Struggling to Conceive? Ditch These 8 Habits
- Mums Tips
- Fitness & Health
- Published on Tuesday, 09 November 2021 12:44
- Last Updated on 09 November 2021
- Monica Costa
- 0 Comments
Starting a family is the aim for most couples, a lot of people dream of becoming parents. However, it isn’t always easy; conceiving can be difficult. There are a number of lifestyle factors that could be affecting your ability to conceive. If you have been trying for a while, then it might be worth thinking about making some lifestyle changes to improve your chances. Look at the below list; could any of these habits be affecting your chances?
Eating Too Much Processed Food
Trying to eat more healthily can improve your chances of conceiving for both you and your partner. Try to eat more ‘slow release’ complex carbohydrates and cut out processed ones; try to choose wholegrain options over white. Look for unsaturated fats and try to avoid anything that is too high in saturated fats. Opt for plant-based sources of protein like beans or lentils over red meat. Pay attention to your vitamin intake. If you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, then you might want to consider supplementing this with a multivitamin. Finally, cut out sugary drinks and limit your alcohol intake.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol
As mentioned above, alcohol intake should be limited when trying to conceive. Some studies show that a moderate intake of alcohol is not detrimental to your chances of conceiving, whereas others suggest cutting out alcohol completely for the best chance at conception. Avoiding alcohol completely is recommended to keep the risks to the baby at a minimum. Drinking during pregnancy, especially during the early stages, can increase your risk of miscarriage, and it has also been linked to low birth weight and premature births.
Higher Levels of Stress
Most people have something in their lives that cause them stress; very few people make it through life stress-free. Having higher levels of stress, anxiety or depression can negatively affect your conception efforts. It can cause hormone imbalances which then interfere with your ovulation cycle. This means that women who experience higher levels of stress tend to ovulate less often. Stress can also result lead to fertilisation issues by limiting egg implantation. Women who deal with higher levels of stress in their daily lives should try to make an effort to remove or control the factors which are causing them stress. There are a lot of stress reduction techniques to help ease the tension you feel. Things like yoga, meditation or acupuncture can all help.
Consuming Too Much Caffeine
While there is little evidence to suggest caffeine causes infertility as such, it does show that women who consume a lot of caffeine take longer to get pregnant. The conception rate of women who drink coffee daily is lower than those who don’t. During their pregnancy, women are advised to limit their caffeine intake to 200mg a day. This equates to around two mugs of coffee and four of tea. Although it is also worth noting that chocolate and fizzy drinks can also count towards your caffeine intake too. As a good rule of thumb, when trying to conceive, you should also be limiting your caffeine intake; it can improve your chances of conception as well as making it easier when you do fall pregnant to carry on with this habit.
You are Still Smoking Cigarettes
Studies have shown that men who smoke cigarettes are more likely to have a lower sperm count and lower quality sperm in general. There is also evidence that links smoking and erectile dysfunction, which can obviously also impact conception. However, it is not just men who are affected; smoking can affect a woman’s chance to conceive too. On average, a woman who smokes regularly will take longer to conceive than someone who doesn’t. Smoking is an incredibly addictive habit, and it is not easy to quit. It needs addressing before the pregnancy because women who smoke during their pregnancy are more likely to miscarry, give birth prematurely or to underweight babies. As a woman going cold turkey is probably your best bet, and you can speak to your GP for help; there are even services available for pregnant women who are struggling with nicotine addiction. For men, there are more options, including vaping, which, can help even for those who suffer from smoking-related erectile dysfunction.
You Partake in Street Drugs
Research has shown that taking drugs recreationally like marijuana and cocaine can negatively impact your ovulatory function, making it harder to conceive. There is also the possibility that some over-the-counter medications or ones prescribed by your doctor may be impacting your fertility too. If you have any concerns, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with your GP to discuss your options. They may be able to recommend alternative medications or advise you on other things that you can do to minimise the risk that these medications have to your fertility or pregnancy. Just like alcohol and smoking, women who take drugs during pregnancy could put the fetus’ health at risk. If you think that you may have a drug problem, then there are a lot of resources that can help you.
You Have Been Blaming Yourself
It can be easy to look inward when you have trouble conceiving. Some women blame themselves; they think that they took too long to start a family or that something that they have done in their past has wreaked havoc with their fertility or chances at conception. Regardless, you need to be kinder to yourself and stop blaming yourself for your failure to conceive. Even if you manage to find some way to prove that it is ‘your fault’. It is not helpful; it will only make you feel worse and perhaps even hinder your chances further. It should also be pointed out that most cases of infertility are not preventable or even predictable. So it is not a satisfying answer. Drop the blame and focus on the things that you can change or control. Some lifestyle changes can help your chances, but there are other options to peruse too. Move forward, don’t dwell on the past.
You are Hoping for a Miracle
Realistically, if you have been trying for over a year without success, then you should see a doctor. Unfortunately, some couples fall into the trap of thinking that this option isn’t for them. It’s for infertile couples; they aren’t struggling to conceive. It’s just taking a bit of time. The problem with this thinking is that some issues impacting your fertility can worsen over time, so while you have decided to wait and see, your chances could be worsening. There is absolutely nothing wrong with deciding to keep trying while waiting on a diagnosis and treatment options. You might even decide against these options. However, fertility testing is recommended. Get checked out and ask your doctor for the best course of action.
Not everything will be under your control in your fertility journey, which is why you should make an effort to control the things you can. Ditching the above habits gives you the best chance of conceiving naturally. Try to remember that some couples will need a little extra help, and there is no shame in it. Forget the stigma and do what is best for you and your family.
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums