Dear Dr. Kate, Why Can't We Get Pregnant?

photo by Blyzz

Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City and she answers your medical questions here once a week. To ask her your own question, click here.

Dear Dr. Kate,

My girlfriend and I have been trying for a baby for the last 8 months. We have been having sex every day and she’s still not pregnant. What could the problem be? I already have a 4 year old and she has a 1 year old. Can you help?

— Babyless

Dear B,

Too much sex might be the problem! It’s possible that by having intercourse so often, you’re depleting your sperm reserves. She can only get pregnant in a narrow window of time each month. Focus on having sex on the three days before she ovulates, the day of ovulation and the day after—these 5 days will give you the most buck for your bang. (She can use ovulation predictor kits, or read Taking Charge of Your Fertility for more information).

But I have to caution you two about trying to get pregnant so soon after her last baby was born. The healthiest amount of time to wait in between pregnancies is 18 months—that’s from delivery of the first to conception of the second. A pregnancy does a number on a woman’s body—we get nutritionally depleted, often anemic, and our bones get weaker from the lost calcium. Babies that are born soon after an older sibling are also more at risk of health problems and even death. Your girlfriend should give her body a bit more time to recover before bringing another little one into the world.

If you’ve let some time pass and then’ focused on sex during ovulation and you two still can’t get pregnant, there are any number of factors that could be contributing to the problem — which can only really be determined by her OB/GYN or a fertility doctor.

— Dr. Kate

dr_kate_100Dr. Kate is an OB/GYN at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City. She also lectures nationally on women’s health issues and conducts research on reproductive health. Check out more of her advice and ask her a question at Gynotalk.com.