Many couples experience difficulty in conceiving. Medical experts define infertility as not conceiving within a year if you're a younger woman or within six months if you're 35 or older. Some factors that play into fertility are within your control; others are not. But both the man and woman can improve their chances of welcoming a baby to the family with these tips.
Stop smoking and/or doing illicit drugs. They reduce the chances of a woman becoming pregnant and lower a man's sperm count. Secondhand smoke affects fertility as well.
Eat better. A balanced diet of mostly whole foods, and fewer processed foods, sweetened beverages and alcohol can help both men and women increase their chance of pregnancy. Birth defects such as spina bifida occur before a woman even knows she's pregnant. The B vitamins in prenatal vitamins can help prevent problems if taken before and during pregnancy. Men should also take a multivitamin. Don't severely restrict calories; eat what's right to maintain a healthy weight for your height.
Exercise: Reduce stress, lower your blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar levels, and loose excess weight. Exercise helps you get healthy to increase your chances of conception. But women should not exercise to extremes. Men should avoid excessive use of hot tubs, saunas, and other sources of heat near the testicles, as these are associated with lower sperm quantity and quality.
Get healthy. Control your chronic health conditions per your doctor's orders.
Consider medication. Prescription drugs may affect fertility, particularly psychiatric medication, steroids, anti-seizure prescriptions, thyroid medication, and prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. Over-the-counter medication and some herbal/natural products can affect fertility. Talk about these with your doctor.
De-stress. Stress over infertility, ironically, can contribute to infertility, especially if well-meaning friends and family constantly badger you. While we can't eliminate stress, we can better manage it with walks, reading, massage therapy, exercise, mindfulness and relaxing hobbies.
Know your fertility window. An online ovulation calculator can help you plan the best times for sex to increase your chances of pregnancy; however, you should not let a calendar dictate when you enjoy each other. Keep sex special.
Give yourself time. It may take awhile for all the factors to fall into place, especially if you've made a few pro-pregnancy lifestyle changes. Even if you've been doing everything "right," it may still take more time.
Talk with your doctor or a fertility clinic. Even if you don't plan to try in vitro fertilization, a fertility expert may give you a few ideas on what can help.
Learn something? Share this article with a friend who might be trying to get pregnant!