How to get pregnant on your own: part 6

Difficulty conceiving can be a result of factors that affect both men and women. This includes lifestyle factors well within the control of both partners. Couples should consider making some lifestyle adjustments before and during their efforts to conceive. In the last part of our series on how to get pregnant on your own, we offer the following do’s and don’ts for increasing your odds.

Step 6: Lifestyle changes that can help couples get pregnant

Do eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. A healthy diet helps with weight management. Research shows that a healthy diet can help mitigate the relationship between weight and infertility, as obese, overweight or underweight women can experience a decrease in fertility. Obesity also negatively affects men’s sperm count and quality.

Do start taking prenatal vitamins. A large body of research shows that women who take folate-containing vitamins or folic acid supplements prior to conceiving and through the course of their pregnancy can reduce the risk that their offspring will be born with birth defects.

Do continue moderate exercise. Moderate exercise looks different for every individual, based on their fitness level and fitness goals. Exercise can help manage stress, which can interfere with female ovulation, and help men and women manage their weight, which can impede fertility.

Do limit caffeine consumption. Though the connection is somewhat unclear, excess caffeine consumption (more than four cups of coffee a day) appears to harm female fertility and may increase the risk of miscarriage. Reduced fertility was not seen in women who drink less than two cups a day.

Do discuss medications with a doctor. Certain prescription and over-the-counter medications can increase the risk of birth defects. Always discuss the medications you are taking with your provider to review the safety of those medications while attempting to conceive.

Don’t use tobacco products or other recreational drugs. Tobacco products, including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, electric cigarettes or vape pens, and chewing tobacco, negatively impact fertility in women and men.

Don’t drink alcohol. Women who are trying to get pregnant are encouraged to stop using alcohol completely. Alcohol consumption can lower the number and quality of a man’s sperm and contribute to poor overall health.

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