Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
A healthy body mass index (BMI) is 20-25.
Studies have shown that being overweight reduces your chances of conceiving and in those women who do get pregnant, the rate of miscarriage is increased. Being overweight also creates a higher chance of complications during pregnancy including diabetes, high blood pressure and the formation of blood clots. Women who are overweight tend to have larger babies, more difficult deliveries and are more likely to require a caesarean section.
On the other hand, eating disorders and extreme exercise often result in abnormally low body fat associated with a low BMI and can also contribute to infertility.
If you smoke, we recommend that you stop. In addition to the detrimental effects on general health, smoking has a negative impact on fertility. Also, women who smoke during pregnancy increase the risk of premature labour, decreased fetal growth and other complications.
Learn to Manage Stress
Stress may contribute to infertility and infertility is a major source of stress. Stress alone may cause a woman to stop ovulating.
Alcohol can interfere with becoming pregnant. During pregnancy it increases the chance of the birth defects and recently has been linked to infertility in male offspring.
Excess alcohol also affects sperm function and whilst stopping completely probably isn’t beneficial, if you drink more than seven units a week, reducing your alcohol intake to below this will help. Sperm is made over a prolonged period, so the modification of lifestyle must be considered as a long term investment.
Several studies have concluded that a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant decreases and the likelihood of miscarriage increases when caffeine is consumed. We recommend that you consume less than 50 mg of caffeine per day. A cup of coffee has about 150-200 mg, with tea and soft drinks having up to 40 mg.
Don’t Use Recreational Drugs
Use of cocaine or heroin during pregnancy may cause the baby to have severe withdrawal reactions after birth. Some drugs, such as marijuana, may decrease sperm production. Intravenous drugs increase the risk of HIV or hepatitis.
Take Vitamin Supplements
Take at least 0.4 mg of folic acid daily. Several studies have confirmed that folic acid reduces the risk of neural tube defects in infants by almost 50%. Neural tube defects are abnormal developments of the spine and skull, such as spina bifida. It is recommended that you start taking folic acid everyday for at least two months before you become pregnant and it should be continued until 12 weeks gestation. Pre-natal vitamins contain safe doses of nutrients.
Maintain a Good Diet
Nutrition can influence the establishment and maintenance of a pregnancy. Extremes of body weight can alter ovarian function. While you are trying to conceive and throughout pregnancy, eat a well-balanced diet and avoid foods with high content of fats and oils.