Are you worried that you might have a difficult time getting pregnant? Many couples wait for years to start a family and climb the corporate ladder so they can financially provide well for a family, only to discover that they have a new hurdle to overcome: fertility problems. Surprisingly, there are several things you can do today to decrease your chances of infertility, even if you’re not ready yet to start trying to have a baby. By doing these things now, you’ll make it easier to get pregnant once you are ready. Most of these tips involve making lifestyle choices that enhance your fertility.
What a Woman Can Do to Increase Fertility
- Get to your ideal weight (BMI should be above 18.5 and not over 25)
- Decreasing or eliminating alcohol
- Eliminating recreational drug use
- Eating a balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
Women can increase their chances of getting pregnant by making sure they are at a healthy weight. Currently, weight problems (being overweight or underweight) are the most common cause of infertility in developed nations.
Other factors to look at include decreasing alcohol consumption. You don’t need to eliminate it altogether while you are trying to conceive, but you should cut down to no more than a few drinks a week. Once you’re pregnant, going off alcohol completely is the safest choice for the future health of your baby.
Eliminating recreational drug use is a critical step for the health of your baby. If you have questions about prescription drugs, or whether you can take them while trying to conceive, talk to your doctor.
Eating a well balanced diet is another important step in enhancing your fertility. Lean protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains all have value. Going on an extreme diet, or on one that limits or restricts access to entire food groups (such as adopting a vegetarian lifestyle) should be avoided if you are trying to get pregnant in the next few years. Women should also take a good prenatal vitamin. Many women take a prenatal vitamin throughout their childbearing years, to ensure that they have adequate levels of folic acid and other nutrients vital to the health of a growing baby. Other women start taking a prenatal vitamin one year before they plan to start trying to conceive.
Exercise has an effect on overall fertility. Like weight, too much or too little can be a bad thing. Regular, moderate exercise three to five times a week is a good goal. If you are involved in highly strenuous exercise or training schedules, be aware that being overly fit or having a BMI (Body Mass Index) that’s below 18.5 can make it more difficult to conceive and carry a pregnancy full term.
What a Man Can Do to Maximize Fertility
- Take a vitamin daily. Optimum vitamin and mineral levels promote healthier sperm and a healthy sex drive.
- Stop smoking.
- Don’t use alcohol or drugs excessively.
- Get to a healthy weight. Being overweight will interfere with normal hormone levels and decrease your sperm count.
- Exercise regularly.
With the incidence of male infertility on the rise, it’s becoming more important than ever for men to do everything possible to increase the couple’s chances of getting pregnant. Currently, experts report that between 40% and 50% of infertility cases involve problems with the male partner. Most of these problems come from sperm irregularities, ejaculation problems, and low sperm count, which can be caused by everything from smoking to hormonal problems.
Smoking is known to increase a man’s risk of infertility. Smoking can decrease hormone levels, interfere with erection function (decreasing the maximum size), cause irregularly shaped sperm, and has been shown to decrease sex drive and overall sexual performance. In addition, smoking can also create lasting health problems for your future child.
Weight issues are a common cause for infertility issues relating to the male partner. When a man is overweight, his hormone levels decrease dramatically. The reduced production of testosterone will decrease his fertility and make it much more difficult for a couple to become pregnant. Male obesity can also decrease the quality of the sperm. Being underweight also decreases a man’s fertility.
If you’ve tried these basic fertility tips and you’d like to explore more options to increase your fertility, schedule a consultation at Santa Monica Fertility Clinic. We work with patients all over the world to help build families one baby at a time.