or increase the risk of miscarriage.

However other conditions, such as endometriosis, can reduce fertility in moderate to severe cases. Mild endometriosis is not thought to be associated with reduced fertility. If you have endometriosis you can discuss what options are available to you with your GP or specialist when planning your pregnancy. Once pregnant, the discomfort and pain caused by endometriosis can lessen and for some disappears for the duration of the pregnancy.

 Every pregnancy carries a risk of infection from sexually transmitted disease, both for you and your unborn child, so please make sure that you are certain that both you and your partner (and any third party involved) are free of infectious diseases. Your GP or local sexual health clinic will be able to advise you further on this.

 Conception Completed

Okay, so you’ve managed to conceive, now what happens? Well, you will likely carry on unaware this miracle has occurred, but as this is a planned pregnancy you will be no doubt wondering if you’ve managed to accomplish it. The soonest you will know for certain will be around the time of your next expected menstrual period.

 Odds and ends

  • Now that you have begun trying to conceive and are aware that you will not know you are pregnant for up to 5 weeks there are some precautions you need to take:
     
  • Try to reduce any possible exposure to hazardous fumes if you work in an environment where you may be exposed.
  • Reduce your risk of eating foods containing the bacteria, listeria, by avoiding un-pasteurised foods such as soft cheeses, green top milk, soft ice creams, pate, raw meat, raw vegetables, smoked mussels and others. I would advise you to always read the food packaging to help avoid un-pasteurised foods. Listeria can grow at very low temperatures, which is why cooking foods at a high temperature is important during pregnancy. 
  • Fish is an excellent source of nourishment at this time but certain fish (Orange roughy, sea perch, catfish, shark, bluefin tuna, marlin and ling) are thought to be high in mercury levels and should be avoided. 
  • Avoid contact with pet litter or wear gloves if you cannot avoid this in order to reduce the chance of you coming into contact with toxoplasmosis which can be found in animal faeces.

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