Trying to conceive? Congratulations! You’re at the stage of your life where creating a family has finally fit in! Conceiving a child is easy for some, but if getting pregnant is difficult for you and your partner, your lifestyle habits may be affecting your fertility. Whether you’re thinking about having kids in the next ten years or in the next two years, here are some healthy habits to pick up – and not so healthy habits to put down – to help prevent infertility!
Preventing infertility is a team effort that requires participation from both you, and your significant other. Each party puts themselves at risk of infertility when engaged in unhealthy habits; whether it’s smoking cigarettes, excessive alcohol consumption, or maintaining an unhealthy diet and body weight. Although there are some risks of infertility that are completely out of your control; such as a woman’s age or a man’s exposure to environmental toxins.
Exercising regularly helps create a strong and healthy body, helping prevent the chances of infertility. Be careful not to overdue the exercise, as too much exercise may affect your body’s menstrual cycle and therefore decrease your chances of getting pregnant. Along with exercising moderately, maintaining a healthy and balanced diet ensures that your body is receiving the proper nutrients to maximize fertility.
Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs
Smoking cigarettes, excessive consumption of alcohol, and the use of street drugs – and even persistent use of prescription drugs – may increase your chances of becoming infertile. Taking prescription drugs may limit your chances of getting pregnant. Consult with your doctor about any medication you may be taking and their effects on your fertility.
In some cases, there may have been a time when the thought of more children (or children at all) was out of the question; and tubal litigation – “tying your tubes” – was the option for you. A percentage of women experience regret after tubal litigation – the process of completely sterilizing a woman’s reproductive system. After tubal litigation, a woman is completely infertile and therefore has zero chance of getting pregnant. For women who experience regret after tying their tubes, there is an option to become fertile again, called Tubal Reversal. The process of tubal reversal involves a laparoscopic approach, where the fallopian tubes are reconnected by using suture material. The chances of having a normal pregnancy for a woman under the age of 40 is normally around 70%. Once a woman has been through one successful pregnancy, future pregnancies are possible and she is no longer infertile.
Preventing infertility among men is similar to that of women; exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and eating a balanced diet are all factors that contribute to a man’s fertility rate. For men, maintaining a healthy body weight and diet is directly related to the testosterone levels in the body, which is directly related to the sperm count in a man’s body. Avoiding the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs (prescription or non-prescription) are also ways to increase a man’s fertility. Always consult your physician before stopping or changing your regular medication.
Exposure to High Temperatures
Specifically for men, the exposure to high temperatures is bad for the body’s natural production of sperm. Avoiding high temperature situations while you’re trying to get pregnant increases your chances of conceiving. Situations such as sitting in hot tubs, saunas, steam baths, or even putting your laptop on your lap are all instances which limit the production of sperm, and increase a man’s chances of infertility.
Exposure to Environmental Toxins
For men, the exposure to different pesticides and chemicals may have some estrogen-like effects, decreasing the production of sperm. Some examples of these chemicals include lead-based paint, mercury, and even the radiation exposure from x-rays are harmful for men.
For both men and women, engaging in safe sex is also significant in preventing infertility. Protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases/infections (STD’s/STI’s) will help maintain a healthy reproductive system that will be ready for pregnancy.