For complete graphic, see Feb. 5 or 23 post.
Not every sperm is your friend! Sperm exposure – like so many exposures – affects our immune system. Women who have babies with more than one father may be at risk for disorders of pregnancy because the challenges to their immune system have been extensive. And, very young women who become pregnant are at increased risk of some disorders because they have had very little exposure to sperm.
In addition, women who have primarily and extensively used barrier methods of contraception may be at risk for disorders for reasons similar to young women with little exposure. Unlike women whose immune system has had too much challenge due to pregnancies by several men, women with little exposure may not have a strong defense against foreign DNA. Please do not take this as a reason to not use a condom – one of the barrier methods along with a diaphragm and cervical cap. Rather, if you use a barrier method of contraception, keep in mind that your body’s adjustment to pregnancy may take time.
For more information on barrier methods, to go the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ online pamphlet: ACOG Pamphlet on Barrier Contracetption.
Another way sperm can affect the pregnancy is that the combination of the mother’s and father’s natural immune responses may be strong against the trophoblast implantation. This is not something you can know ahead of time. Also, women are eight times more likely than men to develop autoimmune disorders. One reason may be the prenatal exposure to foreign DNA encountered in pregnancy.
Keep in mind that by getting good prenatal care, exercise, sufficient rest, stress managment and healthy nutrition, you do all within your power to have a healthy pregnancy. Your health care provider will determine your risk factors that may affect pregnancy outcome and treat you in an appropriate manner.
Once your baby comes, there will be time to maximize health for both of you. Exercising together is great fun!
Getting there may require some patience, but the reward is well worth it.
When you are looking around for sperm, use your head. The same behavior that protects you from infections you never want to get, protects you from sperm you don’t really want to meet. When the time comes to adopt some sperm, find out about it’s credentials!