Trying to Become Pregnant, but…


I stopped taking birth control pills about 1 year ago and have been charting my cervical mucus and cycles since January. My cycles have been anywhere from 23 to 28 days long. I am currently taking Prozac (40 mg daily) as well as a multivitamin, folic acid (2 mg daily), ginkoba and coenzyme Q10. Could any of these supplements / drugs be having an effect on my fertility? I was pregnant approximately 10 years ago and had an abortion. My husband has two children from his previous marriage, so, I don’t think that fertility is a problem. I have been attempting the Shettles method of gender selection as my husband’s two children are both male and would like to try for a girl. However, it does not really matter what the gender of the baby is. We normally have intercourse on days 12, 13, 14, however, I have not yet become pregnant. I have been having extremely painful periods and am worried about entrometriosis. Any suggestions?


Last Updated: June 9, 2013
Once the B.C.P. (birth control pill) is discontinued, ovulation usually resumes within a short period of time. However, fertility may be delayed because of the effects of the BCP on the cervical mucus crypts. Dr. Erik Odeblad, the world’s leading authority on the cervix and cervical mucus has done extensive research showing that the B.C.P. profoundly affects the “S” mucus crypts of the cervix. “S” mucus forms channels which assist sperm migration through the cervix, allowing them to reach the egg in the fallopian tube. The “S” mucus crypts atrophy (shrink) and may or may not resume functioning after stopping the B.C.P. The quality and/or amount of “S” mucus may not be adequate for conception to occur. It is important then to have intercourse on the days of the most fertile mucus – stretchy, clear and/or lubricative. That may or may not be on days 12, 13, and 14 of your cycle. In a 23 day cycle it’s possible that ovulation may occur as early as day 6 or 7 of the cycle. You do not state your age; however, shorter cycles may occur more frequently as a woman approaches the premenopause around age 40, sometimes earlier (at age 35), sometimes later.

Shettles recommends douching with white vinegar to increase the chance of a female offspring. However douching is not advisable, as it could wash away the cervical mucus necessary for sperm survival and transport.

You state you “had an abortion” approximately 10 years ago. An induced abortion may cause damage to the mucus crypts because the cervix must be forced open – dilated – to do the procedure.

Prozac has recently made the news because it may help women suffering with premenstrual syndrome, PMS. PMS may cause mood swings, bloating, headache, irritability, and painful periods. The reason for the PMS may be reflected in the charting of your cycles. Low levels of the hormone progesterone during the postovulatory phase of the cycle may contribute to PMS and be a factor in difficulty achieving pregnancy.

Dr. Paddy Jim Baggot, a board certified OB/GYN located in Southern California, recommended continuing the multivitamin and folic acid. He commented that coenzyme Q10 and ginseng may actually enhance fertility. However, some “natural” preparations may contain impurities such as lead or mercury which could be harmful to the woman and her baby. It may be better to discontinue the products.

Depression may occur as a late consequence of induced abortion. This can be more acute when a woman later has difficulty conceiving. Post abortion counseling may be an important step to recover from the depression and eliminate the need for Prozac.

Finally, if you have not contacted an NFP instructor, do so. CANFP can provide a name and phone number of a certified instructor who can assist you in identifying underlying problems which may be affecting your fertility, as reflected in the observations and charting of the cycle.

Pat Poindexter, RN, BS, NFPP

Answered By:

Pat Poindexter RN, CFCP, FCE
Pat Poindexter, RN, taught the Creighton Model of FertilityCare in the Los Angeles region, now retired

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