Conception occurs more commonly in the setting of a healthy lifestyle. It is important to have a healthy weight and good diet. It is also recommended to stop smoking, reduce alcohol intake and minimise caffeine consumption. Boring I know however it’s the simple things that can make a difference and although we all know plenty of smokers who have conceived it is likely to occur more quickly in non smokers.
Many diets and supplements have been studied and advised for improving fertility. The truth is that most are just fads and have very little proof of an improvement in pregnancy or live birth rates over any other form of healthy eating.
A balanced, healthy diet has always provided the most benefit for couples. This can be combined with modest calorie restriction if required. Several studies comparing diet have recommended the benefits of a “Mediterranean” style diet. This would consist of freshly prepared grilled meats and vegetables. Following a healthy diet favouring seafood, poultry, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy is related to better fertility in women and better semen quality in men.
Pre-pregnancy folate is recommended and has been proven to reduce risks to the baby in early pregnancy.
The adverse impact of smoking on fertility has been known for two decades. Delays in conceiving has been documented if either partner smoke and the effect is worse if both partners smoke. The use of cannabis has been found to have a particularly negative effect.
To stop smoking sounds easy however I know this is not necessarily the case. It is advisable to seek assistance from your general practitioner or health care provider.
There is no known safe alcohol level and increasing alcohol consumption has been associated with delays in conceiving, abnormal sperm counts and adverse pregnancy outcomes. While trying to conceive reducing alcohol intake should be a priority.
Increased caffeine intake has been associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in-particular an increased risk of miscarriage. Moving to non-caffeine based alternative or decaf options can be helpful.