We’re all guilty of having bad habits; smoking, drinking, over-indulging on the caffeine or stressing out over the simplest of things, these are common poor lifestyle choices we often make. But vices like these can not only impact your general health but your fertility too.
1 in 7 heterosexual couples in the UK experience fertility struggles and for those, modifying bad habits and lifestyle choices are the first step. Whilst quitting can often feel impossible (especially when it comes to cutting out stress!), evidence shows that eliminating these factors can play a role in boosting your fertility chances.
It’s possible you’re going to be saying farewell to some of your favourite vices here, while we go through the lifestyle changes you should be making before trying to conceive.
Does smoking affect my fertility?
This one is simple. Toxins present in cigarette smoke can potentially damage the DNA in eggs. In IVF, smoking by either partner can reduce success rates.
Good news though, the minute you quit smoking, your overall health begins to improve, which can only help improve your chances of conceiving.
Can taking drugs affect my fertility chances?
As for drugs, not all drugs will be detrimental to your fertility efforts, however, whatever drugs you take will find their way into your bloodstream, potentially affecting your eggs and impacting on your fertility.
If you’re currently on prescription medication and looking to get ‘In the family way’, it’s always worth a chat with your doctor.
Regarding those wild nights out trying to recreate those crazy Hacienda days? Recreational drugs are a big no-no as they can affect hormone levels and may cause long-lasting fertility issues.
Should I cut out alcohol?
In short, yes. With no ‘safe’ level for alcohol intake during pregnancy, cutting back prior to trying for a baby makes sense. Whilst pregnant, no alcohol is the recommendation according to the Chief Medical Officers’ guidelines, in order to minimise risk to the foetus.
Can I drink coffee while trying to conceive?
So, what about caffeine? This one is a little bit hazier. Despite numerous studies, there is nothing concrete on the impact caffeine has on fertility. Many associations recommend limiting your intake to 200mg per day.
Will weight issues decrease my chances of fertility?
Wait! We need to talk about weight! It’s not so much the ‘being overweight’ or ‘being underweight’ that can cause difficulties in conceiving, more the associated medical conditions you’re more likely to suffer from through being either overweight or underweight.
Obese or clinically underweight females are at higher risk of encountering problems with their cycles, including irregular periods, or even none at all, not to mention diabetes (for those overweight) and a host of other complications. Our advice? Keep an eye on your BMI.
Can stress cause fertility problems?
A silent hold-up in your fertility plans could be stress. Although studies have failed to prove that stress alone reduces your chances of getting pregnant, a number of cohort studies over the years have indicated a correlation. Stress hormones such as cortisol disrupt signalling between the brain and the ovaries, which can prevent ovulation.
Bottom line, avoiding stress can only be a bonus, whether trying to conceive or not! After all, trying to get pregnant can be the most stressful thing of all.
If you’d like to know more about how lifestyle choices may be affecting your fertility, or have any questions about your overall female health, we’d love to help you out. Our at-home hormone tests can give you an insight into your ovulation, and highlight any red-flags relating to fertility. But at Hertility, we don’t believe in giving you the results without the rest. Our team of experts include fertility experts that can help you create an actionable plan to optimise your fertility.