Let's Make It Your Year - Week 2
Let's focus on pre-pregnancy health & lifestyle.
Your health and lifestyle are important factors to consider when you are trying to fall pregnant or are undergoing fertility treatments.
There are many lifestyle factors that can help improve male and female fertility. However, it is important to note that being fit and healthy does not necessarily guarantee your fertility.
Health and lifestyle tips
- For women, smoking can affect the quality of your eggs, and increase the chance of pregnancy loss and birth defects.
- For men, cigarette smoking can increase sperm DNA fragmentation.
- Any body-building steroids, will severely decrease sperm density and motility, and increase the number of abnormal sperm.
Avoid using recreational drugs:
- For men and women, studies have shown that recreational drugs can affect fertility, and long-term use of these drugs can lead to permanent reproductive problems.
Optimise your weight for a healthy BMI:
- It can be more difficult to conceive if you have an unhealthy BMI.
- For women, it can also increase the risk of ‘problems’ during pregnancy, and may lead to miscarriage.
- Overweight men may have higher levels of DNA damage and poorer IVF outcomes.
Limit alcohol intake:
- For women, avoid binging and limit yourself to 2 or 3 glasses of wine a week.
- For men, there is no evidence that safe alcohol intake will have any effect on sperm quality but just as an alcohol intake above a safe limit can affect a man’s general health, it will also affect his fertility.
Take folic acid:
- For women, taking folic acid for at least 3 months prior to conception, and continuing it for the first trimester, is important.
- Studies show that folic acid reduces the risk of neural birth defects.
Explore complementary therapies:
- Although there is limited scientific evidence for conception, complementary and alternative therapies are used to improve physical and emotional health, so it will have positive impacts on a woman’s body.
- Common alternative therapies include acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
- If you would like to try these therapies remember they don't have to happen in isolation, a lot of specialists are open to collaborating with other health providers and can work together to help you fall pregnant sooner.
- There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that emotional stress causes infertility.
- Stress could potentially delay conception if it changes your behaviour or affects your relationship and stops you having regular sex.
Visit your GP
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea for you and your partner to have a pre-pregnancy antenatal check-up with your GP, to ensure you are in good health.
In case you missed it last week: Week 1 of Let's Make it Your Year >>>>