6 Things to Avoid When You’re Trying to Conceive

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A lot of factors can lead to infertility. There’s no magic pill that can solve every fertility problem. The answer lies in finding the root cause of your own problem. Before you complain about infertility, start by checking yourself. Are there some habits that are hindering you from conceiving? You need to be brutally honest with yourself before seeking a quick fix. 


Smoking

If you smoke, you have no business trying to get pregnant. Some chemicals (such as nicotine, cyanide, and carbon monoxide) found in cigarette smoke speed up the loss rate of eggs. The sad news is that once eggs die off, they cannot regenerate or be replaced, and menopause will likely occur 1 to 4 years earlier in women who smoke (compared with non-smokers). Even IVF sometimes can’t overcome the smoking effect on fertility. If you are a smoker, you will likely need ovary-stimulating medications during IVF and will still have fewer eggs at retrieval time and have 30% lower pregnancy rates compared with IVF patients who do not smoke.


Alcohol

Alcohol is bad for you if you are trying to conceive. If you are guilty of this, please stop it. Apart from the fertility issue it poses, it is generally bad for your health. Research has shown that even drinking lightly can increase the time it takes to get pregnant and ultimately reduce your chances of having a healthy baby. Women who are heavy drinkers are more likely to have heavy or irregular periods and fertility problems. It can affect ovulation, making it difficult to conceive. 


Chronic Stress

I have found that most women who battle infertility have more elevated levels of stress, mostly due to the aggressive ways they go after treatments. Many have debated the relationship between stress and infertility—it’s clear that infertility causes stress, but it’s less clear whether or not stress causes infertility. In most cases, stress can cause hormonal shifts that may impact your ovulation and fertility. The rule of thumb is that if you are trying to conceive, try your best to avoid stress.


Excessive Red Meat 

Preliminary data suggests that excessive intake of red meat may have an adverse effect on your fertility by affecting embryo implantation and pregnancy. I strongly suggest you decrease the amount of red meat you consume while trying to achieve pregnancy. Doing this will also help you lower the level of oxidation in your body, which in turn helps prepare the body for conception 


Saturated Fats

Saturated fat is the kind of fat found in butter, lard, ghee, fatty meats, and cheese. Eating a diet high in saturated fat is associated with raised levels of non-HDL (bad) cholesterol. This is linked to an increased risk of heart and circulatory disease. This type of fat should be avoided because it increases unhealthy weight gain and the risk of miscarriage early in the pregnancy journey. In an extensive analysis of fat intake from Harvard presented at an international fertility meeting in Istanbul (Chavarro, 2012), the authors found that higher saturated fat was associated with the retrieval of fewer fertilized eggs, while higher trans fat and polyunsaturated fat were associated with decreased embryo quality.


Some Prescription Medications

Before you use any medication, I advise you to consult your doctor first. Some medications can hinder fertility. Some of the medications you should avoid because they can harm the fetus include isotretinoin, better known as Accutane (for acne), Coumadin (an anticoagulant used to prevent blood clotting), tetracycline (for acne or infections), valproic acid (for epilepsy), ACE inhibitors (for hypertension), drugs like Imitrex and propranolol (for migraines), anti-malarial drugs like Plaquenil, or high doses of steroids like cortisone and prednisone (for lupus). But make sure you talk with your doctor before you stop taking any prescribed medication.

Hand of doctors holding many different pills
Chinonso Anyaehie
WRITTEN BY

Chinonso Anyaehie

Natural Fertility Expert & Educator