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Your Health and Fertility

When you are struggling to conceive is there anything you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant? There are definitely things that women can do in regards to their own health to ensure that their body is in the healthiest condition to get pregnant. Women who are undergoing fertility treatments such as IUI and IVF are especially interested in what they can do to get their body ready for a pregnancy. At RMA of Michigan, a trusted fertility clinic in Michigan, we’ll discuss what areas we feel you can focus on.

Diet

We all know that eating a healthy balanced diet is important for everyone. However, when you are trying to conceive it becomes even more important to make sure that you are getting certain vitamins and nutrients. Taking a prenatal vitamin is important once you get pregnant but it is also recommended when you are trying to get pregnant. Prenatal vitamins have folic acid in them which can play an important role in preventing some birth defects of the brain and spine in babies.  It also ensures that you, as the mom, have all the essential nutrients and vitamins you should be getting because let’s face it we don’t always eat healthy every day.

When it comes to foods, research has shown that foods rich in folic acid, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fatty acids can have a positive affect on fertility. A healthy, well balanced diet can have a positive impact on fertility as well. So make sure you are filling your plate up with fruits and veggies and plant-based protein like nuts, avocados, beans and seeds. Try to limit carbs to low-complex carbs like brown rice, oatmeal and 100% wheat bread and switch up the red meat with fish.

Exercise

Being active is always a good idea whether you are five or seventy-five, as long as your doctor gives you the go ahead. Women tend to worry that when they are trying to get pregnant they are more “fragile” and maybe shouldn’t be as active or exercise as much because it’ll have a negative impact on their fertility. That is not the case. Being active and exercising gets your blood flowing and your heart pumping, which is important for a good cardiovascular system. You may not want to start training for a marathon but there is no reason that you can’t continue your normal exercise routine. For women who don’t exercise or are overweight it may be a good time to start exercising. Research shows that being overweight can negatively affect fertility in men and women so exercising can help shed some of the unwanted pounds and help your fertility.

Another area that can be positively affected by exercise is your mental health. Low-impact exercise like walking, yoga or riding a bike can be a great stress relief. Obviously, infertility is stressful to go through and making sure your mind is in a healthy state is just as important as your body.

Lifestyle Choices

There are certain lifestyle choices that can make getting pregnant even harder.  Smoking is one of those.  According to the CDC roughly 14% of Americans smoked cigarettes in 2018. Studies have shown that smokers have a higher likelihood of having fertility issues than non-smokers. Males can have decreased sperm counts and lower sperm motility if they smoke. Smoking effects the quality of eggs a woman produces and causes eggs to die off sooner than non-smokers. Women who smoke are also at a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.

The recommendation for anyone who smokes that is trying to conceive is to quit. Ideally, you should quit months before you start trying to conceive. Men who stop smoking can reverse the negative effects it has had on their fertility within three months since sperm replenishes every three months. Women who quit smoking will increase their chances of getting pregnant and also increase their chances of a healthy pregnancy. The sooner they quit the better.

Drug and alcohol consumption are other lifestyle choices that can negatively impact fertility. Alcohol consumption has a negative impact on both male and female fertility. Alcohol can negatively affect the size, shape, motility and count of sperm. Heavy drinking can raise estrogen levels in men, which reduces sperm production. There have been studies done with IVF patients that say alcohol consumption can lower the likelihood of IVF success.  The bottom line is no level of alcohol consumption has been deemed safe during pregnancy. To have the best chances of conceiving it is better to give up alcohol completely.

What effect drug use can have on fertility is another question coming up more and more now that use of recreational cannabis is legal in Michigan. If it’s legal does that mean it’s safe to use while trying to conceive? There have been limited studies regarding THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, and fertility. However, there was a study published in April 2020 by Science Daily that suggests marijuana use can lower the quality of oocytes and lower the fertilization rates in IVF. Other drugs like Cocaine, Methamphetamine’s and Opioid’s all have risks to an unborn child if the mother is using during her pregnancy. Premature birth, low birth weight, birth defects and stillbirth are all potential risks. Drug use of any kind is not recommended when you are trying to conceive or during pregnancy.

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