Achieving Pregnancy After…

Question

Dear Dr. Expert,
I am 32 yrs. old, I have irregular periods, approx 3 months, this was before I became sexually active at 17. Since then I had been on different forms of contraception, so periods were normal (when on the pill) and then absent (when on Depo-Provera). I became pregnant at 25 with my, now, husband and terminated the pregnancy at 8 wks. After that, I started on Depo-Provera and had a total of 4 doses, the last being in Nov. ’94. I did not get a regular period until 2 yrs after that last dose. I got pregnant again in July ’98, but miscarried shortly afterwards. In March ’99, I had an ectopic pregnancy. Today is Jan 6, 2001, my last period was Nov. 27, 2000 and I want to start a family. My current ob-gyn wants to start a fertility work-up on me and perhaps start using clomid. My instincts tell me not to use modern medicine and to rely on the Lord to bless us with a gift from above. I have altered nature in my young past and would like to depend on nature now. Please advise if you can, any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, A

Answer

Dear A,

So often young women are put on hormonal contraception (birth control pills and Depo-Provera) for irregular periods, as well as contraception. Unfortunately, this group of women (you say you always have had irregular periods) is especially vulnerable to a harmful effect of one of the mechanisms that makes hormonal contraception work: turning off the complicated, intricate pattern of normal hormonal production that results in releasing an egg, helping the egg when it is fertilized travel down the fallopian tube, and creating an ideal lining in the uterus for the fertilized egg to implant. If a woman beyond adolescence and who is not under stress has oligomenorrhea (infrequent periods), she has at least a minor hormonal abnormality. And oral contraceptives and contraceptive injections often OVER suppress the ovary, way beyond the time a the woman desires the contraceptive effect. Fifteen percent women who discontinued Depo-Provera injection will not ovulate for TWO YEARS instead of the usual three or four months. One percent of women who had normal periods before oral contraceptives will NEVER have another spontaneous period after stopping the pill, and will not conceive unless fertility drugs are used. Also, premarital non-monogamous sexual activity and abortion can lead to infection that can scar the fallopian tubes and contribute to infertility and ectopic pregnancy. Millions of women have been adversely affected by these unfortunate consequences of the “sexual revolution”.

It seems, as you are at a different stage of life, repentant of what has happened in the past, and desiring to please God. God forgives and heals, and can help you with spiritual, emotional and physical healing. Pregnancy is always a gift from God. In some women with irregular periods, charting the cycles to determine the time of fertility to make sure the couple has sexual relations during the fertile time is sufficient to achieve pregnancy. However, you have already suffered through a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, and may need medications to have a successful pregnancy. Modern medicine can also be regarded as a gift from God that can be used or abused. Most of us in natural family planning believe that hormonal contraception is an abuse of science, but that there is a proper use for fertility drugs, hormones, medications and surgery to correct abnormalities and facilitate healing. As your doctor has suggested, a fertility workup, possibly to check on the status of your fallopian tubes, testing your hormones, and the use of medications to help you ovulate more normally might be helpful for you. Best wishes to you.

Dr. Mary Davenport

Answered By:

Mary Davenport, MD, MS
Mary Davenport, MD, FACOG, an obstetrician/gynecologist from the Oakland Region of California, offers telehealth services over MyCatholicDoctor.com She graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine and completed her residency at UC San Diego. Dr. Davenport is a Fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and serves on the Advisory Board of the California Association of Natural Family Planning.

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