10 percent of couples end up facing infertility, which is defined as an inability to conceive after having unprotected sex for six months to a year. Though age is the most common cause, researchers are identifying a host of other factors that could cause trouble. The good news is that many are easy to change. Read on for a pre-baby correction course.
1) Exercising too much may hurt your chances of getting pregnant
If you’ve got babies on the brain, consider giving your body a break. New research in the journal Fertility and Sterility found that normal-weight women who exercised vigorously (including running and fast cycling) five or more hours a week were 42 percent less likely to conceive each month than those who were sedentary. Intense exercise can disrupt hormones and ultimately interfere with ovulation. The group with the best luck getting pregnant consisted of moderate movers who enjoyed activities like walking.
2) Make sure to add vitamin D to your prenatal vitamin mix
The “sunshine vitamin” is emerging as a major player in the fertility game as it may affect egg quality and embryo implantation. Ask your doctor to test your levels. If you’re lacking, she’ll probably recommend a supplement, as it’s hard to get ample D from the sun or food sources.
3) Scale back caffeine intake while you’re TRYING to get pregnant
A study from Denmark revealed that women who downed 300 to 700 milligrams of caffeine per day had a 12 percent lower chance of conceiving in a given cycle; those who drank more than that reduced their odds by 37 percent. Caffeine may decrease uterine blood flow, which can make conception and implantation more difficult.
4) Too much mercury could reduce your chances of getting pregnant
This toxin is well-known for interfering with neurological development in the womb, but it’s also associated with conception problems. In fact, a Chinese study found that infertile couples at more fish and had higher mercury concentrations in their blood than fertile pairs. Researchers think that this harmful compound may damage eggs as well as sperm.
5) Garden-variety stress can wreak havoc on fertility
Intense emotional turmoil can throw off your cycle, and even at lower levels can cause ovulation problems. A recent research review of women who had used assisted reproductive technology found that stressed-out women were less likely to conceive than their calmer counterparts.