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Helena Bonham Carter shares her fertility struggle

10/15/2007 at 09:44 AM ET

Actress Helena Bonham Carter, 41, is currently seven months pregnant with her second child by director Tim Burton, 49. The couple, who have a four-year-old son Billy-Ray, knew that they wanted more children, but didn’t know the struggle that awaited them.

Click below to learn about the fertility problems that the couple experienced as well as Helena’s favorite foods and listening therapy.

Helena and Tim started trying to get pregnant two years ago, but nothing was happening.  The actress was told she may not be ovulating so she began to take the fertility drug Clomid, but things didn’t go as planned. Helena is not happy that she was not told of potential side-effects.

I had a terrible reaction to it. Many people think it is the only thing that’s going to make them ovulate, but as it turned out I was ovulating anyway. It stressed me out beyond belief. Hormonally, I was all over the shop and I got really low emotionally. Lots of people don’t have that reaction, but on the internet I found a Clomid Club, with people who react to the stuff discussing it online.

After her problems with Clomid, Helena switched to trying more natural methods.

I tried acupuncture two years ago. I went to the Chinese acupuncturist in Belsize Park. Dr Deng, who practices there, is brilliant, and has helped so many local people. She kept saying that I was ‘too weak, too weak’, and gave me several types of tea to help build my strength up.

Pregnancy still was not happening, so Helena and Tim sat down and started to discuss in vitro fertilization.

Obviously, you don’t know what you’d do unless you were actually in that situation. I think we might have gone for a round of IVF, but that would have been that. There was an argument for just having one child, because we thought if that’s the way it’s meant to be, so be it.

As it turns out, the couple didn’t need to undergo IVF. Helena found out that she was pregnant while working on the musical Sweeney Todd.

I was working so hard at the time. The first three months being pregnant while filming, I felt totally spaced out. You do need to multi-task with acting. You’ve got to remember your marks, your lines, singing, everything, and actually –- you have no brain! Suddenly your own brain is growing another person’s brain, so yours goes defunct. It wasn’t ideal, but then I was so happy to be pregnant.

When Helena was pregnant with her son Billy she underwent what is called listening therapy and will soon begin that again with this pregnancy.  Listening therapy is used to help pregnant women relax before giving birth and alert, relaxed, physically toned babies.

That was absolutely the case for me with Billy. Billy was able to hold his head up at a very early stage, he was very laid-back, and although I love chubby babies, Billy has always been physically toned. I really think listening therapy might have helped a lot. The birth wasn’t drama-free, but I felt very relaxed.

Helena, who is a fan of homeopathy, would have liked to have had a natural birth with son Billy, but when it was all and said and done, the pain won out.

When it came to it, I just went for an epidural.

A fan of sushi and carpaccio, Helena has had to cut back due to her pregnancy and is now a fan of peppermint tea and goji berries.

One of my favorite dishes is carpaccio and I love sushi, but I’ve avoided them during this pregnancy. Obviously anything with raw eggs is forbidden, too. I don’t drink caffeine as much as I would normally and try to restrict myself to one cup of coffee a day.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

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PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 10 comments

Tracy on

I’m so happy for them being able to have their second child without help. I’m sure that really put their minds at ease since they were having a hard time deciding on IVF. I guess it was just meant to be!

jaQ on

i love this woman. she goes out in pajamas, and doesn’t fix her hair up fancy… totally how i would continue to be, if i were famous.

i’m glad they were able to conceive #2, congrats to them!

yaosa on

Kudos to Helena for sharing her struggle with her second pregnancy and I’m happy that she didn’t have to undergo IVF.

Congratulations to her and Tim! I love their work!

Lara on

What’s the source of this interview, Angela? Just wondering, as I know it’s usually stated.

Sarah’s note: It’s at the bottom of the post…Daily Telegraph.

Karen on

Kudos I love them as a couple they are so quirky. She should lend her story and advice to Alexis Stewart who is having problems conceiving.

Rebecca on

Kudos to her for speaking out about doctors prescribing Clomid without full disclosure! I know many women who are put on high doses of Clomid when they’re not even sure if they’re ovulating or not! With the risks of all different types of cancer associated with Clomid that I’ve read about, it seems like it would be a good idea to be sure the woman isn’t ovulating BEFORE putting her on it. Mention charting to a doctor and they scoff, but at least then they can tell if the woman ovulates during her cycle and decide a course of treatment from there!

Orli on

Cool. I wish her success.
I get pg with the help of injections…but i’ve also used Clomid which doesn’t work on me.
my 1st pg, wasn’t that bad…this time the hormones drove me insane.

DWS on

Congratulations to them both! I love to hear when people overcome infertility. It is good to hear her speak out about Clomid. There are many potential side effects without many of the positive results. I don’t know many women who have had much success on it. I tried it and I have endometriosis with endometriomas and they got HUGE while I was on Clomid. I fully believe it was because of it that they grew so large. I had to have surgery to have them removed.

Kerry on

Love her – she is so wacky in her dress sense and is comfortable being herself and not having to dress up fo others. Very glad that she is pregnant and wish them all the best with their new bundle of joy

rachael on

i have been waiting to hear if they have a name for their baby girl!?
do you know if they have?
thanks!

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