You know it takes a healthy woman (and man) to make a healthy baby. But sometimes, it can be way harder to conceive than you would like, even if it’s the right time, with the right guy, and even if you’re in great shape and health. In fact, fertility can be affected by many more factors than you might have thought.
So, if you’re trying to get pregnant, or even if you can foresee a little you sometime in the future, it’s important to learn what lifestyle changes might be made in order to make it a smooth process.
Check out the 5 surprising things that can hinder your baby-making chances!
1. Junk Food
If you’re not consuming the right nutrients (such as monounsaturated fats, zinc, vitamin D, and B6), you could be interrupting your body’s regulation of critical reproductive hormones like progesterone, insulin, and testosterone.
You don’t have to wait until you’re pregnant to start eating well for your baby. In fact, following a healthy diet before you conceive can boost your fertility and lower the risk of birth defects like spina bifida.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that women should take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid at least one month before getting pregnant. Not only is folic acid crucial for forming healthy cells, it can also help prevent birth defects.
Furthermore, breakfast is, and always will be the most important meal of the day. Research published in Clinical Science found that consuming about half of your daily calories in the a.m. could increase your fertility.’
High cholesterol won’t just harm your heart but it can also negatively impact your ability to conceive, according to a recent study on metabolism. Researchers found that high free cholesterol in women was associated with a longer time trying to get pregnant.
Furthermore, when both male and female partners had high cholesterol, it was even harder to get pregnant, compared to couples with normal cholesterol levels. These results rang true even after adjusting for age and BMI. So, if you and your partner are hopeful for a third member, make sure both of you check those cholesterol levels immediately and treat them if they’re higher than they’re supposed to be.
3. Male biological clock
The notion that age-related fertility decline is only a female factor has been debunked by a recent British study. Researchers at Bristol and Brunel Universities evaluated 8,500 couples to determine the impact of age on the length of time it took to conceive.
They discovered that while only 8 percent of men younger than 25 fail to impregnate their partner after a year of trying, that number grows to 15 percent after age 35. Despite other factors, such as the fact that frequency of intercourse drops off with age, the study suggests that paternal age, too, may be a consideration for couples struggling with infertility.
4. Low Thyroid Function
Yes, it;’s true; thyroid condition can full on prevent ovulation. What most women don’t know (and are often not told) is that anovulation, low sex drive, PMS, painful periods, excessive menstrual bleeding and amenorrhea can all be caused by an underactive or overactive thyroid.
If your thyroid is under-active, in other words, you are hypothyroid, your basal body temperature is likely lower than it should be. The rapidly dividing cells in a little embryo however, require a specific temperature range for that division to take place. So if your temperature is too low, the embryo may be unable to continue to grow. This increases the risk of early miscarriage.
15 to 20% of people with depression are low in thyroid hormones. Sadly, conventional thyroid tests typically come back normal and most women with an under-active thyroid are usually told to see a psychologist and get a prescription for an antidepressant.
If you’re trying to conceive, avoid consistent vigorous exercise. It’s long been known that strenuous exercise can cause disturbances to a woman’s monthly cycle, leading to a lack of ovulation along with other fertility problems. The lack of a regular cycle is very common in competitive athletes. Try swapping your long, intensive gym sessions with brisk walks and yoga sessions. Combined this with a healthy diet will lead to the same fitness results.
If your body is chronically malnourished or over exercised, women will be unable to menstruate. It’s advised to always lead a healthy lifestyle and to try and keep your body mass index (BMI) between 19 and 25.