FERTILITY HEALTH

Lifestyle

Developing healthy habits makes a big difference to our overall and fertility health. Medical condition that may affect your ability to get pregnant might be beyond your control but you can take control of some factors that we know do affect fertility such as alcohol, caffeine, smoking and recreational drugs.

Alcohol

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:

There has been a lot of research and evidence regarding alcohol and our health, governments have set clear guidelines on safety levels of alcohol. When it comes to our Fertility Health, we know that alcohol can have a negative impact on both the male and female and could impact the ability to conceive.

Today’s society has made it more difficult to measure alcohol intake as wine glasses bigger and alcohol content of beer has increased

Alcohol contains empty calories and can contribute to weight gain or unhealthy eating habits. Alcohol may also interfere with the way nutrients are absorbed into the stomach and used by the body. Zinc and vitamin B are important for fertility and alcohol can reduce the absorption of these key vitamins.

Good quality egg and sperm production depend on a stable blood sugar alcohol destabilises blood sugar and affects the bodies normal balance.

Alcohol can impair male fertility in different ways by causing impotence, reducing libido and affecting sperm quality. The more you drink the higher the risk for the unborn baby research has shown that Binge drinking which is classed as more than six units on one occasion can contribute to miscarriage.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) Know the alcohol content of your favourite tipple.
2.) Check alcohol content when you are purchasing and go for lower option.
3.) When possible use a smaller glass.
4.) Understand what a unit of alcohol is – glass of wine 3 units, pint of beer 2 units. Drink fewer than 6 units per week.
5.) Plan alcohol free days

Caffeine

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:

There is no clear evidence that caffeine affects fertility, but some experts believe that women who have a high caffeine intake seem to take longer to get pregnant and could have a higher risk of miscarriage.

Caffeine is not just in coffee but tea, energy and soft drinks, even chocolate.  When trying to conceive both men and women should monitor their daily caffeine intake. There is increasing evidence to suggest that high caffeine intake can affect sperm quality and cause DNA damage.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) Reduce daily intake of caffeine to 200mg per day which is approximately two cups of coffee.
2.) Substitute coffee with herbal teas.
3.) Avoid sports and soft drinks with high caffeine content.
4.) Drink more water.

Smoking

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:

Cigarette smoke contains thousands of harmful toxins and chemicals that affect our health and can have impact on male and female reproductive organs causing damage to eggs and sperm. This can not only have impact on the ability to conceive or carry a baby to full term but on the development and future health of the baby. Research tells us that both male and female smokers are more likely to be infertile or experience fertility issues than non-smokers. Increased miscarriage and recurrent miscarriage is more common in women or male partners of women that those that don’t smoke. Passive smoking – being exposed to cigarette smoke on a regular basis can affect fertility and increase the chance of miscarriage.

Heavy smoking by female and male partners at time of conception can result in the baby being born prematurely, low birth rate, health defects and an increased risk of childhood illness such as leukaemia.

Women who some are more liking to experience early menopause (before the age of 45) evidence suggests that stopping smoking 10years before menopause age delays early menopause significantly.

The good news is that the effects of smoking on eggs and sperm and fertility are reversible. Whether it’s the male or the female partner (or both) who smokes, stopping smoking will increase the chance of conceiving and having a healthy baby.

HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) When trying to conceive stop smoking a few months before.
2.) Male partners should stop smoking.
3.) Avoid smoke filled atmosphere.
4.) Smoking is expensive enjoy a treat from savings from cigarette purchases.
5.) Seek support from your GP to help you stop smoking.

Recreational Drugs

WHAT THE RESEARCH SAYS:
Taking recreational drugs for a long time can cause permanent damage to the reproductive system and cause infertility
Drugs are metabolised in the body and passed into the bloodstream. Toxins then circulate around the body and can affect sperm develop and egg quality making conception difficult.
There is evidence that cannibas use can cause hormonal changes in women and overtime affects ovulation making it more difficult to conceive. Research also suggests that sperm count and motility (ability of sperm to swim) is lowered by long term use of cannabis. This makes egg fertilisation more difficult.
It is not only recreational drugs that can effect fertility health but prescribed drugs and OTC over the counter medication can have impact.  Prolonged use of sleeping tablets pain killers antidepressants can cause infertility.
Continued us of anabolic steroids for competing sports excessive gym work endurance sports or body building can have a prolonged impact on male fertility and it can take up to 2 years from stopping these drugs for sperm production and quality to return to normal.
HERE ARE A FEW SIMPLE TIPS TO TRY:

1.) When thinking about planning a pregnancy, speak to your GP about drugs that you are taking.

2.) Stop taking recreational drugs and if this is difficult seek help or join a support group.

3.) Talk to family and friends and ask them for support.

4.) Drink plenty of water to help your body detox