8 things that could be stopping you from getting pregnant

Did you know that being too thin could affect your chances of getting pregnant?

If you’ve been trying for a while, it might be worth checking to see if your lifestyle could be affecting your chances.

The more healthy diet changes you make, the better your chances of conceiving.

Eat more ‘slow release’ complex carbs and cut back on highly processed ones (choose wholegrain brown bread, rice, and pasta over white).

Go for vegetable sources of protein (such as beans and lentils) over red meat.

Choose full-fat dairy foods over non-fat and low-fat options – aim to eat one or two servings a day of whole milk or full-fat yogurt.

Take a daily multivitamin that contains at least 400mg of folic acid and 40 to 80 milligrams of iron.

Choose a supplement specially formulated for conception and birth – ordinary ones contain too much vitamin A for pregnant women.

Cut out all sugary drinks and drink coffee, and go for tea and alcohol in moderation only.

  • Alcohol

While caffeine doesn’t cause infertility as such, studies have shown that women who drink more coffee take longer to get pregnant. Women who give up the booze entirely improve their chances of conception.

  • Smoking

Studies show that men who smoke are more likely to have a lower sperm count and risk damaging their sperm. But it’s not just men who are affected. Women who smoke tend to take longer to conceive too.

Women who smoke during pregnancy put themselves at increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and having a low birth-weight baby.

  • Household chemicals

Exposure to pollutants, pesticides, and industrial compounds can decrease a couple's ability to have children by up to 29%, according to a 2013 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

  • Breastfeeding

It's a myth that you can't get pregnant while breastfeeding, but at the same time, it's true that women who are still nursing one child may have trouble conceiving another one.

  • Extreme exercise

Working out helps keep you slim, strong, and full of energy all important when you're trying to get pregnant. Thing is, you can overdo it: "If you're exercising too much it can have a negative impact on ovulation," says Dr. Schlaff.

  • Sexual health history

Sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and cause fertility problems, even years after a woman contracts them.

In fact, chlamydia can cause damage to the fallopian tubes without any other symptoms, and many women may not know they had the disease until they experience trouble getting pregnant.

  • Stress

Women with higher levels of an enzyme linked to stress had a harder time getting pregnant in a 2014 study published in Human Reproduction.

Researchers say this study doesn't indicate that stress alone is responsible for fertility problems, but they do suggest that women who have been trying to get pregnant for several months try adopting a stress management program.

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