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On a Fertility Diet: No Alcohol


by Cindy Bailey of the Fertile Kitchen™, April 9, 2010

We all know we shouldn’t drink while pregnant, primarily because of the effects alcohol can have on the unborn child, not to mention the increased risk for miscarriage. But what about while trying to conceive? Can alcohol affect fertility?

It sure can—in both men and women.

Not only does alcohol disrupt the absorption of nutrients, create more work for your body (and liver!), and weaken your immune system, but it also raises prolactin levels which can interfere with ovulation, disrupt your menstrual cycle and can lead to abnormalities in the endometrium (the lining of your uterus).

Of course, the question is how much alcohol does it take to cause these problems? Would it be OK to have just one drink on occasion?

Well, consider this: In her book The Infertility Diet, Fern Reiss shared a study that showed even one drink a week can reduce a couple’s odds of conceiving in that month by 40 percent.

Enough said. No messing around here, alcohol needs to be eliminated. It’s like a toxin to the body.

[Read Drinking by Either Partner Cuts Odds of IVF Success.]

If you find a glass of wine helpful to unwind at the end of the day (and many of us do!), then you will just need to find more body-nourishing ways to de-stress, such as with yoga, meditation or moderate exercise.

Men should at least avoid alcohol. Excessive use may result in increased levels of estrogen, which can interfere with sperm development. Even moderate drinking (about two drinks per day) can reduce testosterone levels and sperm counts and increase the number of abnormal sperm in ejaculation. As a toxin, alcohol can also kill off the sperm-generating cells in the testicle.

Why take any chances? If you’re going for a baby, then just cut alcohol out. Keep in mind, it’s only temporary.

FertilityAuthority's Daily Shot, Imbibing While TTC? N/A May Be the Way, recently suggested the same thing.

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