So you’ve decided you’re going to start trying for a baby, and are wondering what you should and shouldn’t do. Or you’ve been trying for a while, and are looking for ways to boost your chances. Either way, you’ve come to the right place. When trying to conceive, there are some things to be avoided if you want to enhance fertility. Many of these things also should be avoided during pregnancy; keep in mind that conception happens about 2 weeks before you miss your period and even know you’re pregnant!
1. Alcohol: Alcohol is dangerous while pregnant, and since your baby starts developing before you even know you’re pregnant, it’s good to avoid it while trying to conceive. Alcohol also has a negative effect on sperm, so your partner should cut down as well.
- Caffeine: That cup of coffee to help you wake up first thing in the morning probably won’t do much harm, but take it easy on the caffeine when trying for a baby. A recent study found that women who consumed over 500 mg of caffeine while trying to conceive had a sizeable delay in conception. Don’t forget other sources of caffeine like some sodas, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate.
- Crash diets: While you want to be at a healthy weight for optimal fertility, crash diets or extreme calorie cutting can hurt your chances of conceiving. Your body needs nutrients, and eating too few calories or trying fad diets can deprive your body of essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s recommended to take a prenatal vitamin while trying to conceive.
- Smoking: You already know you can’t smoke during pregnancy, but what about beforehand? Well, smoking increases the risk of miscarriage and a baby being born prematurely. Work on quitting smoking as soon as you decide you’re ready to have a baby, or, ideally, before.
- Sugar: As with caffeine, a little sugar likely won’t hurt. But a diet high in sugar affects both female and male fertility. In men, sugary beverages have been shown to affect semen quality. And in women, some studies have shown them to be associated with lowered fertility.
- Inactivity: As we’ve seen in the above reasons, it’s important to maintain health when trying to become pregnant. So it makes sense that exercise is important as well. Start up a new exercise routine. Not only will it improve your chances of conceiving, but will also boost your mood. And get your partner involved too; exercise can boost men’s fertility as well, and can be a fun way to bond!
- Medications: You’ve probably heard it on commercials many times: “Women who are pregnant or who many become pregnant should not take (insert medication name)”. It’s true that many medications can affect a growing fetus negatively, or could make it hard to get pregnant in the first place. While trying to conceive, it’s very important to check with your doctor if you’re on any medications. Even some over the counter medications may have adverse affects. NSAIDS such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen have been shown to impede implantation.