Most couples today prefer to plan their families around success and comfort in job and home, and thanks to reliable birth control pills like Loestrin 24 Fe, you can avoid unwanted pregnancies until you are confident in your ability to support a child. When you believe you are ready to begin your family, after stopping hormone-based contraceptives to have a baby, you should be an expectant mom within a year — unless your daily habits continue hindering your ability to conceive. Studies show the following common lifestyle choices can decrease your chances of getting pregnant.
Relying on Problems Foods
Prepare your body to conceive and nourish a new life by restricting or skipping unhealthy processed foods, trans fats and sweets. Limit meat because it raises your ammonia levels, which inhibits egg implantation in your uterus. Studies relate processed meat and bacon with lower male fertility. Avoid foods containing preservatives and other chemicals that affect hormonal balance. Control soy food intake. Its phytoestrogens are potent hormonal disruptors, according to “Nourishing Traditions”by Sally Fallon.
Choose healthier foods instead. A study showed eating a Mediterranean diet full of high-fiber foods and vegetables can increase your chances of having a baby.
Overindulging in Caffeine and Alcohol
Even though research has shown up to two cups of coffee a day are safe during pregnancy, consuming more is unproductive when trying to conceive. Caffeine constricts your blood vessels, which reduces blood flow to your uterus and prevents eggs from attaching to your uterine wall.
One study found that women drinking over a cup of coffee per day were half as likely to become pregnant per cycle as those who consumed less. Indulging in over 300 milligrams of caffeine can reduce fertility by 27 percent, according to the American Pregnancy Association. A 16-ounce grande cup of Starbucks coffee contains 259 to 400 milligrams of caffeine. Switch to decaffeinated or half-caffeinated coffee. Also watch your tea, dark soda and chocolate intake because they contain caffeine too.
A research study on the effects of lifestyle and fertility found that drinking three or more alcoholic drinks a week lowered a woman’s chance of pregnancy significantly, especially if she’s having trouble conceiving. Studies have linked drinking to lower fertility rates in men. An in vitro fertilization study found that every additional drink a man consumed increased the risk of conception not leading to a live birth by two to eight times.
Tipping the Scale
Extra weight causes hormonal shifts that can affect ovulation and semen production, making conception more difficult. Obese women have a lower chance of becoming pregnant naturally, according to the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. Being underweight can cause irregular or absent periods, so predicting your fertile days is challenging.
Your body mass index (BMI) can indicate if you’re obese, overweight, normal weight or underweight. The ideal BMI falls in the 20 to 25 range. If your BMI is too high and you’re overweight, losing as little as five percent of your weight can boost your fertility significantly. Studies show moderate daily exercise improves reproduction, according to the Southeastern Center for Fertility and Reproductive Surgery.
Either partner smoking contributes to infertility. Research links smoking at least five cigarettes a day with lowe
r fertility rates in women and men. A study reported smokers had a 10- to 40-percent lower monthly fertility rate. Studies associate tobacco and marijuana use in either partner with ectopic pregnancies, miscarriages, pregnancy complications and stillborn births.
Getting Inadequate Sleep
Research shows that insufficient sleep reduces the leptin hormone, which plays a critical role in female fertility. Sleep seven or more hours per night according to your body’s needs.
Good circadian rhythms can help your conception chances. According to “Stay Fertile Longer“ by Mary Kittel and Dr. Deborah Metzger, lack of sleep can lead to hormone imbalance and menstrual irregularity that can make conception take longer. They recommended consistent daily sleep and wake times, an hour of sunshine every day and dimming lights in the evenings.
Living Under Stress
Anxiety and stress can lead to all of the above fertility-reducing behaviors. Being tense and edgy also affects the most important baby-making factor by repressing your interest in sex. Obsessing over taking your basal body temperature, charting your ovulation cycle and scheduling sex adds even more stress to your life. Relax and enjoy intimacy two to four times per week instead. When you’re cycles are regular, your fertile zone is days 12 through 16. If your periods are irregular, consult your doctor for additional support.
Coming Into Contact With Pesticides and Household Toxins
According to “The Crazy Makers” by Carol Simontacchi, the purpose of pesticides is to kill insects and pests or make them sterile. She advises avoiding exposure because pesticides may be counterproductive when trying to conceive.
Many household products contain PFOA, bisphenol A or phthalates, endocrine disruptors that pose human reproductive risks, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PFOA is a chemical in Teflon cookware, food packaging, stain repellents and cosmetics. Bisphenol A is present in plastic wrap, bottles and containers. Shampoo, hair spray, deodorant, fragrances and nail polish contain phthalates.
Contact with these products causes toxins to enter your body. Switch to Teflon-free cookware and glass containers and buy household cleaners and toiletries at health food stores instead.
Are You Ready to Adjust Your Lifestyle to Make a Family?
Creating a new life is the ultimate science experiment. For success, both participants need to be as healthy as possible. Replacing detrimental habits with productive alternatives will boost your chances of conceiving a little miracle.