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Seven Tips for Successful Conception and a Healthy Pregnancy
As specialists in reproductive endocrinology, we are often asked what steps a couple can take to best prepare them to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. While taking these steps certainly does not guarantee conception or that a pregnancy can be carried full term, they will increase the chances of conception and a healthy pregnancy.
- Get to and maintain a healthy weight.
Excess maternal weight is linked to one of the primary causes of female infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, and losing even a portion of the excess weight can help women regulate their menstrual cycles, so that they are ovulating regularly and are more likely to conceive. Likewise, underweight women may also have problems conceiving and carrying a healthy baby to term. Potential daddies need to drop any extra pounds as well. Studies suggest that excess paternal weight can delay conception and impact sperm quality. Tips for Men Trying to Conceive
- Eat a healthy diet.
Women who are trying to conceive often begin using prenatal vitamins and ensuring that they are eating enough folic acid to support brain development. Daddies need to ensure that they are eating a healthy diet as well, and many experts suggest that couples begin these dietary changes a few months before beginning efforts to conceive.
- Reduce caffeine intake.
While moderate (1 to 2 cups of coffee per day) caffeine intake is okay, high amounts of caffeine intake by pregnant mothers have been linked to an increased risk of miscarriage. To reduce the risk, we suggest reducing or eliminating caffeine usage prior to trying to conceive. Caffeine use by expectant fathers does not appear to have any link to fetal health.
- Reduce or eliminate alcohol intake.
There is some debate in the medical community about whether there is any safe level of alcohol consumption for pregnant women, but there is no debate over the fact that not drinking alcohol during pregnancy poses no risks to a baby. Father’s need to reduce their alcohol intake as well, as heavy alcohol consumption is linked to lower sperm quality.
- Eliminate all recreational drug use, including nicotine.
While you are trying to conceive, even nicotine is a bad idea. In men, it is known to hinder the sperm health. It is no good for women either, especially when pregnant. Nicotine, even one drag, will severely affect a pregnancy. More about Nicotine and Fertility
- Engage at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, at least three times a week.
If you are already exercising more strenuously, unless you are a competitive athlete, it is unlikely that you need to reduce your current exercise schedule, though your doctor can give you advice that is specific to your body and your current exercise regime.
- Get treatment for any underlying health conditions.
Early detection of health issues that put stress on the body, or could affect pregnancy is crucial. This includes a thorough screening for sexually transmitted diseases, which can impact both male and female fertility.