With both male and female Infertility rates on the rise, lifestyle habits have been under the scanner over the last few decades. It has been established that certain lifestyle factors can interfere with a couple’s ability to conceive. Environmental hazards, dietary practices, and poor overall health tend to have a negative influence on both female and male fertility. Sometimes, simple lifestyle changes can boost your fertility and help you conceive.
Quitting Cigarette/Shesha can be a challenge, but now that you are trying to conceive, it is a great time to motivate yourself and say no to smoking. Smoking is a big no-no during pregnancy anyways. But what most couples ignore is the effect of smoking on fertility. Female smokers are three to four times more likely to have problems getting pregnant. They are also at increased risk for:
- Irregular cycles
- Tubal factor infertility
- Uterine problems
Men who are smokers are also compromising their fertility. Male smokers increase their risk for:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Abnormalities within their sperm
Nicotine has time and again been proven to have adverse effects on fertility. Even if conception occurs, foetal abnormalities and obstetric complications have often been noted.
If you are trying to conceive and want to quit smoking, there are a variety of aids available to help you quit smoking. From gums to patches to botanical supplements, these aids have made butting out easier than ever.
Say NO to alcohol
As most of you are aware, alcohol consumption is not recommended during pregnancy. But even while you are trying to conceive, it is important to limit your alcohol consumption, as alcohol can have detrimental effects on your fertility. Women who drink between one and five alcoholic drinks a week are actually associated with decreased conception rates. Women who regularly drink alcohol are also at increased risk for experiencing:
- Irregular periods
- Irregularities in ovulation
- Early menopause
Men who regularly drink alcohol are also at risk for experiencing fertility problems, including:
- Reduced testosterone(male hormone) levels
- Reduced sex drive
- Problems with sperm motility and morphology
Beware of environmental hazards
Sometimes the environment around you can actually interfere with your ability to become pregnant. Toxic fumes, lead, and other poisons can cause serious fertility problems, especially if you are exposed to them on a daily basis. Try to avoid:
- Paint fumes
- Chemical cleaners or solvents
If you work in an industry that requires you to come into daily contact with any of these chemicals, speak with your health care provider about how your job may be affecting your future fertility.
Your body produces Estrogen (female hormone) to help regulate ovulation and menstruation. However, our bodies are receiving additional synthetic and plant estrogens from several food items, plastic containers, and other types of food packaging. Too much estrogen can throw your reproductive cycle out of whack. This can make conception difficult, so it is a good idea to try to limit the amount of environmental estrogens that you take in.
Focus on your nutrition and dietary habits
Nutrition is of utmost importance when you are trying to conceive. A healthy and balanced diet can go a long way in boosting your fertility and increasing your chances of conception. Healthy and balanced diet provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals to create a perfect synergy of body metabolism and hormones to help you conceive. Some foods to avoid while you are trying to conceive include:
- Artificial sweeteners
- Food additives, like MSG
- Contaminated food or water
- Unhealthy dietary habits (including junk food, frozen food, excessive use of microwave and irregular mealtime habits).
Manage your Stress levels
Stress and management of stress have been important topics of discussion for fertility experts. It has been scientifically proven that stress is a cause and a result of sub fertility. Extreme levels of stress can put your body metabolism out of sync and trigger a hormonal imbalance. This could make ovulation, menstruation, and conception more difficult. When you are trying to conceive, aim to be as stress-free as possible. Great ways to reduce your stress include positive attitude towards life, healthy socialization, exercise, yoga, meditation and maintaining spiritual health.
Dr. Asma Munir
Specialist, Fertility Medicine