Lifestyle Factors and Infertility
If you are trying to become pregnant it might be a good idea to take a close look at your lifestyle. 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 changes to your lifestyle can help to increase your fertility and help you to conceive.
Alcohol and Infertility
Most of us know by now that alcohol and pregnancy just don't mix. Alcohol consumption is not recommended at all during pregnancy, and for good reason - it can cause serious birth defects and may trigger fetal alcohol syndrome. When you are trying to conceive, it is also important to limit your alcohol consumption or cut out those alcoholic beverages altogether. Alcohol can have detrimental effects on your fertility, making it more difficult to become pregnant.
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:
Cigarette smoking can be a tough habit to quit, but if you are trying to become pregnant, now is a great time. Smoking is a big no-no during pregnancy anyways, and it can also impact negatively on your fertility. Female smokers are three to four times more likely to have problems getting pregnant. They are also at increased risk for:
- menstrual irregularities
- tubal factor infertility
- implantation problems
Men who are smokers are also compromising their fertility. Male smokers increase their risk for:
- erectile dysfunction
- chromosomal abnormalities within their sperm
There are a variety of aids available to help you quit smoking. From gum to patches to botanical supplements, these aids have made butting out easier than ever.
Sometimes the enviroment 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.
Environmental estrogens can affect the hormone levels in your body, negatively influencing your fertility. Your body produces its own estrogen to help regulate ovulation and menstruation. However, it also gets extra synthetic or plant estrogens from 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.
Nutrition is of the utmost importance when you are trying to become pregnant. A healthy and balanced diet can go a long way to boosting your fertility and increasing your chances of conception. A healthy diet that provides all the necessary vitamins and minerals will ensure that you are in proper phsyical health to have a baby. If your nutrition is lacking, your body may feel that it isn't prepared to become pregnant, and therefore you may experience infertility. Some foods to avoid while you are trying to conceive include:
- artificial sweetners
- food additives, like MSG
- contaminated food or water
Stress can also play a role in fertility issues. If you are under extreme levels of stress, your body can begin to behave in irregular ways. Stress often triggers a change in the regular hormonal balance. 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 exercise, yoga, and meditation.