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Having an ostomy shouldn’t impact your ability to conceive and bear a child. Here’s what you need to know about conception and your ostomy.
A stoma should not impact your ability to get pregnant. If you do have difficulty conceiving, it might be unrelated to your ostomy. Here are some facts and recommendations:
Before attempting to become pregnant, ask your healthcare professional about your health status. He or she may recommend that you visit a gynecologist for pre-pregnancy counseling to discuss possible difficulties.
Conception can only take place around the time a woman is ovulating. Ovulation happens when a woman’s egg is released into the fallopian tube, and is ready for the male sperm. It normally occurs about 14 days before the next menstrual period. Once the egg is released, the two to three days around ovulation is the most fertile time. So, this is the best time for sexual intercourse if you want to get pregnant. If your periods are irregular, or you aren’t sure when you ovulate, try a home ovulation testing kit.
Difficulties in conception may be caused by physical or emotional problems. Your partner may have a low sperm count, you might not be ovulating properly, or your fallopian tubes may not be functioning at their best. Even the worry over failure to become pregnant might be enough to stop you from conceiving. The good news is that there are many modern fertility treatments now available. To be successful, however, you do need to be patient with whatever form of treatment is recommended.
Early prenatal care is important for all pregnant women. If you think you are pregnant, tell your healthcare team. Like other pregnant women, you may experience some problems like morning sickness or heartburn. You may also notice some changes to your stoma that you should discuss with your healthcare professional or stoma care nurse.
Chemotherapy or radiation can affect conception and pregnancy. Talk with your healthcare professional about your plans to conceive before starting either of these therapies. He or she may recommend that either sperm or eggs be frozen, in case your ability to conceive will be hindered. If you want to have children after these therapies, get as much information as you can as early as possible.
If you’re planning for pregnancy and have had ostomy surgery, bear these facts in mind. Most of all, be patient. Conceiving can be a challenge, with or without a stoma, and can take time. But, as any parent will tell you, the wait is worth it.
Download the full pdf: Living with an Ostomy: Sex & Parenthood
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