A healthy body is key to healthy fertility and a successful pregnancy and labor. Therefore, we believe that “moderation is key to a healthy lifestyle.”
Here are some of the things you can focus on to get your body ready for a healthy baby.
Quit Smoking. Okay, we lied. For the most part, moderation is the key. However, there are a few areas where quitting is your only option, and smoking is one of these. That goes for you and your partner. To highlight this point, we’ll share a few poignant facts from ASRM’s Smoking & Infertility Fact Sheet:
- Infertility rates of smokers are twice as high as infertility rates in non-smokers.
- Smoking causes faster egg die off and women who smoke go through menopause an average of one to four years faster than women who don’t.
- Men who smoke have lower sperm count and poorer sperm morphology (more of their sperm are shaped abnormally, and lower sperm motility (their sperm can’t swim like they should).
And in case your partner isn’t convinced, you can also read 5 Very Real Fertility Dangers of 2nd and 3rd-Hand Smoke. Talk to your doctor or fertility specialist to get information on effective cessation programs.
Recreational Drugs. We’ll skip the bulk of recreational drugs altogether, (cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc.) because everyone knows those make for poor pregnancies, unhealthy babies and a lack of high-quality parenting. However, you and your partner should also abstain from drugs that are considered more innocuous, like marijuana (cannabis), if you’re trying to get pregnant. Men who smoke marijuana have all the same problems that men who smoke cigarettes do: low sperm count, poor sperm morphology and compromised sperm motility.
When it comes to female marijuana use and infertility, the studies aren’t quite as concrete. After reviewing some of the most recent research, however, it appears that THC – which can be found in female marijuana users’ reproductive tracts and vaginal secretions – can have the same effect on sperm that are ejaculated as it does when they’re exposed to it in the testes. This absorption of THC makes it difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg. Also, some research suggests that embryo implantation is disrupted more often in female cannabis users.
Drink in moderation or quit for a while. While low alcohol intake (2 – 4 drinks per week) doesn’t seem to have any effect on fertility, moderate to high alcohol intake (4 or more drinks per week) has adverse effects on BOTH women and men. When trying to conceive, limit alcohol intake to 4 or less drinks per week to be on the safe side of the research.
One caffeinated beverage per day. So far, there isn’t any data that confirms caffeine affects fertility. However, it DOES negatively affect pregnancies. Women who drink an average of four or more servings of caffeine per day (that’s two caffeinated Starbucks drinks or a few of your favorite caffeinated sodas) are more likely to experience a miscarriage.
Watch What You Eat. All fertility experts agree that junk food and processed foods are off the list when trying to get pregnant. They contribute to diabetes, insulin resistance, inflammation, weight problems and other medical issues that negatively impact fertility. Organic labels are great, but what your body really needs are whole foods that are grown or raised without any pesticides or hormones – both of which negatively affect fertility in women and men. For more detailed information about diet and infertility, read, “You Are What You Eat, But is Your Food Making You Infertile?”
Here’s the good news: While shaping up and modifying your lifestyle may not feel so great in the beginning, the healthy lifestyle habits you cultivate will make you more fertile (hooray!), but you will also be healthier all the way around. Getting your body healthy for baby will benefit you for the rest of your life.
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