Trying for a baby comes with sacrifice – one way or another, we will need to give up something for a period of time, but it’s going to be worth it.
Women who smoke have an increased risk of infertility and are more likely to take longer to get pregnant. Smoking affects each stage of the reproductive process (including egg and sperm maturation, hormone production, embryo transport, and the environment in the uterus) and it can damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm. It also increases a woman’s chance of experiencing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. However, the good news is stopping smoking can improve natural fertility and some of the effects of smoking can be reversed within one year of quitting, so do not hesitate to throw that cigarette away.
Too much caffeine
Caffeine prolongs the duration to get to pregnancy (defined as the time interval to become pregnant without use of contraception) but that does not mean you have to give up your daily cup of Joe. The limit is 200 milligrams of caffeine – about one to two eight-ounce cups – a day, and any more, you will have to make an effort to slowly remove from your diet. The reason is: caffeine interferes with your ability to absorb iron, dehydrates you, and hence, increases miscarriage risks when you are pregnant. It never hurts to exclude too much caffeine out of your diet now because it will benefit you when you conceive too.
Alcohol is still not proven harmful to both mommies and babies but one thing we know is for sure – binge drinking is not ideal when you are trying to conceive. The reason is simple, you might not know when you might be expecting and a fetus develops rapidly during the first few weeks of pregnancy. Experts have not figured a safe amount of alcohol for pregnant women nor do they know whether babies differ in their sensitivity and reaction to alcohol. Two tips: one, do not drink excessively (about five drinks a week) and two, do not drink during the second half of your cycle after you have ovulated because there is a chance you may be pregnant.
Stress can affect conception because it affects the function of the hypothalamus – the gland in your brain that regulates your appetite and emotions, as well as the hormones that tell your ovaries to release eggs. Hence you often find yourself ovulating late along with a late period during a stressful month at work. If you are trying to get pregnant and you are under stress, your cervical fluid may indicate it. Rather than an increased amount of cervical fluid wetness as you approach ovulation, you might find patches of wetness interspersed with dry days. This is your body telling you that it is trying to ovulate but stress is delaying it.
Most lubricants have pH levels that are too acidic they kill sperms, or too thick sperms are unable to pass through it to reach the uterus. This applies to many store-bought and homemade lubricants as well. Hence, in your time of conception or “trying” period, use foreplay as your lubricant. Hugs, kisses, and touch in all the right areas will help work a lady up to the mood. It may take a while compared to lubricants but it is safe-proof for the sperms to travel down to the uterus and fuse with the egg. Otherwise, there are also lubricants that are safe and effective for contraception, just be sure to visit your gynaecologist so he can recommend you some.
When it comes to conception, many people only have one thing to say: “relax and it will come naturally.” While it is frustrating to hear that all the time, that is not wrong. Focus on enjoying intimacy with your other half and do not over-worry. However, if you have been trying for a long period now with no results, it would be good to see your gynaecologist to get further fertility advice.