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Planning to get pregnant? Habits to adopt to prevent infertility

by Dr. Swati Sinha
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Preparation for a healthy pregnancy is crucial for both the mother and the unborn child. According to the WHO, infertility, or the inability to conceive, is on the rise, with a global prevalence of 3.9% to 16.8%. There are lifestyle factors and habits that affect our reproductive health and well-being overall. To boost their likelihood of conceiving and having a healthy pregnancy, the couple should consider making numerous modifications to their daily lives and quitting certain infertility-causing behaviours.

1. A healthy weight is an essential factor to keep in mind. Whether a woman is underweight or overweight, hormonal abnormalities can inhibit ovulation and result in infertility. Consequently, it is essential to maintain a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.

2. Obesity is associated with low sperm count and motility in men, leading to male infertility. Choosing nutritious foods is another crucial lifestyle change.

3. Fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains are recommended, whereas processed foods, high-fat foods, and sugary beverages should be avoided. A nourishing diet promotes reproductive system health and a healthy pregnancy.

4. According to studies, consuming processed foods with a high fat content not only contributes to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, but also has a negative impact on fertility by diminishing sperm quality in men and disrupting ovulation in women.

5. Caffeine consumption is a normal part of daily life. However, caffeine consumption in excess of 400 mg per day is associated with both infertility and an increased risk of miscarriage.

6. Smoking and tobacco use can have negative effects on reproductive health. It affects the quantity and quality of sperm in men. In women, it can harm eggs and increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage.

7. Both men and women are negatively affected by excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol may inhibit ovulation, reduce the quality of sperm, and increase the risk of miscarriage and birth defects. During pregnancy and while trying to conceive, it is advised to abstain from tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs.

8. Management of stress is also essential. Stress inhibits ovulation and reduces the probability of conception. Therefore, it is crucial to participate in stress-relieving activities such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. Infertility has also been linked to poor sleep habits.

9. Frequent physical activity is recommended, but it is vital to avoid strenuous exercise and other activities that could cause injury or harm to the pregnancy. Moderate exercise helps maintain a healthy weight and promotes overall health.

10. Additionally, proper oral hygiene is crucial. Poor oral hygiene can cause periodontal disease, which has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight. Consequently, it is recommended to regularly brush and floss teeth and visit the dentist for check-ups.

Finally, it is essential to receive regular screenings and examinations from a gynaecologist. Frequent examinations can help detect any underlying health conditions that may interfere with pregnancy and identify potential risk factors.

Preparing for a healthy pregnancy is essential for both the mother and the foetus. Significant lifestyle changes that can increase the likelihood of conception and promote a healthy pregnancy include maintaining a healthy weight, adopting a healthy diet, avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs, managing stress, engaging in regular exercise, maintaining good oral hygiene, and receiving regular check-ups with a gynaecologist.

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