You have decided to add to your family. Maybe you have children already; maybe this is your first attempt. You have your ovulation predictor kit to help time intercourse; your excitement is building. Most likely, you’ve read about all the things you should do to conceive, like taking folic acid and a prenatal vitamin. You’ve got your “must dos” in order, so what about “things to avoid when trying to get pregnant”?
The Top 5 Things to Avoid for Fertility
A young couple with healthy eggs, sperm, open fallopian tubes and an unobstructed uterus only has a 15-20% chance of conceiving each month. If you’re into your 30s, that chance goes down, and after 35, it goes down even more. So why not make your body the most welcoming environment for conception by avoiding the things known to impact fertility? Here are the top five things to avoid when trying to get pregnant.
- Smoking – you AND your partner. It is well established that smoking negatively impacts fertility. Smoking (even just a few cigarettes per day) prematurely ages and damages eggs and lowers egg and sperm counts. Once eggs are gone, they are gone forever, so the sooner you quit, the better!
- Being overweight or obese. If you are overweight or considered obese, your chances of getting pregnant are reduced due to factors like hormonal and glucose fluctuations, irregular periods, and/or a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Miscarriage, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and a baby with high birth weight and weight-related complications can also be risks associated with high pre-pregnancy weight. There is also evidence for lasting impacts in children born to obese parents (even obese fathers) including higher chances of the child being obese. If you are thinking about becoming pregnant, losing just ten pounds can make a difference.
- Drinking alcohol. If you think you can wait until you’re pregnant to stop drinking, guess again. There is no safe amount of alcohol from a fertility standpoint. Drinking just four drinks per week (you and/or your partner) can lower your chances of conceiving and can cause male infertility. And, if you’ve been trying, you may not know you’re pregnant and could be damaging your baby’s brain and nervous system growth. This could lead to miscarriage or birth defects.
- High stress and mega doses of caffeine. We live in a stressful, fast-paced world. Stress and going full-speed all the time is our way of life, but when you’re trying to conceive, having too many stress hormones can take its toll by causing imbalances that wreak havoc on your system. Stress and added caffeine can produce cortisol and higher glucose levels, physical strain and heart issues, anxiety, and sleep interference, all things that will diminish your chances of getting pregnant. This is a time to slow down and allow your body to produce the hormones needed to conceive. While the things that help decrease stress are very individual, most people can benefit from mild to moderate exercise, meditation, and daily down-time to help maximize chance of pregnancy.
- Processed and fast food. Processed and fast foods contain chemicals, artificial sweeteners, loads of sodium and unhealthy fats. When you flood your body with these types of foods, you’re putting yourself at risk for disease and illness, and forcing your body to work overtime to function optimally. Eating a well-balanced diet of veggies, fruits, healthy proteins and fats, and drinking plenty of filtered water will increase your chances of conception, not to mention the possibility of losing weight, sleeping better, and improved hormonal balance.
A few other things to avoid when trying to get pregnant include using lubricants, not getting routine vaccines, and over exercising.
Start the Conversation with Your Doctor
If you’re considering getting pregnant, have a conversation with your OB/GYN. He or she will be able to guide you before you’re pregnant and along the way.
If you are under 35 and have been trying to conceive for more than a year, over 35 and have been trying to conceive for 6 months, have irregular or missed periods, or have any other medical condition that may decrease chances of conceiving naturally, there is no downside to having a consultation with a fertility doctor to learn about your options. In fact, a consultation can remove some of the stress of the unknown and identify next steps to put you on a path to achieve pregnancy.
A Variety of Fertility Treatments
At Kindbody, our goal is to give couples peace of mind and lower the stress and uncertainty of infertility. When you schedule a consultation with one of our caring physicians, you will learn which fertility treatments may be optimal for you and have the support you need to make informed decisions.
We also transparent pricing aimed at making fertility diagnostic testing and treatments more affordable; giving you clarity so you can decide what path is best for you and your family. Our dedicated team is here for you – don’t hesitate to reach out.